You Can Make A Difference

“Nothing could be worse than the fear that one had given up too soon and left one unexpended effort that might have saved the world.”
—Jane Addams
We know that one person can make a difference. Look at the lives of Rachel Carson, Aldo Leopold, David Brower, and millions of unnamed citizens who took the time to raise their voices and express their love of this beautiful Earth, the planet that sustains us.

Please take the time to write a letter or make a phone call to your Senators and Representatives on behalf of the following issues.  You CAN make a difference! 

Encourage others and write to Senate and House and learn more about the arctic…

Why You Should Care About The Arctic Refuge – Even If You Never Go There…

Other petitions you can participate in and action letters to Congress...

There are few places left on the planet that remain unscathed by the heavy footprint of humanity. The 19.6-million-acre Arctic National Wildlife Refuge [1], in the northeast corner of Alaska, is one of them—a vast primordial wilderness that stretches from spruce forests in the south, over the jagged Brooks Range, onto gently sloping wetlands that flow into the ice-curdled Beaufort Sea. ANWR is the summer breeding ground of nearly 200,000 caribou [2], the winter den of dozens of polar bears [3], and the gathering place of millions of migratory birds [4] that descend upon it each spring from every flyway in North America



Fracking—a process that helps extract oil and natural gas from impermeable rock formations. It all happens deep below the earth’s surface via wells that can stretch for a mile or longer. Up to millions of gallons of water are mixed with sand and chemicals and pumped into these wells at high pressure to break the rock and release the goods.

While the exact mixtures of chemicals used for fracking are often withheld as trade secrets, we do know that many of them have been associated with a whole host of health issues, including cancer. Moreover, fracking can cause some severe environmental impacts and public health threats.

Even on good days, a fracking operation does not make for a great neighbor. Drilling and fracturing cause loud noises and require bright lights. Industrial equipment, like flare stacks and waste pits, emit smog-forming volatile organic compounds and benzene. And a new onslaught of heavy truck traffic crowds and damages local roads.

On bad days, things get even worse. Chemical-laced wastewater can spill and pollute drinking water as well as cause earthquakes when massive amounts of it are disposed. Fracking is also not immune to mishaps like dangerous and climate change–aggravating methane leaks and even explosions.

So it’s not surprising that community opposition has been so strong in some areas that it has forced fracking operations to consider setting up elsewhere. “The grassroots approach is critical,” Daniel Raichel, NRDC staff attorney, asserts. “The reason we don’t see more movement on some of these issues legally is that the oil and gas companies have a ton of money. In the face of apathy from the general populace, they will get their way.”

Turns out there are plenty of ways to make your voice heard.

At the federal level

“Fracking enjoys loopholes from a number of our bedrock environmental laws,” Raichel notes. For example, oil and gas waste is not considered hazardous waste under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. This can make it difficult for concerned citizens to push the needle on a federal level, but it’s still important to call your elected representatives and urge them to close these loopholes. “Although sweeping change might be slow in coming, staying vocal keeps the pressure on elected officials and industry,” Raichel says. “As we’ve seen before, if there is enough of a groundswell, it will make a difference.”

At the state level

When it comes to fracking, federal law actually leaves most of the control to the states. And each state law differs. Take New York, which demanded that high-volume fracking be reviewed carefully before being let loose across the state (as it was in nearby Pennsylvania). This gave concerned New Yorkers the time and opportunity to get involved at several key moments throughout that review process, leading to a statewide ban in 2015.

Even if your state doesn’t have a mandatory review process, you can still ask state representatives for strong laws. You can also get involved when regulatory codes are being revised or during comment periods. To know when these opportunities arise, join an anti-fracking group in your state.

At the local level

Local activists “are the folks who really have the ability to change something,” says Damon Nagami, NRDC senior attorney. Need inspiration? The upstate New York–based husband-and-wife lawyer team of David and Helen Slottje are a shining example. They started helping communities push through bans on fracking and eventually founded the Community Environmental Defense Council in 2009.

If your state won’t allow a complete fracking ban at the local level, or if you’re concerned your municipal action will backfire, you can take a more nuanced approach. Try pushing smaller-scale ideas at town meetings or with local representatives. For example, you could try to bar fracking in residential areas, within 5,000 feet of a school, or near parks or nature preserves.

When creating actual ordinances, it’s important to use specific language and tight terms so oil and gas companies can’t find loopholes to slip through. Because this code is hard for nonprofessionals to crack, NRDC developed the Community Fracking Defense Project, which provides legal advice at the local level. “Sometimes you just need an expert on your side,” Nagami says.


Below is a petition that is active in New York State right now:

To the Governor, Assembly, and Senate of New York: We, the undersigned, oppose hydrofracking for natural gas because it would:

contaminate our water,

reduce property values,

·kill jobs and our economy by destroying the environmental foundations for a sustainable prosperity,

·make people sick and diseased from the release of toxics into our water, air, and land,

·accelerate global warming by releasing billions of tons carbon dioxide and methane, and

·divert precious time and money away from building a clean energy system based on energy efficiency and renewable energy sources, including solar, wind, wave, ground heat, sustainable biofuels, and a smart grid.

We therefore urge you to enact a permanent ban on hydrofracking for natural gas in New York State.

Contact your Senators and Representatives today and urge them to learn more about long term environmental and social problems caused by hydrofracking

Clean Water
Remember, phone calls and letters make more of an impact than e-mails.

Representative ____________
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

Senator ____________
U.S. Senate
Washington, DC 20510

Click here to learn who your members of Congress are and how to contact them.