Energy Justice Summer has come to an end, but our work against fracking and extreme shale gas extraction is still continuing. In the coming months, we’ll be looking for more fellows to come to Susquehanna County to join us in the fight to stop fracking in the name of energy justice, and a just transition to a clean energy economy. Thank you all for joining me on this amazing journey! This article is a reflection of Energy Justice Summer as a whole, and the life I lived in Montrose over the past three months, working alongside some amazing, dedicated activists.
Summer’s over and the temperature is dropping here in Montrose. Over the summer, we compiled reports on drilling company violations, led workshops with hundreds of attendees, and documented the stories of impacted landowners who’ve seen nothing but lies and problems from the shale gas industry and their business-as-usual practices. We’ve argued with gas workers in local bars, traveled hundreds of miles to canvass landowners along the proposed route of the Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline Project, and held parties at which we created new networking allies through collaborations by firelight.
Many didn’t believe that we could create an entirely new grassroots organization in one summer, but we persevered to make our idea a reality. Though some of our members left to follow other passions and dreams of environmental organizing for other non-profits and NGO’s, our goals were reached and our summer illustrated the difficulties and stresses of being part of a start-up environmental group. We moved to Montrose hoping to make a difference, and after all the work we’ve done (and continue to do) hope is on the horizon—past the drilling rigs in the distance, but still visible with cupped hands around our eyes.
Supporting our group has taken me away from writing news articles and personal reflections, but I tend to find my way back to the things that keep me passionate. I’ve been photographing environmental actions and damages, writing songs that help to promote the movement through music, and linking up with others who are working on farms and living the sustainable lifestyles that our future demands. Some of these people will become good friends in the months to come and I’m sure we’ll keep in contact even after I leave Susquehanna for awhile.
While I may be gone, Energy Justice: Shale Initiative (our new designation) will continue. We hope to bring in students for Spring Break and onward to help us with further reports and analyses and to stand with the people of the shale fields on the frontlines of an industry whose existence is destroying our future.
In the coming months, we’ll be visiting colleges around Pennsylvania and talking with students about fracking, encouraging them to come to Montrose to live and fight with us. We’ll sing songs, give presentations, show violation reports, and read the stories of impacted residents hoping that their stories and our experiences will inspire students to stand up and fight back in University Fossil Free Divestment campaigns and similar environmental groups and initiatives on their campuses. Using our knowledge and passion, we will recruit fellows to come live in our Montrose house and organize to fight the gas industry in their home territory as we have done before them.
Our time is Susquehanna is short, but our goals and passions will drive us. With future Energy Justice Initiatives ,we hope to recruit others to continue our work and to fight the good fight. The fracking movement crosses all boundaries of social rights and environmental justice and we plan to expose the gas industry for the criminals they are. This extreme extraction cannot carry on. We need to put a halt to fossil fuel emissions in order to save our neighbors and our planet from the dangers of climate change. We need to show the world that Pennsylvania is not giving up, that we will not stand by and be sacrificed without a fight. We need to show people the importance of grassroots solidarity organizing on the front lines of gas extraction. We need more tools, more brains, more passion, and more Energy Justice Summers. We’re here for the long-haul and we will fight for the front lines.