Pushing For Climate Justice in Paris from Upstate New York

By: Joan McKiernon

As climate change activists from around the globe protested at the UN Climate Change Summit in Paris, demanding meaningful measures from the world’s governments to save the planet, local environmental activists held their own demonstrations in sympathy.

Three hundred people marched to Watkins Glen, with the group ‘We are Seneca Lake’, which has been resisting proposed liquefied petroleum storage along the Lake. Here in Binghamton, activists from Pennsylvania and the Southern Tier gathered at the local Unitarian Church, and discussed the need for solar energy, the role of the military in promoting use of fossil fuels, and dissatisfaction with some of the proposals anticipated in Paris.

Vera Scroggins, a veteran foe of fracking in Susquehanna County said, “the goal of doing something by 2050 is too late.” Scott Clark, from West Windsor, spoke of the fight of his community against the compressor station which is just opposite his house.

New York activists have savored two recent victories as a result of their unrelenting pressure: Andrew Cuomo’s fracking ban and his refusal to give Port Ambrose the go-ahead.

The protests are spreading from New York. Demands to ban fracking have been raised in North Carolina, California, Florida, and even Texas. Pipeline leaks, water and air pollution continue to endanger communities, leading to further protest movements. But more still needs to be done in New York. Frack-friendly Pennsylvania continues to pump gas which they will sell in New York. More and bigger pipelines are being built to transport PA’s gas.

New York is now the largest consumer of natural gas east of the Mississippi. The Constitution and Dominion pipelines will cross the Southern tier and there is a new pipeline being built in West Windsor, with heightened danger of leaks and spills.

On the international level, the world’s governments are meeting, they say, to deal with the threat of climate change. But the air in Paris reeks of hypocrisy. The 20 largest economies spend more than $459 billion annually subsidizing the fossil fuel industry, four times what they spend on renewable energy.

These governments talk change but money talks louder and props up the status quo. That is why activists need to think bigger. A system built on corporate profits really runs the show and there will be no change while profit remains the motive for production. We need to address system change, in order to stop climate change.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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