New York Bans Fracking

New York Bans Fracking
We did it! You were part of it!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Rally at the Grand Hyatt plus Acting for Wind at Dark Moon Rite for Hekate!

"No LNG, No How!"
The weather is heating up, and so is the Wind-Powered action!  

Tonight, members of PEC-NYC joined individuals from Food and Water Watch, Citizens United, and a host of other eco-groups to tell Governor Cuomo (in town for a fundraising dinner) that we do NOT want Fracking in our state!

Governor Cuomo met with major donors at the Grand Hyatt Hotel near Grand Central Station...but not without hearing from the people of NYC, first!

We even met another gubernatorial candidate!

 PEC-NYC with Zephyr Teachout, potentially on the ticket for Governor of New York! (Turquoise suit jacket) She likes Witches!

More photos from the rally! 

Witches and Monks work to get people to honk for Fracking Ban

"Wind Power!" and "Windcraft!"

PEC-NYC and friends!

Dark Moon/New Moon: The Esbat to Honor Hekate saved space to sign the petition to Governor Cuomo in support of Wind Power
On the beautiful breezy afternoon this past Sunday had to offer, local Witches gathered in a quiet spot in Central Park to participate in a ritual to honor the Greek Goddess of the Crossroads, of Death, and Rebirth. The ritual was facilitated by Adrienne Lynn Manglos.
Guests of the ritual sign the letter!

HPS Adrienne has led Circles in NYC for a number of years and has recently opened a Coven in honor of Hekate. The group is open to new members who are interested in practicing Witchcraft and studying the mysteries of Hekate. Please see their Meetup group for more information!

HPS Adrienne led the group in a delicate, but powerful rite to study the Crossroads and embrace confident decision making. The afternoon included a beautiful guided meditation, which the HPS wrote herself, that helped participants view their choices with increased perspective. Tucked in a partially shaded spot where two park paths met, the group carved out a slice of Magick in a park that (as one guest called it) "is crawling with Muggles."

Sarah Bitner (left) of PEC-NYC with HPS Adrienne Manglos

HPS Adrienne with the signatures gathered at Sunday's ritual
Keep September 20-21st on your calendar and if you're not in NYC, consider taking your Mabon vacation, here! That weekend will host the People's Climate March in line with the UN Summit on Climate Change. Join us and march for eco-justice!

Friday, June 20, 2014

WITCH RALLY! (with friends...) Tell Cuomo in Person: GREEN ENERGY, NOW!

Monday, June 30

5:30-7:00 p.m.

Grand Hyatt Hotel: 109 East 42nd Street, New York, NY


Do you want to see NY State be powered 100% by renewable resources in your lifetime? Seriously. All green, in your lifetime?

Do you worry about the effects of toxic waste from natural gas extraction on NY State food and wine? (We did mention WINE, right?) 

Do you think a lovely off-shore windfarm is a better plan for our shores than an liquified natural gas port aka big, polluting terrorism target?

Do you like hanging out with a bunch of Witches on a summer night?

Governor Cuomo is coming to New York City for a campaign fundraiser fundraiser. 

Join members of the Pagan Environmental Coalition and their friends outside the event for a peaceful, spirited rally as we call on Governor Cuomo to ban fracking, veto the Port Ambrose LNG facility, stop the expansion of gas infrastructure, and build green energy in New York State. Let Cuomo know: WITCHES WANT WIND!

Feel free to bring signs, drums, and/or noisemakers or just show up! We'll have plenty!  


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Air Moves us, Fire transforms us, Water Shapes us, Earth heals us…

I went to Long Beach, Long Island on Saturday, June 14th, hoping to get a chance to hoop and holler and raise my voice to the wind, cheering a runner at the finish line of a grueling 100 mile race.

Instead, I got amply blasted by sand and wind, and the lovely picnic supplied by the three families from  the Sustainability Committee at 4th Universalist Society, my Unitarian Universalist congregation, was packed away relatively quickly: Case closed by the Element of the Air: wind power works.

The occasion was Wind 100, a Sierra Club event to put pressure on Governor Cuomo to make due on promises to  develop the off-shore wind potential of Long Island. We were there to rally and to await the arrival of Matt Kearns- an activist for the Sierra Club who was running the length of Long Island in one day in order to draw attention to wind power.

As we sat on the bleachers on the board walk and watched local officials speak, we had a reminder of how grave the fight to promote renewable energy-rather than fracking or other fossil fuel infrastructure- really is. The entire board walk was brand new- rebuilt after Sandy over a year and a half ago, a storm many believe has heralded the tipping point of the climate crisis.   With the proposed LNG/Port Ambrose port for the Rockaways poised to bring greater amounts of dangerous fracked gas into our area, there is no time like the present to pressure Governor Cuomo and other government officials to make wind farms a reality. If you want, you can start doing that right here.

