Inhabitat was on the scene yesterday as Yoko Ono and her son Sean Lennon announced the launch of Artists Against Fracking, a coalition of celebrities who oppose the dangerous and harmful method of gas extrusion that often leads to contaminated water tables. The announcement was made at a press conference in New York City where Yoko, Sean and other accredited experts and enthusiasts spoke about the importance of this environmental issue, both for the state of NY and the wider world. Over 100 artists have joined the group so far, including Cindy Sherman, Bon Iver, Questlove, The Black Keys, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Lady Gaga.
At the conference, Sean explained that New York governor Andrew Cuomo has the choice to decide whether to allow shale gas drilling and hydrofracking in New York State. Artistsagainstfracking.com, he announced, has an easy-to-use writing template which will allow the public to send feedback to the governor, urging him to say NO to the fracking decision.
Next, Anthony Ingraffea, a professor and researcher at Cornell University who has worked with oil and gas statistics for the past 25 years, shared with the crowd of reporters frightening video clips of methane bubbling from serine creeks and water catching on fire at a kitchen sink. The concrete pipes that are being used to transport natural gas from the depths of the earth, he explained, often fail. One out of 20 pipes cracks, allowing the methane gas, which is more potent than the carbon that is popularly attributed to exasperating the climate change problem, to pollute our drinking water tables. This is not the time to accelerate fracking rates to meet energy needs, he urged, it is the worst time. The subject of fracking is not really understood, but it is certainly dangerous.
There was also an appearance by Gasland film director Josh Fox, who warned about the misinformation campaign by gas companies and the extreme amount of money being poured into lobbying in New York and Washington ($3 million and $250 million respectively, he claims). Fox then premiered his new short film The Sky is Pink (below).
Yoko Ono and actor Mark Ruffalo spoke about their love of the precious water resources in this country and challenged the crowd to think towards the future: In a world where water is already more expensive, per gallon, than oil, who are we to pollute the vital resource that would sustain future generations? Yoko closed her statement with an optimistic “Say yes to life, say no to fracking – logic and love will overcome.”
In addition to discouraging fracking, the group also hopes to raise awareness about the potential of renewable energy – especially solar. New jobs could also be created to complete initiatives to help the city to reduce energy, such as painting rooftops white to reflect solar radiation, suggested Mark Ruffalo. Fracking can cause gas spills and water scarcity that force people into migration, but as Ruffalo put it, “A sun spill is just a beautiful day”.