Photo Credits: Juan Davila
As the summer draws to a close and school looms on the horizon, I find myself looking back over my summer experience with Protect PT. I’m amazed to think how little I knew about fracking when I first started here. I know I still have much to learn, but the lessons I have learned will help me wherever I go.
Through working alongside people who have been learning about and combating the effects of fracking much longer than I have, I have gained an appreciation for just how much dedication and sacrifice goes into working towards a better community. While money may be the first resource to come to mind, time and energy are precious resources that cannot be taken for granted. The sacrifice of time and energy gives life to every battle. I have met several people who have already given so much of their time and energy and continue to do so as they work towards a better community for themselves and those around them.
True passion shows itself in our actions, not just our words. Many of us can talk about how we want to see a better community, but how many of us are actively working towards one? True passion does not stop at words. The people I have worked with at Protect PT daily take actions towards bringing about positive change in this community. Everyone can take steps to show their support for the community.
We each have unique skills that enable us to excel at different tasks. You don’t have to know how to set up an air monitor or how to write a letter to your representative to help. By choosing energy-efficient appliances and finding ways to use more renewable energy and less fossil-fuel energy, you can help increase the demand for clean energy. Increasing the demand for clean energy can help us build better communities. Showing up to events to support organizations like Protect PT and showing up to local government meetings and sharing your concerns and opinions also help promote our cause and protect our community.
Protecting our community requires teamwork. We need each other to accomplish what none of us can do by ourselves. When we work together, we can pool our knowledge and ideas and share the load.
Another lesson I have learned at Protect PT is the importance of keeping a positive attitude, even when you don’t see the results you were hoping for. I know it can be discouraging to put the effort in and not see immediate results, but we need to persevere. Giving up won’t help our community. We need to adapt to the changes and continue to work towards our goals if we hope to achieve them.
I have also learned how setting smaller goals for ourselves can help us stay on track and eventually reach our larger goals. We can’t fix everything at once. Try setting goals for yourself to support this process. Start with small goals - talking to other community members about these issues, attending workshops about the fracking process and how you can protect yourself, and attending local government meetings to find out more about the development in your area.
Another important lesson I have learned is to show understanding and allow for different points of view. When discussing issues like gas development, people have different perspectives and opinions. If we approach discussions as opportunities to share our point of view and respectfully listen to the other side (even when we don’t agree), our discussions will be more productive than if we simply refuse to listen to those who disagree with us. Our goal is to understand their perspective and share ours. We will not convince people to change their minds every time. But, if we have respectful discussions, we might find that some who disagreed at first start thinking about these issues in a new light.
When we discuss these issues with people who do not share our opinions or with local officials, we must argue our case with relevant facts and not just emotions. We need to show others the evidence of what gas development has done and will continue to do to our communities if changes are not made to protect us.
No matter how difficult or discouraging this process becomes, protecting our communities for now and the future is worth it. Our efforts are not just for our own sake, but for those who are coming after us. Our community needs to be protected. Let’s work together to make those protections a reality.