Matt Kearns made it safely to Long Beach that night, but we have a long, long ways to go to making renewable energy taken for granted in New York. We have Matt and countless others to thank for the tireless efforts. Although the turn out at the beach was somewhat smaller than expected, I took a lot of hope from seeing the range of generations there- from the kids to the old stalwart environmentalists I have seen at other rallies. Let’s continue to lift our sails, and send our voices out to the powers and spirits of the wind!

Valerie Freseman, MDiv

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Summer Solstice Rites and Running for Wind

Healing Well and Fire

"We are the Sun, We are the Moon,
We are the Light, We are the Tomb,
We are the Hope, we are the Way,
We gather on the Longest Day...." 

The motion for a collective letter from the NY State Pagan community continued yesterday at Novices of the Old Ways Litha Rite at Catland in Brooklyn. Pagans and occult practitioners gathered in the early evening to honor the longest day. Technically, the Summer Solstice does not occur until next weekend (June 21/22), but the members of N.O.W. have typically avoided scheduling anything that conflicts with the annual Mermaid Parade!

The group uses the title of "Novices" not because they are composed of people new to the Craft (most of the members have at least a decade of practice), but because they believe it is only through the open-eyes of the Novice that wisdom and enlightenment can be attained. "Once we believe we are Masters, we cease to learn."  N.O.W. has cultivated Sabbat rituals, classes, and awareness-raising causes in NYC for almost seven years. Over the last few years, another branch of N.O.W. has grown in Indiana. Less a Tradition and more of a philosophy, NOWers strive to build rituals directly addressing the needs of the immediate community, with a heavy emphasis on fellowship. The June 14th ritual drew from the idea of the Healing Well to give participants the opportunity to heal themselves. The latter part of the ritual then focused energy on building strong relationships within the community. The money collected went directly to the fundraiser for Catland's garden construction.

And, of course, more signatures were collected for the letter to Cuomo! 

Ritual guests sign the letter

Novices of the Old Ways ritual leaders with letter signatures
The letter campaign is well over 100 signatures in just a few short weeks! If you would like to bring a copy to your next gathering, please email us and we'll send it along!

Congratulations to Matt Kearns who ran 100 miles in one day to support wind power in NYC! 

Read all about Matt's journey and the huge welcome-rally at Long Beach, the site of the proposed off-shore wind farm.

Together, we can make this happen.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Dispatch from the NE-PA Border: Life in the Natural Gas Industry

With all of the work everybody is doing downstate, I felt that it was important to hear about the things we're seeing up here in New York's Southern Tier, on the Northeast Pennsylvania border.  This area is truly ground zero for the fracking fight in New York State, and the costs for those of us who live here couldn't be higher: any economic windfall or fallout will quite literally be in our backyards, and any environmental impact will affect the places in which we work, play, and worship.

I live just outside of Binghamton, NY, an area once home to the largest shoe manufacturer in America, a bleeding-edge technology innovator, and what between the two of them was probably the highest-paid, best treated workforce in the world.  Our neighboring towns and cities produced much of the glass consumed globally (Corning), the computers behind the Apollo mission and the Space Shuttle (Owego), film and optical equipment (Rochester), silverware (Onieda), china (Syracuse), cutlery (Camillus, Olean), and guns (Ithaca).  All of that has changed today, with most of these employers having long since disappeared from our tax rolls.  Those of us who still call the Southern Tier home now have to deal with the aftereffects of our prosperous past: carcinogens from industrial accidents and old industrial dump sites, a sprawling and underfunded municipal infrastructure, a declining and aging population, an increase in recreational drug use, and a population living closer to the poverty line than ever before.

Oh, and we're sitting on top of the largest volume of recoverable natural gas resource in the United States.

The coming of the natural gas industry means different things to different people.  To our retired white-collar population, it brings the potential for supplemental income.  To our local farmers (all of whom are small family farms, as is the case for much of New York State's agriculture), the promise of extra income to help keep their farms running.  And to the layman, a vision of times long gone: an economically prosperous community, with more than enough jobs to go around.  Even though it has not yet reached our borders, the natural gas industry the Southern Tier is open for business: selling hope.  But what kind of impact would large scale fracking operations have on our communities?  What kind of economic and infrastructural damage could it bring, and would the promised jobs bring in enough income to offset it?  What hazards will working with the chemicals used in fracking expose to our citizenry, and how will even the perception of more prosperity affect the cost we pay for goods and services?

