This weekend, Earthworks Eastern Program Coordinator, Nadia, and I attended Power Shift, a gathering of thousands of students and young people dedicated to fighting dirty energy and promoting a just transition to a clean energy future.
Over 6,000 people gathered in Pittsburgh, PA for 3 days of inspiration and education, followed by a march through the streets calling for an end to our dependence on fossil fuels. Fracking was a huge part of the discussion at Power Shift this weekend, with many impacted community members profiled as part of panel discussions and events.
The Stop the Frack Attack Network was out in force, sponsoring discussions and collecting signatures on our petition to demand the EPA reopen the investigations into fracking water contamination in Dimock, PA, Pavillion, WY and Parker County, TX. By connecting with students and young people, the Stop the Frack Attack Network hopes to expand into colleges and universities and bring more you people into the movement for oil and gas justice.
Nadia gave a great presentation on the health impacts of fracking, using the data gathered from Earthworks' recent publication, Gas Patch Roulette. The report details the health impacts from oil and gas drilling — a pattern of illnesses that we have seen over and over again in communities on the front lines of fracking.
Our rally and march through the streets of Pittsburgh was greeted by the coal industry, with a coal barge on the river in front of the event location with a sign about supporting American jobs. What the coal industry has forgotten is that they are an industry on the way out — with an nonrenewable resource that is contributing to the catastrophic climate change that has the potential to devastate our planet. Renewable energy creates more jobs per dollar of investment than coal, and these jobs are safe, good-paying jobs that can provide long-term support for families and communities.
Power Shift brings together the next generation, the generation that will finally get us off dirty fossil fuels for good, and it was great to be a part of that effort this weekend.