Thousands March in Oakland to Ban Fracking in California
In what the Berkeley Daily Planet called “the biggest climate-related protest in the Bay Area to date,” an estimated 8,000 demonstrators took to the streets of Oakland, California – Gov. Jerry Brown’s hometown – on February 7, calling on him to ban fracking to protect the state’s water supply and reduce emissions that contribute to climate change. Fracking uses water to break up rock formations and allow the escape of natural gas and oil.
In a February 5 Los Angeles Times op-ed, climate reporter Mark Hertsgaard acknowledged that “Brown has done more to fight climate change than perhaps any other elected official in the United States,” but he questioned whether the governor can “truly be a climate action champion if he does not reject fracking.”
Marchers Seek Real Climate Leadership
True to the name of the event – the “March for Real Climate Leadership” – participants shared that opinion. The Daily Planet said they called on Brown to follow the lead of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo by banning fracking, to “stand up to Big Oil” and to “support a shift to
100% renewable energy.” Photo by Sierra Club, SF Bay Chapter
SF Gate noted that in addition to New York and Vermont, California’s San Benito and Mendocino Counties have already banned fracking for both health and environmental reasons.
Diverse Protestors from California and Beyond
According to SFGate, the crowd included environmental justice organization representatives, labor unionists, students, health activists and others “who just feel strongly that fracking worsens climate change, jeopardizes health and exacerbates the already historic drought.”
The Daily Planet said the march filled four long city blocks that cover almost half a mile, at times “spilling over onto the sidewalk.” The protestors came not only from the Bay Area and throughout California, but also “from Pacific Islands threatened by climate change.”
The San Jose Mercury News quoted 350.org Executive Director May Boeve’s letter inviting Brown to the march, which said fracking "deepens our state's reliance on fossil fuels, releasing enormous amounts of carbon into the air and worsening the global problem of climate change.”