To get a glimpse behind what life is like with the natural gas industry, we'll turn to my friend Sally (not her real name).  Sally lives a short drive from here, on the other side of the Pennsylvania border.  She is a practicing Pagan, a mother, and the wife of a worker in the natural gas industry.  With her permission, I'm reprinting her story of what its like to live within the natural gas industry.
We moved here nearly three years ago from Oklahoma, my husband's home state. I myself grew up and my whole family and many friends are in the Finger Lakes. The job he had while in Oklahoma manufactured units for water purification to be used in hydrofracturing operations. It was through this connection that enabled us to move here, to be closer to my side of the family.
The first job my husband had was running the water purification process on frack sites. I was concerned about the dangerous chemicals he handled on a daily basis and how they could affect his health, and whether they could be carried home to us and affect the whole family. He worked with biocides that kill mico-organisms in the water used, as well as friction reducing fluids. Everyone who works on frack sites is required to wear fire resistant (FR) clothing, which creates another source of concern for me. How much of the FR chemical contained in the fabric gets into my husband through his skin? Will this affect my washing machine? Will it leave residues behind that will then contaminate the whole families' clothing? The FR stuff still concerns me.
He now works as a water truck driver. One thing that I think should concern people considering allowing fracking in their communities is the amount of truck traffic and subsequent air pollution this brings. I have a hard time getting my head around how many truckloads of water are required to get one natural gas well operational. Water trucks are heavy, their loads are not stable, and this makes them very dangerous to drive. We have heard of at least a handful of serious traffic accidents involving water trucks, some resulting in fatalities. Heavy vehicles like that are also very hard on roads, driving ruts into the lanes and generally accelerating the breakdown of the pavement, opening up potholes. One good thing I can say for at least some of the gas companies, is that they have repaired at least some of the roads they use, and in a timely fashion. I have lived in four states, and Pennsylvania's roads are the worst I have observed. I'm not sure if that can purely be attributed to gas, but I don't see the state making the repairs.
My husband often gets assigned to be the "site suck truck" more than he transports water. This means that he is responsible for vacuuming up water from the containment on the gas pad. In addition to the chemicals he worked with when he did the water purification job, he can be exposed to any chemical used at any stage of the fracking process. He sometimes gets this oil-based mud on his clothes. That stuff will ruin a washing machine. Even laundromats have signs up forbidding patrons from laundering clothing contaminated with this material. You are left with ruined FR clothing, which is expensive. A pair of FR jeans runs around $100 a pair. A shirt is around $40+. Some companies provide FR clothing (and laundering) for the workers, but my husband has to provide his own. He often gets bullied into performing duties that are the job of frack hands when he works on site. I would think this is a huge liability issue, and yet it happens.
Some other things I've noticed about the impact of fracking is real estate values. Talking with people who are lifelong residents of the area, real estate prices have gone up. Many places up for sale are advertised as "gas and mineral rights do not transfer," along with a hefty price tag. There are so many abandoned properties, empty houses. The house across the road from me has been on the market ever since we moved in, has been offered both for sale and rent. Rent prices have skyrocketed with the assumption that "Gas workers make a lot of money." While I suppose they are making more than the average non-gas worker, that severely limits housing for people who don't work in the gas industry. There are also a fair number of gas industry workers who are making average range pay. The ones who are making a good living work many more hours than a 40 hour week. My husband, for example, works 12 hour days 6 days a week. This amounts to 72 hours a week, almost double the average full timer. This impacts the family the most of all. I think my children exhibit behavior problems as a result of not having enough time with their dad, and I hardly ever get any one on one time with my spouse. These hours are typical for many of the positions within the gas industry, from what I've heard.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Scenes from the Grassroots--Gasland Screening in Cornwall and "Altars as Artforms" in Brooklyn

Witches Want Wind in Cornwall!
Members of the Pagan Community in Cornwall, NY gathered on Friday night at Brid's Closet to watch the documentary of "Gasland," the film exposing the risks and dangers of Fracking.

Although the film is a few years old now, its impact is still the same. A gasp moved about the room when the attendants realized their own watershed was quite in danger of being Fracked, eventually.

After the film, a discussion took place about what regular people can do about this. One thing discussed was "MANIFEST!" "BUILD!" "MAKE THINGS GREEN!" The letter to Cuomo urging the construction of Wind Power and the rejection of natural gas infrastructure (which is linked directly to fracking), including and especially the Liquified Natural Gas Port applying for permit-construction off the Coast of Long Island, was passed around and signed.

