Michigan Student Sustainability Coalition

Unifying the voice of a generation in environmental solidarity

Unity and Support Key to MI Grassroots Fracking Movement

on June 11, 2013

Over the weekend of June 1-2 I had the pleasure of attending Part 2 of the Common Ground Fracking retreat. Held at Circle Pines Retreat Center and representing over 40 different grassroots groups opposed to fracking, this was an amazing opportunity to meet the diverse group of people in this fight and think about how the MSSC can best support these efforts.

You should read all about it in this wonderful article written by Maryann Lessert! Much thanks to Maryann for her ability to sum up our weekend quite accurately and portray the new sense of unity with which this movement will progress.

Many of you know that the MSSC has an anti-fracking working group, and over the past semester we’ve been struggling to find where students can fit in to the anti-fracking movement. Part of this had to do with the divided nature of the fracking debate in MI- do we call for a ban? Is a moratorium more politically feasible? Or maybe we should enact local ordinances because of our political gridlock? While I was once frustrated by what seemed to be a lack of unity in the movement, I’ve now come to realize that, by supporting groups pursuing all of these strategies, we can be part of a movement that is truly fighting on all fronts.

Although we may not always agree on the best strategy to pursue in each moment, we certainly can agree that, united, we stand a much better chance. By coming together for this weekend of dialogue and work, we were able to forge a path forward that allows us to provide support for all of the organizations fighting fracking without having to choose one strategy over another. In this way we can all move forward with the heavy load of work that needs to be done- educating Michiganders about the dangers of fracking and building enough grassroots power to fight the massive oil and gas industry doing everything in their power to suck our state dry of natural gas.

The MSSC still has some more work to do to figure out where we can fit best in to this movement, but I”m confident that we’ll figure it out. We’ve got wonderful students working in the field already, and plenty of organizations and efforts to plug in with. How do you think the MSSC should support student action around fracking this fall? If you want to talk more, please leave a comment and/or join the anti-fracking working group!

I’ll leave you with another highlight from my weekend, brought to me by the beautiful Circle Pines Retreat Center:

photo (23)

Yep, that is me milking a goat. A goat named Kesha.  If you want to have this awesome goat-milking experience, and maybe throw in a  Michigan music filled weekend, check out the upcoming music festival at Circle Pines- the Buttermilk Jamboree! 


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