When I was asked to come on as guest editor of Metro’s environmental issue, I was grateful but mostly surprised. I had never thought of myself as much of an environmentalist, and I didn’t imagine myself as any kind of journalist, unless perhaps I played one in a movie. So I think it might be of some interest as to how exactly I got here.
About two years ago my wife, Sunny, and I made a radical decision to leave the hustle and bustle of the city and move to a small farming town on the Delaware River about two and a half hours away from NYC. Although our intention was to live the simple life, we landed smack dab in the middle of one of the ugliest environmental fights our generation has had to face — hydraulic fracturing for natural gas in our watersheds.
Hydraulic fracturing (or “fracking”) in the Delaware River Basin and across New York state could easily contaminate my family’s well water — and New York City’s drinking water. The process is extremely risky, and across the country it has led to water contamination so severe that people can literally light their water on fire. And it’s easy for the gas industry to get away with contamination, because they’ve hustled our politicians into exempting them from our most basic environmental protections, including the Safe Drinking Water Act, Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act.
But for three years, a strong movement has grown to fight the gas industry. I have joined up with thousands of citizens on the Internet, at rallies and in the halls of Albany. And recently I started a new campaign, WaterDefense.org, to bring the message to an even bigger audience. It’s just crazy to me that our society would allow our precious clean water to be destroyed — just to produce more dirty fossil fuels. It’s time for a real renewable energy, now not later.
That’s why I’m here writing to you now, as an unlikely environmentalist. This journey is what steered my editorship here with Metro. Please enjoy.
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