After the ritual, members of PEC-NY performed a ritual to connect with the Spirit of the Local Place, release the dependency on Fossil Fuels, and energetically charge the state to enter into pact and relationship with the Earth, instead of simply taking. 

George Courtney of PEC-NY opens the Rite
"Digging the Faery Well"
Reagan Porter of PEC-NY leads a raising for Green Energy

Thank you to Bernadette Montana and her community for hosting and engaging in such a lovely night!

"Altars as Artforms"....and Power for Wind
Jennifer June of PEC-NY brought the pro-wind letter to Cuomo to the opening of Altars as Art
Scimitar Atlar
a showing of Pagan Altars as works of Art, which can be seen at Catland Books through June 20th. The show is described as Using wall altars as inspiration "Altars as Art Forms" explores the immersive aspect of creating a sacred space, a ritual room that once you enter becomes a portal into the magical world. 

Jennifer, known as "Blue" in the NYC Pagan community, wrote about her experience at the opening, promoting the letter's signature:

For almost a month I had been anticipating Katelan Foisy's opening of the Altars As Art Forms exhibit at Catland books.  Being a toddler witch, I was very excited to see various artists very personal take on these stations of worship, but I also knew that it was a wonderful opportunity to take care of some serious business as well.  On the street team for The Pagan Environmental Coalition, I knew this would be the perfect event to get signatures on the letter to Governor Cuomo urging him to join our group in support of wind energy and reject the construction of LNG ports. I knew at the very least I would raise awareness of these possible LNG ports, and the extreme danger we face if that route is taken over homegrown wind power.     

Hindu-Influenced Altar at "Altars as Art Forms"
As I entered the venue I so often frequent, I felt as though it had been transformed into a completely new magical venue with enchanting decor.  I gradually made my way down the familiar aisle taking in every hanging spell adorning the ceiling, the drying bouquets of dried herbs and the beautiful tapestry adorning the wall behind the counter.  After no less than three kisses from Damon Stang, who is Katelan's partner in the beautifully ethereal Witches' Compass event, I passed through the portal doorway into the bewitching exhibit room.  Waltzing deosil around the room I regarded each piece purposefully until I had absorbed its charms.  The pieces ranged in styles from extremely minimalist modern altars, to gothic, to repurposed tchotchke cabinets with the Indian Guru Mata Amritanandamayi (better known as Amma the spiritual leader who travels to give healing hugs) and various Hindu influences.
After bumping into someone in the very crowded space I struck up conversation and began makingmy rounds explaining what the letter was for and collecting NY citizens signatures.  Almost every person I spoke to was enthusiastic to contribute and more than happy to oblige, even though I probably interrupted approximately ten different conversations.  

The truth is I didn't bring enough copies of the letter as I easily filled two pages in less than an hour.
Lisa Jerilene signs the letter to Governor Cuomo

However, the exhibit has a closing reception June 20th from 7pm until 10pm at Catland 987 Flushing Ave. Brooklyn, NY and I will be there with more copies of our letter to Cuomo so you can see these gorgeous pieces and urge our Governor to support wind power at the same time.
Rose Petals Decorate the Art and Sacred Space


Thursday, June 5, 2014

Tomorrow! "Gasland" Screening, Discussion, and Ritual in Cornwall, NY

Friday, June 6, 2014
7:00 p.m.
Brid's Closet: 296 Main Street, Cornwall, NY 12518

This is something that should be on the minds of Pagans everywhere. We will be screening the film with a discussion afterwards.

Courtney Weber-HPS of The novices of The Old Ways Coven will be coming
up from NYC to discuss this film along with members of Pagan Environmental Coalition--NYC. 

People...this is a wake-up call!

Have you ever seen
someone light their water faucet on fire? Have you heard of human-made
earthquakes? Or whole communities evacuated because their houses might
explode? Hydraulic Fracturing (aka "Fracking") is a natural-gas
extraction method, the effects of which have decimated water sources,
homes, and health around the country. Fracking companies continue to put
pressure on New York State to allow the practice, putting our homes and
water at risk. We will be screening the documentary GASLAND by Josh
Fox, the film exposing the dangers of this practice and its threat to
New York State.

Join us for a wake-up call, followed by a
discussion on how Witches can manifest an ecologically and economically
sustainable state. (Yes! We can be both!) Hear about a Pagan-backed initiative for wind-power in the state of NY--an economical, ecologically-sustainable alternative to natural gas infrastructure, which could eventually include fracking.

 $5 (or anything you can
give-no one will be turned away) will be donated to the Pagan
Environmental Coalition of NYC