On Sunday, July 24, despite the muggy heat that had most people sweating through their shirts by noon, we watched, astonished, as the courtyard near City Hall filled with scores of people, signs, banners and chants all calling for the same thing: a Clean Energy Revolution! Food & Water Watch, along with over 900 organizations from all 50 states, had assembled a crowd of 10,000 people in the heart of Philadelphia on the eve of the Democratic National Convention to hold our elected leaders accountable to the people they serve. The sheer number and variety of all those voices sent a powerful message.
The organizations endorsing the Clean Energy Revolution are diverse, from those concerned about links between fracking and cancer, to those working all angles to stop climate change, with others troubled by the deep connections between oil and gas companies and the highest reaches of our government. But the march—and the movement behind it—proved to be greater than one agenda. With the majority of Americans opposed to fracking, the message sent on Sunday is clear: the 10,000 people who traveled to Philadelphia this weekend to march through the city—and millions of other Americans they represent—want a ban on fracking now.
— AAF (@USagainstFRACK) July 24, 2016
We marched down Market Street amid hopeful and energetic chants of, “We are unstoppable – another world is possible!” For us, the march was a much-needed break from constant reminders of a world transformed by global warming. Surrounded by a coalition made up of so many different types of people, we couldn’t help but be encouraged about the movement for a Clean Energy Revolution. As our friend Jesse reflected, it felt good “being part of something this big.”
— Alejandro Alvarez (@aletweetsnews) July 24, 2016
As the march reached its destination at Independence Hall and marchers gathered on the mall, the significance of this event materialized as the size of the crowd became tangible. In the cradle of American democracy, in the same place the Declaration of Independence was signed, thousands had come together to demand that our current leaders work to create a "more perfect union." By refusing to include a fracking ban into its party platform earlier this month, the DNC disgracefully ignored the will of the people it’s supposed to represent.
The Marcellus Shale, stretching across a huge swatch of Pennsylvania, makes the state home to the largest fracked gas field in the United States, where thousands of residents find their homes destroyed, their water poisoned, and their families made sick by the effects of fracking. Marching in Philadelphia, on the eve of the Democratic National Convention, was a perfect way to let our elected officials know we’re going to take our country back from corporate fossil fuel interests.
The day culminated with speeches relaying impassioned testimony urging on the Clean Energy Revolution:
— Environmental Action (@EnviroAction) July 24, 2016
Despite the heat wave that kept temperatures in the high 90s for the entire weekend, the march was a stunning reminder of the force behind the movement. The motivation of the revolution resonates in the personal experiences from so many impacted individuals and constituencies.
But the march was also a reminder of how far our movement has come in just a few years. The movement, which has grown powerful enough to win a permanent ban in New York and a moratorium in Maryland, along with hundreds of other towns and cities across the country, came together to make the March for a Clean Energy Revolution a truly special moment: it now stands as the largest anti-fracking action in U.S. history.
— Robert Howarth (@howarth_cornell) July 25, 2016
The fight isn’t over yet—we still have a lot of work to do to hold our elected officials accountable for their promises and their failures to transition to a clean energy future. But in Philadelphia, the thousands of citizens gathered outside Independence Hall sent a powerful message that the Clean Energy Revolution has already started—and together, we’ll put an end to fracking, for good.