I love being a food blogger, I really do. But every now and again, things happen that make me question whether another cookie recipe is really what the world needs.
Last Thursday, only a couple of hours from my home, the Canadian police came down in full paramilitary force on anti-shale gas protestors, many of them from the Mi'kmaq First Nation of Elsipogtog. I had been working on tomorrow's video recipe for salted pumpkin caramels and suddenly, pumpkin-anything felt pretty meaningless (to say the least) and I sat frozen in horror as I watched images streaming-in of snipers in full camo gear with assault rifles and snarling dogs descending on unarmed men, women, elders, and children near the town of Rexton, New Brunswick.
These images broke my heart because I had visited the site of the protest the week before and was awed by the courageous people I met there. That day, as I listened to a sacred Mi'kmaq song sung to the steady beat of drums, I looked around me and saw people of all backgrounds, uniting together in a common goal: to protect the land, their home. It takes guts to put your body on the line and block a powerful gas company from fracking in your community.
Since my visit to the shale gas blockade in Rexton, I have been trying to learn more about fracking and its consequences. So last night I watched this David Suzuki documentary (only viewable in Canada) which clearly explains what's at stake. One of my readers has also brought to my attention a documentary called Split Estate which can be viewed free online from anywhere. And then, there is the Oscar-nominated film Gasland which is a must-see. Watch it for free here.
I initially felt that I couldn't write about this here since this is a food blog where I share recipes. But then I read this excellent article by Elizabeth Royte explaining how farmers across the United States are seeing the effects of shale gas developments on their land and livestock, and I realized that fracking and food actually have a lot more to do with each other than one might think. From dying cattle, to sick animals, to contaminated groundwater, our food chain is being placed at risk by the hundreds of highly toxic chemicals (including known carcinogens) used in shale gas fracking. This means that food lovers everywhere need to get involved in this battle too. Because food comes from the earth. And if we want good clean food, we need to protect our water, our soil, and our air from toxic pollution. The short-term financial gain is simply not worth the long-term dangers.
So if you see some of the news coverage of the New Brunswick blockade and the arrests of the protestors, keep in mind that even though the media is trying to portray them as criminals, the real crimes in this world are those that leave a toxic legacy for generations to come. The real criminals are companies that will stop at nothing to make a profit, not even placing a lifelong gag order on children whose health has been compromised by their practices.
Here are a few ideas for ways to get involved:
-Organize a screening with family and friends of the Oscar-nominated film Gasland
-Email or contact your elected officials to tell them you are opposed to shale gas fracking
-Email the premier of New Brunswick, David Alward, and tell him to ban shale gas fracking and respect the Treaty rights of Mi'kmaq people: email@example.com
-Email or call SWN, the company that is trying to frack on Mi'kmaq land: firstname.lastname@example.org / 281.618.7753
-Get involved in the Global Frackdown
-And just get involved in whatever little (or big) way you can
Thank you for listening my dear friends and I promise I'll have a recipe for you next post :-)