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To Gas and Coal Country I Go

Robert Friedman

Posted October 11, 2013 in Environmental Justice, Solving Global Warming

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Tomorrow morning I will join 18 college and high school students on the Extreme Energy Immersion Tour, hosted by the Expedition Education Institute and Unity College. The purpose of the 10-day bus tour is to build experiential leadership amongst young people by visiting communities on the frontlines of extreme energy extraction in the northeast and Appalachia. I could not be more excited to be joining these young organizers and activists on this journey.

Bus

Over the course of the week, we’re going to be covering some serious ground, all the while witnessing some of the most environmentally devastated landscapes in the world. We’ll be visiting our friends at Catskill Mountainkeeper in upstate New York, where we’re fighting to keep fracking out of our state. We’ll be learning from a new hero of mine, Deirdre Lally, an organizer with the Shalefield Organizing Committee in Pennsylvania to learn about how fracking is assaulting her community and threatening the Loyalsock State Forest. We’ll be meeting with organizers from Swarthmore Mountain Justice, which has been working on the issue of divestment from the fossil fuel industry for many years. 

From Pennsylvania, we’ll travel to West Virginia, where mountaintop removal and strip mining have devastated communities across the state.  Finally, we’ll duck back into Pennsylvania to meet with folks from the SW PA Environmental Health Clinic, which works on health-related anti-natural gas extraction advocacy and information sharing in Washington County, PA. And then it’s on to Power Shift, where I’ll be meeting up with 12 colleagues from NRDC as well as thousands of young movers and shakers from across the country.  We’re all coming together on the frontlines of the fight against fossil fuels to continue to build our movement and collective vision for a more just future for many generations to come.

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It’s going to be a whirlwind of a week but I cannot imagine spending it any other way. For many of us, the fight against extreme energy extraction did not become real until seeing how these processes are ravaging our communities firsthand.  Experiential tours like this one are essential to building the movement against fossil fuels and for renewables.  In the coming months, we will be working to get even more young people out to the frontlines to continue to build the much needed groundswell around these issues.

I’ll be posting updates from the tour and Power Shift as is possible from our newly created NRDCYouth twitter account.

See you out there!

Photos courtesy of Expedition Education Institute and Energy Action Coalition

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Switchboard is the staff blog of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the nation’s most effective environmental group. For more about our work, including in-depth policy documents, action alerts and ways you can contribute, visit NRDC.org.

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