Pittsburgh Artists Against Fracking Coalition
Mike Stout has been fighting the good fight in Pittsburgh for decades. As a former Union Rep for the Homestead Works Steel Mill, working folk musician, and activist for human rights and the environment, he’s dedicated his life to making a difference. When the natural gas industry moved to PA to tap into the Marcellus Shale with their fracking technology, Mike grew concerned. When these companies started spending tons of money on propaganda in the local media, he got angry. When they contributed significant funds to the local politician’s campaigns, who in turn proposed fracking in our public parks, Mike took action.
Why is fracking bad? Natural Gas is clean and domestic, right? Don’t people who allow fracking on their land make lots of money? While it’s true natural gas burns cleaner than petroleum, the process of fracking is highly dangerous, polluting our drinking water, wasting tons of water in the process, making the people and animals around the sites very ill. Then there are situations like the recent gas well fire in Greene County, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There are plenty of resources to educate yourself on the dangers of fracking. At this point the technology has not been developed to be safe enough, and regulators are too lax in protecting us from these dangers. We suggest checking out the Triple Divide documentary to start. The filmmakers were recently featured on The Daily Show, and the film shows an in-depth investigation of the dangers of fracking right here is Pennsylvania.
These dangers are what motivated Mike to create a coalition of local artists to raise money and awareness for the cause. He was inspired by the artists of the 70s who spoke out against pollution, which lead to the EPA and Clean Air and Clean Water Acts. The Pittsburgh Artists Against Fracking: Protecting Mother Earth was founded earlier this year. All mediums of artists are welcome – visual artists, musicians, filmmakers, dancers, writers, and any creatives interested in supporting the cause. In addition to Mike, the founding members include: Singer/ Songwriter/ Rapper- Kellee Maize, Liz Berlin of Rusted Root & Drowning Clowns, Community Activist & Emcee Jasiri X, Visual Artists Bob Ziller, Maritza Mosquera, and Bob Qualters, and many, many more.
Their intention is to unite to spread awareness about the dangers of fracking through events like concerts and art exhibits, through their art, and eventually an art and music festival benefit featuring all of the participating artists in Spring of 2015.
The first official event for the group was the Pittsburgh Artists Against Fracking exhibit organized by Bob Ziller at Garfield Artworks, which opened during the 2014 GA/GI Festival. The show features 102 pieces of artwork from 78 local artists including David Pohl, Laura Jean McLaughlin, Maritza Mosquera, Nathan Mould, James Simon, Jason Sauer, and Thommy Conroy. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Protect Our Parks organization, and there is still time to help! There will be a closing party on April 28th from 6-9pm featuring live music from Standing Wave. There are still pieces available to purchase, 44 of which are $100 or less. Be sure to attend the closing party to buy some amazing art, support the cause, and learn more about how you can be involved. You can also email redingerlani[at]gmail[dot]com if you are an artist interested in joining the coalition.
Check out some anti-fracking songs from some of the coalition artists:
Kellee Maize “Frack Track” from The Fifth Element
Join the movement to stop fracking in our region, and protect our water and land for future generations!