Anonymous, Contributing Writer
On the morning of April 30, young people and organizations from across the state marched on Albany in order to demand that Governor Cuomo moves towards a clean energy economy by banning high volume hydraulic fracturing (better known as fracking).
Activists used a variety of methods in their demonstration, including a “mock wedding” between politicians (the bride) and gas corporations (the groom). The ceremony was staged in order to draw attention to their big money relationships and back door dealings, and draw attention it did. The weekend’s events were covered by various news outlets in the Albany area, including the region’s ABC affiliate. In addition to theatrical expressions of dissatisfaction, activists presented Governor Cuomo with an open letter, which was created with the support of a national alliance of young leaders and 18 environmental organizations. The letter can be found in its entirety on the Powershift website (wearepowershift.org). In essence, the letter demanded that Cuomo ban hydraulic fracturing as the first step in the process of steering New York towards a just and sustainable future. In addition to the letter, Cuomo was presented with a petition, which had been signed by thousands of young people. The petition declared their commitment to clean energy, and called on the governor to rise to the occasion by banning hydraulic fracturing.
The demonstration served as the culmination of Power Shift New York, a weekend-long summit of 150 youth leaders from all corners of New York, who have been training and working tirelessly to build the movement against hydraulic fracturing in favor of an economy based on sustainable alternatives. The summit featured a variety of workshops and keynote speeches from renowned environmentalists, organizers, directors, authors, poets and scientists, such as Bill Mckibben, Sandra Steingraber and Josh Fox of “Gasland” fame.
Greg Talamini, a member of the Environmental Activism Club at SUNY Oneonta, said: “This convergence of young leaders was timely, necessary, massive and momentous. It’s critical for us to be able to recount a history of involvement. When the air, land and water are threatened, the youth can’t be silent.”
In 2016, the “Millennial” generation (roughly those born in years 1980-1999) will be the largest voting bloc our country has ever seen. After Vermont’s recent decision to become the first state to ban hydraulic fracturing, all eyes are on New York. With Cuomo’s speculative ambitions for the presidency in 2016, it seems as if his decision on this state’s fate may hold tremendous implications for his future; more importantly, it holds tremendous implications for the future of our entire ecosystem.