July 2, 2016
By Angelique Stolar

Picture2On Sunday, July 24th, the Thomas Merton Center, in conjunction with other groups from the region, will take six passenger buses from the Pittsburgh area to Philadelphia to participate in the March for a Clean Energy Revolution. Thousands of supporters from all across the country will unite to demand a ban on fracking, a halt to the expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure, and a just transition to a renewable energy economy. The march will take place on the eve of the Democratic National Convention, with hundreds of policy-makers and media personnel watching.

Pennsylvania is a hub for every aspect of fossil fuel use. Communities across the state are negatively affected by everything from coal mining to fracking, as well as the burning and disposal of these fossil fuels.  The health and safety of  residents is ignored, their land is destroyed, and they are left with the economic desolation that results from “boom and bust” industries like coal mining and fracking. Local, state, and federal officials have failed to protect the residents and resources of the Commonwealth from exploitation by the fossil fuel industry. This negligence has prompted people to take the fight against fracking and unconventional gas development into their own hands.

Friends of the Harmed, a project of the Thomas Merton Center and publishers of Shalefield Stories, Vol 2, recently wrote a “Letter to President Obama from the Harmed.” This letter calls on President Obama to meet with the families who have been impacted by the fracking industry, and to take action to correct the harmful practices used by the fossil fuel industry. The March for a Clean Energy Revolution will provide the people of western Pennsylvania with an even larger platform to stand together, and make their voices heard.

Anyone interested in joining the march can reserve a seat on a bus online at http://www.cleanenergymarch.org. Buses will leave in the morning on Sunday, July 24th, from Butler, Cranberry, Monroeville, Pittsburgh, Washington, Waynesburg, and Morgantown, and return to those areas on Sunday night. Please contact Eva Westheimer at ewestheimer@fwwatch.org or 267-428-1916 for more information.

Angelique Stolar is an intern for the Thomas Merton Center and a student at Slippery Rock University, studying communications and political science.