Together, on our own paths, we march

Lauren Swain (l), Karen Dike, and Tricia Olson with "Matt Lepore"

Lauren Swain (l), Karen Dike, and Tricia Olson with “Matt Lepore” effigy

Guest post by Lauren Swain, activist
350 Colorado
Coloradans Against Fracking
Coloradans Resisting Extreme Energy Development

The Stop the Frack Attack rally and march was powerful evidence that huge numbers of concerned people can come together in making an unforgettable visual and vocal statement that we are standing up for our rights, the rights of all people, and a healthy future for planet Earth. This was a wonderful new beginning for our movement against toxic fracking and for the renewable energy revolution we’re building every day. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world!

As an advocate for human health, the climate, and our home on Earth, I was struck by the contrasts and connections between the effects of participating in the EPA methane hearing in late September and the Stop the Frack Attack march in early October, both of which occurred on the exact same ground in downtown Denver.

Many individuals and groups have chosen to take one path or the other—to lobby government for the protections we feel are needed or to take to the streets protesting the failures of our institutions, calling out corrupt power structures, and demanding immediate change.

I firmly believe in the validity and necessity of both approaches, and am also aware of the limitations of each.

Our movement needs “a seat at the table” explicitly stating to our elected officials and agencies, again and again, that we need and expect genuine protection for our air, water, health, and climate. However, very often, there is no public awareness of our testimony, and our officials often feel quite free to ignore us.

Our movement needs a visible presence on the streets—assuring that that media and passersby become aware that we are willing put ourselves out in public, criticizing the officials failing to protect us, and rejecting the status quo that is leading to more harm from fossil fuel development and consumption. But, if we’re not also on official record as individuals, it can be hard to trace the paper trail of our growing dissent.

I feel we have the best chance of making an impact engaging in both efforts and also in finding our own ways to advocate outside of these venues—such as networking; compiling research; developing ballot measures, legal strategies, and legislative proposals; and educating friends, colleagues, and the public with a range of conversations, events, outreach, and resources.

I very much enjoy the camaraderie of my fellow advocates participating in these hearings and demonstrations. I thrive on basking in the sincere feelings that inspire them to sacrifice their own limited time and resources to make their messages meaningful and effective. And I feel pain when I observe that, sometimes, the hidden agendas of organizations or individuals purporting to serve the people and planet work to dilute or distort these messages, co-opting activists’ energy for their own political or financial gain. But despite this ever-present pitfall, we all must move forward together, taking the reins of power with our talk, our walk, our resources, and our time.

The Stop the Frack Attack March is one of best examples I’ve seen of this cooperative and energizing work, and I look forward to helping replicate and magnify this example both locally and nationwide until we break free of fossil fuels for good.

See also Highlights from Stop the Frack Attack

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2 Comments on “Together, on our own paths, we march”

  1. Barbara Coddington Says:

    Nice.. We have a true, serious enemy against which we must unite.


  1. Who is Behind Colorado’s Latest Ban-Fracking Campaign? - October 15, 2015

    […] from the organizations. But perhaps the best evidence that they are working together comes via a post from Swain recapping her experiences at the Stop the Frack Attack Summit. Swain […]

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