Saving the scenery: Activist trainings teach skills, forge connections

Nadia Steinzor's avatar
By Nadia Steinzor

January 19, 2011

Don t blame me for signing a lease, and you'll never stop the drilling, the man said. There s an old saying: you can t eat the scenery.

Most days, this would have been depressing to hear and just another reason why gas development is running amok. But on this day, the speaker was part of something very positive, a role play on how to talk about the downsides of drilling with reluctant friends and neighbors.

This topic was part of Get Organized: Skills to Protect your Community in the Marcellus Shale, a training held last week in Pittsburgh and Connellsville, PA. Dozens of local residents turned out to learn how to recruit volunteers, generate media coverage, coordinate with other activists, and track problems in communities.

The events were hosted by PennEnvironment (which is planning more such events in the coming months) and co-led by EARTHWORKS, Clean Water Action, Three Rivers Waterkeeper, University of Pittsburgh's Center for Healthy Environments and Communities, and Mountain Watershed Association.

The participants enthusiasm was infectious, their experiences inspiring. Despite being bombarded every day by drilling mania, they re determined to step up, speak out, and demand accountability by industry and elected officials.

Maybe you can t pay the bills with beautiful scenery, but more and more people aren t willing to see it and their health, air, and water sacrificed for a quick buck either. And you sure can taste the ever-stronger fight for change that s underway.

Tagged with: natural gas, marcellus shale, gas development, drilling, community organizing

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