Good kids, wrong move

I keep thinking about those kids who got arrested the other day for blocking a public road by cementing themselves to a pipe filled with concrete and sundry obstructive materials. I’m saying ‘kids’ loosely, in that way someone nearly sixty thinks of twenty, even thirty-somethings.

I’m thinking of them in a personal way, since I had dinner with all of them last Sunday evening, days before the ‘action’ that garnered giant headlines in the Williamsport paper. I had been invited to participate in a panel discussion that evening called Voices from the Shale Fields, one of many panels/workshops that had been scheduled for the week-long gathering of young people more than a 100 of them from as far away as Maine and North Carolina at an event called Spring Break.

I was impressed with their planning and organization, impressed that they were there instead of drunk on their asses in Lauderdale; impressed at the quality of the workshops, by means of which they hoped to educate themselves and each other about the many issues (not just fracking) that in their view imperil the world. And, most importantly perhaps, what to do about any of it.

I talked to a bunch of them after our presentation there were about 50 in the room for a 7:30 p.m. panel and hugged quite a few, too: They were so precious, so beautiful and vulnerable and young; earnest and passionate and trying so hard to grapple with what looks to them to be the many-headed monster threatening the living world.

I read about their action in the paper, and winced in that way you do when someone you care for does something foolish. And foolish it was: Closing a public road instead of a drilling access road; picking a site where no fracking is presently occurring; and, worst of all, being less than truthful about the stuff they stuck into the cement which would make cutting through it problematic. If you do not stand in truth, you stand with liars. Just as bad, it gave the industry a PR victory you could hear their chortles all the way from Harrisburg.

So, yes, it was ill-timed, ill-placed and ill-conceived. But one rather expects that of youth, yes? I’ll bet they got themselves all excited, and off they went. But they made their mistake in pursuit of a honorable goal: They think the world needs saving. It’s not as though their elders have taught them how to stand strong in the face of the juggernaut. It’s not like there are universities where they teach you how to place your lever in the right place.

But here’s what they didn’t do: They didn’t hurt anybody. The fossil fuels industry can hardly say the same.

Ruth Steck


Submitted by Virtual Newsroom