By Richard D. Iyall
On Feb. 7, thousands of people are gathering in Oakland to urge California Governor Jerry Brown to “protect all Californians from dangerous oil activities that harm our water, our health and our communities.” In Brown’s inauguration speech for his historic fourth and last term on Jan. 5, he “declared that he wants California to be an international leader in the fight against climate change,” according to a post at www.marchforclimateleadership.org.
A ban on the oil extraction technique called hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as fracking, would make a strong statement to the international community that California is ready to take a definitive stand for the environment. That method uses quantities of sacred, life-sustaining water combined with toxic chemicals, under high pressures, to obtain oil from the earth.
The march is being organized by dozens of groups, including 350.org, Food & Water Watch, the Center for Biological Diversity, Fresnans Against Fracking, Greenpeace, the Sierra Club and Idle No More, to name a few. The umbrella group is known as Californians Against Fracking, describing itself as “a coalition of environmental, business, health, agriculture, labor, political and environmental justice organizations working to win a statewide ban on fracking and other extreme oil and gas extraction techniques in California” (californiansagainstfracking.org).
A flyer put out by Laura Rosenberger, organizer of the Jan. 15 meeting of Fresnans Against Fracking, states that “climatologists measured an average increase in Earth’s temperature over many years, which is linked to severe droughts, hurricanes, typhoons and [the] escape of poisonous methane gas.” It further states that “scientists claim a 7 degree higher-than-usual water temperature created devastating Hurricane Sandy. One-third of climate change is from methane gas. After 30 years, 50% of methane gas wells leak. There are imperfect seals on wells.”
Once chemicals contaminate groundwater, it becomes detrimental to life in all forms, including now fertile lands that produce agricultural crops. Animals need relatively pure air to breathe, in order to live at viable levels. Would it not be far more intelligent to prevent contaminators of groundwater, the earth and the air before they are used, rather than trying to regain the harmonious balance of nature after the fact? Is not the love of life far more intelligent and sustainable for the use of energies than the selfish extractions of oil, with the use of dangerous substances and methods, for short-term benefits?
There are arrangements for people in the Fresno area to attend the march by reserving a seat on a bus, or two. Details are being handled by Ron Martin, who can be reached at 559-222-5524 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Information about Fresnans Against Fracking can also be obtained on the group’s Facebook page.
Richard D. Iyall is a journalist and photographer for the Community Alliance newspaper. Contact him at email@example.com.