Great movements -- from women's suffrage to civil rights -- begin with a small group of people standing up and saying no to injustice. Such a movement is currently emerging around our most basic human rights: access to clean air, clean water, and a stable climate.
This new movement aims to halt aggressive oil and gas extraction techniques like fracking, which destroy water, pollute air, and leak climate-killing methane into the atmosphere. It's a grassroots effort that is spreading on both coasts of our great nation, and its momentum is growing as communities learn from the success of their neighbors and far-flung allies.
Not long ago, the discovery of the natural gas-rich Marcellus Shale in the northeast prompted a rush from industry officials looking to secure gas leases in rural communities throughout New York, Pennsylvania and elsewhere. Residents in small towns and villages were told that there was nothing they could do -- as long as there were willing property owners, wells would be "fracked" through the hard shale rock under their properties and natural gas would be extracted.