Eight-year-old Sierra first heard about fracking at dinner. One night as she and her parents sat around the table, she listened as her parents discussed how fracking could be coming to their community in Alameda County. She was curious what was happening, so she visited the Food & Water Watch website to learn more about fracking, and found out all the basics: it was a process where machines drilled into the ground to extract oil and gas—and, worst of all, was terrible for the environment.
Soon after, she took a field trip with her mother to the Food & Water Watch office in Oakland, where she learned more about fracking and received posters, buttons and more information about how she could join the movement for a clean energy future. Sierra wasted little time in trying to make a difference: she decided to host a bake sale in her neighborhood, where she sold cookies, and gave her neighbors something to think about. “I had a little piece of paper that I wrote myself,” she says. “It told people all about what fracking was and why it was so bad.”
But her efforts to fight fracking didn’t end there. Sierra also ran a social media fundraising campaign, thanking contributors by playing short musical numbers on her ukulele and posting her performances on YouTube. “I was playing a few songs that I’ve learned from my mom,” she said. “She’s been teaching me the ukulele for four years now.”
Sierra’s work has already paid off: on July 19th, at the Alameda County Board of Supervisors meeting, Sierra waited for 5 hours to read a short speech on the need to ban fracking from the county—and later that day, the Board voted unanimously to ban fracking. “I thought I’d have at least a small impact,” she said, “but it turns out [my impact] was bigger than I thought it’d be. A lot of people got interested in fighting fracking.”
Realizing the power a person can have when they connect with their community—no matter how old—Sierra says she wants to keep working on fracking and fundraising. And for people who, like Sierra, are looking for how they can help fight for our planet, she offers this advice: “You can find a cause that you like who can help you get involved. You can do something about fracking too.”
For Sierra, fundraising and activism both played a huge role in her efforts to keep fracking out of Alameda. If you donate to Food & Water Watch today, your impact will be doubled thanks to a match from a generous donor! And if you want to help build the movement to ban fracking across the country, you can find out more ways to get active where you live.