The Power of Protest

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed individuals can change the world. In fact, it’s the only thing that ever has.” –Margaret Mead

Clean water, clean air, and healthy food grown in healthy soils are fundamental human rights. And yet, those rights are being taken from us in service to the greed and power of the energy industry. Politicians benefitting from high-value campaign contributions are laying this country bare to old-money energy sources dependent on fracking, drilling, mountaintop removal, and ever-increasing toxic contamination that are polluting our bodies, our drinking water, air, and food supply.

These extreme energy practices are transforming our once-safe residential communities and public lands into unhealthy and polluted industrial landscapes that make our daily lives fraught with increasing peril. (Have you seen the pictures of the oil spill that recently consumed a residential community in Arkansas?) We have a moral obligation to do what we can to keep our natural environment healthy for generations to enjoy. Are we doing all we can?

Across the nation, communities concerned about the health of our environment and the ramifications of global climate change are feeling disenfranchised, undermined, and betrayed by elected officials at every level of government. The increasing loyalty to the energy industry demonstrated by politicians is causing a rise in public dissent. After repeated and fruitless efforts to wade through the approved bureaucratic channels and have their voices heard regarding our energy future, people of all walks of life are turning to their last option: protest.

Protests, sit-ins, blockades, and street theater are among the methods being used to demand a sustainable energy path that rejects fracking, drilling, and other extreme forms of energy extraction.

In 2013 we have already seen a variety of actions:

In January, 1,000-plus people joined together in Albany, New York, to protest a plan that would open New York state to high-volume hydraulic fracking and drilling.

In February, 40,000 people convened on Washington, DC, to demand responsible action on the Keystone XL Pipeline and climate change.

In March, more than 100 people took control of a meeting of an interstate commission, the Delaware River Basin Commission, and for two hours held an orderly public hearing demanding action on gas pipelines, preventing the commission from conducting any business other than addressing the issue of pipelines.

We need a sensible and sustainable energy future, one that puts Americans at the forefront of developing and constructing sustainable energy technologies like solar, wind, and geothermal. And we need to support the next generation of energy technologies created from homegrown thinkers right here in the U.S.

The Civil Rights Movement began with a few simple but brave and important acts: a refusal to change seats on a bus, a sit-in at a lunch counter, a protest in support of equal access to good schools, protests by college students who stood in solidarity with the demand for equal rights across racial divides. Despite the many attempts to ignore, dismiss, or overshadow these important and brave acts, the Civil Rights Movement grew and the power of the message and its substantive validity finally broke through.

That is the path of today’s environmental movement.

Politicians, including the president, who respond to public outcry with glossy political rhetoric about clean coal, safe fracking, and doing drilling right don’t demonstrate a commitment to a sound energy future. They reveal an ignorance of the facts and a disturbing level of deafness to the voices of their constituents, which are getting louder daily. If our elected officials want the bright light of history to smile upon them, they should take immediate and meaningful steps to protect our environment and pursue truly green energy solutions.

Here’s how you can get active:

Learn how to create local Actions Against Fracking in your community.
Check the Marcellus Shale Protest event calendar.
Actions on energy are routinely posted at the websites of:

Delaware Riverkeeper Network
Sane Energy Project
Frack Attack

And you can also take action online to stand strong for clean water and healthy communities, including the legal exercise of your First Amendment rights, by:

Signing the Petition to Ban Fracking
Preserve Healthy Rivers — Prioritize Water Conservation

by guest blogger Maya K. van Rossum, the Delaware Riverkeeper

Maya K. van Rossum is the Delaware Riverkeeper, and has led the Delaware Riverkeeper Network (DRN) since 1994. The DRN is a regional nonprofit advocacy organization that monitors the river and all of its tributaries for threats and challenges, and advocates, educates, and litigates for protection, restoration, and change.


Elena T.
Elena Poensgen4 years ago

Thank you :)

Val M.
Val M4 years ago


Mike Wilkinson
Mike Wilkinson4 years ago

here in Seattle the people who put on Hempfest have changed public opinion for the better, good changes are coming, when I was walking home tonite I was catching the scent of skunk that people were toking up outside bars in Ballard , protesting in mass does work, and it does take time.....

Carrie-Anne Brown

already signed, thanks for sharing :)

Marija Mohoric
Marija M4 years ago

yes, Terry! Someday - but I am not sure...

Georgeta Trandafir


Deborah W.
Deborah W4 years ago

Too many wrongs to make right ... protests now so thinned out by multiple need-for-change subjects they have minimal muscle tone.

Concentrated energy is powerful, but in need of one issue at a time, to conclusion, set priority and commitment. stay the course. That still works, division vs. unity does not.

Wim Zunnebeld
Wim Zunnebeld4 years ago

Thx for the article

Kristin Love
Kristin Love4 years ago

Bring on the Revolution......

".....When we watch the children play
How the privileged classes grew
And from this day
We set out
To undo what won’t undo
Looking for the grand
In the minute
Every breath justifies
Every step that we take
To remove what the powers that be
Can’t prove
And the children will
Understand why

Bring on the revolution
(keep the pressure on)
I wanna die for something
Bring on the revolution
I wanna die for something
Bring on the revolution
I don’t wanna die for nothing
Bring on the revolution
I wanna die for something>>>>>"
The Pretenders

James R B.
James B4 years ago

Protest is a vital and necessary option for caring people to actively pursue, of which there is far too little of, especially for the issues which really matter and will have a direct impact on life itself. Unfortunately, this site is again attempting to lead people down a path of wasted personal energy on nonexistent issues, when real environmental catastrophes are knocking at the door of this planet. As more people become aware of the anthropogenic “global warming” fraud, maybe they can then focus on a meaningful protest of inaction on the most eminent threats to life itself. Fukushima is now on the verge of accelerating the melt-down of 3 reactors cores, which could render Japan uninhabitable, and rapidly spread across the Pacific ocean throughout North America and the entire Northern hemisphere!! However, most people will continue at our demise, to be distracted by our police-state warmonger now frothing at the mouth for another contrived war, this time in Syria, for which we have no more anti-war protesters, while our planet is on the verge of being irreversibly contaminated: