NEW YORK—Yoko Ono and Sean Lennon, wife and son of the late John Lennon, launched an Artists Against Fracking coalition Wednesday at Manhattan’s Paley Center.
Ono and Lennon started the coalition after Pennsylvania’s hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, hit close to their Catskill farm home.
After attending several local town hall meetings with residents and gas company representatives, Lennon said he felt he must do something to prevent the moratorium on fracking in New York from being lifted by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
“It seems 100 percent of the landowners are completely against it,” said Lennon, himself a musician like his father.
“There are so many great ‘fractivist’ groups,” Lennon said. “I was trying to look for what wasn’t out there already, a niche that I can make an impact on very easily. I felt that my mother and I are in the unique position to be able to call on our artist friends.”
The new coalition consists of artists, musicians, filmmakers and public figures, who are opposed to hydraulic fracturing. The growing coalition now includes 146 members, such as actors Mark Ruffalo, Alec Baldwin, Liv Tyler, Uma Thurman, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
“We just asked friends to call friends, and it sort of accelerated from there,” Lennon said. “When people who might not know much about it realize what is at stake is water and air, most people want to get on board.”
The coalition submitted a letter to Gov. Andrew Cuomo Monday, and plans to meet with him soon.
“[The government officials] are really smart, and have good intentions,” Lennon said. “We just think the subject of fracking has not been fully understood.”
The coalition is concerned that fracking chemicals will leak into water sources.
Ono is now 79. Lennon took her hand to help her step up to the podium Wednesday.
“Eventually logic and love will overcome everything, everything is beautiful as long as it doesn’t get destroyed,” Ono said. “Say yes to life and say no to fracking.”
Ono encouraged people to send emails to Cuomo through artistsagainstfracking.com. “We have to show him every day we are not forgetting,” she said.
The coalition’s origin dates back to Oct. 9, 2010, the late John Lennon’s birthday, when Ono gave out the annual Lennon Ono Grants for Peace. One of the four recipients was Josh Fox, who directed “Gasland,” an Academy Award-nominated documentary about fracking.
“Let’s just jump over the middle man and go straight to the source, the sun,” Lennon said, referring to how the coalition is not only against fracking, but also does not consider coal a renewable energy source.
“If you don’t want to trust the guy with the bow tie, you should trust Dr. Tony Ingraffea from Cornell University,” Lennon joked.
The coalition advocates long-term renewable and carbon-free power, such as solar and wind power.
“Nobody controls the price of sun or wind, we can harness those with a much smaller carbon footprint forever,” Ingraffea said.
Ingraffea reiterated that despite proposed government regulations allowing fracking in New York, “It is impossible to design a well that will not leak. As wells age, just like anything else, they degrade.”
Mark Ruffalo—who played the Hulk in the movie “The Avengers”—also spoke at the press event.
“I’m here today to talk about love.” Ruffalo said.
“I want to express my love to the fossil fuel industry for giving us 100 years of cheap carbon energy, to bring us the industrial revolution, the technical revolution, and now the renewable energy revolution,” he said. “You’ve given us a chance to take a step in our evolution, but we must leave behind what was once very, very good for us that has now has become bad for us.”
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