Posted by Michael DuPr??
The relative silence that usually marks a weekend afternoon on the Case Green was interrupted this Saturday by music, dance and students organizing for climate action.
The goal of the day was to support a transition from fossil fuels to other forms of energy. "Today, Moving Planet, is an international day of climate action. We are urging leaders to sign legislation to fund clean energy," said Gabby Stern '13, EAC member and steward of the Skidmore Student Garden.
Several scores of Skidmore students took part in the festivities. The day's events included a clothing swap, music, petitions for a statewide ban hydrofracking on and the aerial picture to send to the international organization 350.org. The event also provided food and drink from Saratoga Apple, postcards to send to Gov. Andrew Cuomo and information about what action Skidmore was taking for clean energy and water equality.
Opposition to the natural gas extraction method called hydraulic fracturing, or hydrofracking, was a major motif of Saturday's rally. Hydrofracking is a process in which water and other chemicals are pressurized and injected into the ground to release pockets of natural gas that are trapped in shale.
"This is a water equality issue," said Eliza Sherpa '12, the vice president of the EAC. "The Watersheds of New York City and Syracuse are protected against hydrofracking. All New Yorkers deserve the same rights," Sherpa said.
Students, some of whom were being exposed to the issue for the first time, held signs that read "Ban Hydrofracking," "I Vote for Clean Water" and, of course, "Get the Frack Out."
Event organizers encouraged participants to sign a petition to be presented to Governor Cuomo. The position cited health concerns and other potential damages and advised the governor to enact a permanent ban on all hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas in New York State.
Sherpa spoke with conviction and optimism about the EAC's changing focus. "This year, we are becoming more campaign oriented. We are mobilizing Skidmore to be part of this political movement. Hopefully we are building up the youth movement in New York and the country," Sherpa said. "Show that we are going to fight," Sherpa added.
Not everyone felt called to action by Saturday's gathering on the Case Green. "Students like these pledge to be changing the world, but are really just conforming to politicized movements that they know little about," said Michael Kraines '12. "I hate to see my friends joining," he added.
As the event drew to a close, interested students continued to arrive. "As a latecomer, I am a little disappointed by the turnout. The event is for a great cause and I am fully supportive. I hope that people will be convinced to act," Ripley Sager '12 said.