Remembering David Braun, Key Leader in NY, CA, and National Anti-Fracking Movements

Published Jan 16, 2024


Climate and Energy

This weekend the anti-fracking movement lost a leading light — the tireless, courageous, and brilliant David Braun. 

This weekend the anti-fracking movement lost a leading light — the tireless, courageous, and brilliant David Braun. 

David’s accomplishments are legendary. As a co-founder of United for Action, he helped launch New Yorkers Against Fracking and was a key leader in the multi-year fight to ban fracking in the Empire State. He helped organize and MC rallies — his bold, jovial, righteous, and booming voice was a staple at actions large and small. David was relentless — a workhorse in the pursuit of justice.

David in 2012, at an anti-fracking rally in Albany, New York. Photo © Jessica Riehl.

David then went on to return to California, where he was from. He worked toward a fracking ban there, hounding first Governor Brown and then Governor Newsom. He started the grassroots organization Rootskeeper and made the film Faith Against Fracking (he had previously worked for two years as National Grassroots Outreach Director for Josh Fox’s Gasland) — a beautiful multi-faith call for Governor Brown to ban fracking and move California off fossil fuels.

David (center) at the 2016 Clean Energy Revolution March in Philadelphia.
David (far left) with faith leaders for a “Faith Against Fracking” event in Berkley, CA in 2014. Photo courtesy of Rootskeeper.

He was also a major presence at the national level. He co-founded Americans Against Fracking (AAF) and worked closely with Food & Water Watch and others to build a network of grassroots anti-fracking organizations, coordinate days of action, and manage coalition calls. Whenever anyone joined an AAF call, they first heard David’s voice, highlighting the many cities and states people were joining from and welcoming them in.

David was also a member of the Democratic Platform committee in 2016, representing Senator Bernie Sanders. In that position, he was instrumental in incorporating the call for a climate emergency into the Democratic Party Platform. (You can watch him speak at the Platform Committee meeting in the video below, around the 8:11:03-mark.)

But beyond all those accomplishments, David was a steadfast, giving, and loving friend to the many people who knew him. He had a great sense of humor, a pure heart, and had a deep concern for his colleagues. He also had a special super power of relating to people. As Food & Water Watch NorthEast Director Alex Beauchamp recalls, David was the rare person who was equally engaging in a one-on-one conversation or in a speech in front of thousands. With David, you felt heard, and you felt his passion. He always believed that together we could win. 

In recent years, David endured and publicly documented significant struggles, and his many friends and loved ones did their best to help and support him. While his passing is a tragic and major loss, his singular spark, his love, and his impact continue to live on in the many people he touched and in lasting policy to protect communities, of which he was so proud. May his memory be a blessing.

Mark Schlosberg, Food & Water Watch
Russell Greene, Progressive Democrats of America

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