9/18/11

"This is the Logic of Drug Addicts"

Biologist and author Sandra Steingraber, a resident scholar at the Department of Environmental Studies at Ithaca College and Orion Magazine columnist, has donated the $100,000 Heinz Award she received this year for her research and writing on environmental health to the fight against hydrofracking in New York State.

Steingraber, herself a cancer survivor, explores the links between human health and the environment, focusing on how chemicals affect growing children.  Her personal and scientific insights teach us how to better protect ourselves, our children and our environment.

Her most recent book is Raising Elijah: Protecting Children in an Age of Environmental Crisis.

Here, Steingraber explains why she gave her $100,000 prize to keep fracking out of New York State:
"Emancipation from our terrible enslavement to fossil fuels is possible. The best science shows us that the United States could, within two decades, entirely run on green, renewable energy if we chose to dedicate ourselves to that course. But...we are blowing up mountains to get at coal, felling boreal forests to get at tar, and siphoning oil from the ocean deep.
...Ominously, through the process called fracking, we are shattering the very bedrock of our nation to get at the petrified bubbles of methane trapped inside.
Fracking turns fresh water into poison. It fills our air with smog, our roadways with 18-wheelers hauling hazardous materials, and our fields and pastures with pipelines and toxic pits.
I am therefore announcing my intent to devote my Heinz Award to the fight against hydrofracking in upstate New York, where I live with my husband and our two children.
Some might look at my small house (with its mismatched furniture) or my small bank accounts (with their absence of a college fund or a retirement plan) and question my priorities. But the bodies of my children are the rearranged molecules of the air, water, and food streaming through them.
As their mother, there is no more important investment that I could make right now than to support the fight for the integrity of the ecological system that makes their lives possible. As legal scholar Joseph Guth reminds us, a functioning biosphere is worth everything we have.
This summer I traveled through the western United States and saw firsthand the devastation that fracking creates. In drought-crippled Texas where crops withered in the fields, I read a hand-lettered sign in a front yard that said, "I NEED WATER. U HAUL. I PAY. "
And still the fracking trucks rolled on, carrying water to the gas wells. This is the logic of drug addicts, not science. 
I also stood on the courthouse steps in Salt Lake City while climate activist Tim DeChristopher was sentenced to two years in federal prison for an act of civil disobedience that halted the leasing of public land for gas and oil drilling near Arches National Park. Before he was hauled away by federal marshals, Tim said, "This is what love looks like."
After two months of travel, my children and I arrived home to the still unfractured state of New York. After stopping at a local farm stand to buy bread, tomatoes, cheese, and peaches for dinner, we celebrated our return along the vineyard-and-waterfall-lined shore of Cayuga Lake. I watched my son skip stones across its surface. Under his feet lay the aquifer that provides drinking water to our village. This is what security looks like.

Please join me in the struggle to defend the economy and ecology of upstate New York. Bring what you can."
The article from Alternet.

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