On Jan. 8, 2014, my husband and I climbed on to one of the two buses which Sierrans and other “fracktivists” were taking from Syracuse to Albany for a rally against hydrofracking for natural gas (“fracking”). 

How exhilarating to be part of approximately 2,000 people who came to Albany from many parts of NYS and even beyond (Vermont and New Jersey). 

The occasion was the State of the State address by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Although none of us were among the honored guests invited to the speech, people traveling in the Concourse toward the speech room could not but hear and see the multitude chanting such messages as “Hey, Ho, Cuomo! Ban Fracking Now!”

The Atlantic Chapter of the Sierra Club was among a long list of sponsoring organizations.

Demonstrators were kept inside an area outlined by a metal barrier. One of the demonstrators is a retired PA police officer, who came in his full uniform. Ray Lewis gave out a card which says: “I will not idly stand by while law enforcement is administered only to the poor and disenfranchised while the rich flaunt their immunity.”

Here are some of the posters and banners which were on display:

  • “Turn, Not Burn” from Sierra Club (see photo)
  • Two row wampum banner asking that leaders protect Mother Earth and honor treaties with Native People
  • Photo of Cuomo with a balloon over his head, in which he is saying:  “NY Landfills in Painted Post, Lowman, Angelica and Waterloo accept radioactive drill cuttings and toxic fluids. My legacy is radioactive contamination.”
  • Another photo of Cuomo in which he’s saying: “I’d like to not talk about fracking until after I’m re-elected. Thank you for allowing me to ignore this massive public health issue.”
  • A woman carrying a blue umbrella with the words “There is no planet B.”
  • A three-dimensional replica of a huge blue drop of water
  • An image of the Earth with the words: “Cuomo, cool it.”
  • A man with a fool’s cap and the words “Be a fossil fool. Drill, kill for oil.”
  • Banner held by youth from Ithaca: “NY Youth Against Fracking”
  • “Constitution Pipeline: A Stake Thru the Heart of NY”
  • Many signs promoting wind and solar energy
  • “Protect NY’s Foodshed”
  • “I brought this sign because I couldn’t afford the politician.”
  • A colorful poster of wild and domestic animals made by a boy who wants to protect the animals from fracking

There were also Native People who brought huge drums, which were so loud and deep that I could feel them vibrating in my body. State troopers tried to stop them from drumming but other fracktivists chanted “Let them drum” until the troopers backed off. Quite an example of solidarity. Those who could not be at the rally but are in favor of a ban on fracking could help by writing to: Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Executive Chambers State Capitol Albany NY 12224.

Let’s protect our beautiful New York State from the destruction and pollution of fracking!

written by Linda A. DeStefano, Conservation Chair, Iroquois Group of the Sierra Club and translated to Spanish by Rob English.

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