About 10,000 activists marched for a “Clean Energy Revolution” in Philadelphia on the eve of the Democratic National Convention in the city.
Convened by Americans Against Fracking, march was endorsed by more than 900 environmental, health, labor, political, faith, justice, indigenous and student organizations from every state.
The message: ban fracking now, keep fossil fuels in the ground, stop dirty energy, transition to 100 percent renewable energy and ensure environmental justice for all.
“Today, after listening to the science, more Americans are opposed to fracking than support it. Our elected leaders must listen to the people, which is why over a thousand groups from all 50 states endorsed the March for a Clean Energy Revolution and called for the need to keep fossil fuels in the ground and focus on renewable energy options that will create jobs, not destroy lives,” stated Wenonah Hauter, founder and executive director of Food & Water Watch.
The most recent Gallup poll, from March, shows that Americans oppose fracking 51 percent-36 percent.
“I am honored to welcome the march to our great city and to join the urgent call to free our country from its addiction to fossil fuels,” said Philadelphia City Councilmember Helen Gym said before the demonstration began. “Cities and elected officials cannot sleepwalk their way through a climate crisis that threatens not only our future but also our current way of life. We have a responsibility and opportunity to rebuild cities like Philadelphia through clean, just, and sustainable energy solutions.”
Alesha Vega, assistant director of Coalition for Peace Action joined in the demonstration. She said, “Climate change is already causing conflicts and crises around the world, from Louisiana to Syria. That’s why the peace and justice community marched today with our allies in the climate and environmental justice movement. We need to make giant leaps towards a clean energy economy and put an end to the viscous cycle of dirty wars, climate refugees, and reliance on dirty energy.”
Karuna Jaggar talked about the planet’s health and public health policy.
“We are marching to demand an end to fracking and other dangerous drilling practices that rely on toxic chemicals and are linked to an array of deadly diseases and disorders,” said Jaggar, executive director of Breast Cancer Action. “As health professionals, public health experts and people concerned with protecting health, we are gravely concerned about the mounting scientific evidence showing that these chemicals are regularly contaminating the water, the air and ultimately our bodies.”
Krystal Rain Two Bulls represented the Oglala Lakota/Northern Cheyenne at the march: “For far too long indigenous peoples’ voices have been silenced and erased. Most especially when it comes to extreme extraction practices such as fracking. No longer will I stand by and watch that happen.”
Drew Hudson, director of Environmental Action, said, “We’ve just wrapped up a Republican National Convention filled with climate denial and extreme energy talking points. Tomorrow we start the Democratic Convention and the question to all these leaders and politicians is: Are you willing to take the action that science demands or are you just another kind of climate denier? …I’m marching today to tell all elected officials, if you’re not down to KeepItInTheGround, you’re just another climate denier.”
The protest was the first of many taking place as Democrats are gathering in Philadelphia to nominate their presidential and vice presidential candidates.
Demonstrators chanted “This is what democracy looks like.”
Lisa Neff is senior news editor for the Wisconsin Gazette.