I Don't Even Need a Scarf to Type This Out

A Personal Review of Pages 240-241 in Christian Parenti's Tropic of Chaos on February 1st, 2012, high of 62 degrees, Philadelphia, PA.

Don't Phrack with Philly!

welcome to fracksylvania: by Eian Weissman

Hydraulic fracturing (often called fracking) is a form of drilling for natural gas that releases dangerous chemicals and radioactive toxic waste. Gas companies throughout Pennsylvania have been dumping this waste into our rivers and streams – our drinking water! There is currently a loophole that allows gas companies to drill without obeying the Clean Water Act, and they are not required to research the effects of their drilling or clean up the waste they cause.

The Delaware River Basin Commission is currently considering a draft that will allow for more unregulated fracking in the Marcellus Shale—a gas-rich rock formation which is also known to contain radioactive substances. These plans don’t address health and safety regulations to keep radioactive, carcinogenic chemicals out of the water that Philadelphia, New York, and all cities and towns downstream rely on for clean drinking water. Reports are already coming in from across Pennsylvania of wells being poisoned by toxic chemicals as a result of fracking. On March 8th, hundreds of people gave testimony before Philadelphia’s City Council in opposition to this draft – several were mothers who worried for their children’s health, some were scientists who argued for the need for safety measures and regulation prior to considering future drilling.

Battle in Cancun: The Fight for Climate Justice in the Streets, Encampments and Halls of Power



Photo by Andalusia Knoll

Photo by Andalusia Knoll

For the past two weeks in Cancun, Mexico parallel conferences on climate change have taken place. One gathered behind closed doors and police barricades in a luxury beach side resort. The others met in downtown Cancun bringing together members of civil society, indigenous communities, environmental groups and campesinos from all over the world in encampments of shared food, housing and informational forums.

Camping, as in the kind with tents

For the past two weeks I've been helping organize a volunteer camp in small town Chile. It's simply called the Trabajo Voluntario (Volunteer Work) or TraVol, and was co-organized by the Free University of Santiago. If you read Spanish, there's more info at:

The camp is taking place in Polpaico, a a small, relatively poor town in the northern part of the Santiago Metropolitan Region (there are 13 regions in Chile, kind of like states but less autonomous from the federal government). It's not really a city, but it's also not isolated, as hundreds of vehicles pass everyday.

BP Oil Spill To Destroy Life on Earth As We Know It

Now it’s official: according to the U.S. Geological Survey, the ongoing oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico is the worst in American history.   

Since April 20th, when the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded, killing eleven workers, thousands of barrels of oil have been continuously spewing into the Gulf waters. The exact numbers have been in dispute since the incident occurred, but it now seems clear that British Petroleum has been grossly underestimating the extent of the spill. In the past six weeks, its two attempts to cap the leaking well have failed. In the meantime, the company has been pouring tens of thousands of gallons of Corexit, a toxic chemical dispersant banned in the UK, into the Gulf to break up the visible patches of oil. Workers spraying the chemical have reported nausea and vomiting, but BP has chalked up their complaints to “food poisoning” and even prohibited them from wearing masks.

Organizing where we are:

Environmentalism in an era of green capitalism

By Kate Zaidan

This December, fifteen years after the signing of the Kyoto Protocol, world leaders will converge in Copenhagen to renegotiate a global solution to the most pressing environmental issue of our time. Barack Obama will undoubtedly tout his efforts to bring the United States on board after decades of climate change denial and congressional cowardice, and most of the world, including mainstream environmental organizations, will likely fawn over his rhetorical and ideological prowess.

In Defense of the Land:

The Mill Creek Farm and Brown Street Community Garden

By Jade Walker, co-director The Mill Creek Farm, with Suzy Subways

The [Brown Street Community Garden] has been around for 30 years (I remember when the houses caved in on that site and it was just an eyesore for many years) and it now brings much enjoyment to the community. My mother (now deceased), a country girl, had a space in the garden and planted much of the vegetables that eventually found their way to our dinner table. It brought such contentment to many of our senior citizens and lightened their food budgets. Now I am a senior citizen trying to raise my grandson who just turned 13 (my daughter is deceased) and trying to find everything imaginable to keep him occupied and out of trouble.... He spends as much time as possible with the [Mill Creek Farm] staff and he is learning about farming/gardening and he also helps set up the stand to sell the fruits of their labor.”

Engrid R. Bullock, neighbor

URGENT: Support the Mill Creek Farm

Dear Friends of Mill Creek Farm,


We are writing to ask for your help ensure that we can continue our work. We are trying to get the land that the Mill Creek Farm maintains along with the adjacent community garden, which has been around for over 30 years, put in a land trust with the Neighborhood Gardens Association (NGA) to protect it from future development. In order to do that, we need the support of Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell to get the title transferred from the City of Philadelphia, which currently owns the property, to the NGA.

Please take a minute to send a message to Councilwoman Blackwell

To submit your comments online, use this form:

If you prefer to type or handwrite a letter, we will gladly mail it for you. Please drop it off at the farm or contact us to pick it up.


Below is some sample text, but your message is stronger if you personalize it so please edit this and include your personal comments about the food, experience volunteering or visiting, or any other connection  you have to the farm. If you send your comments by email and could send us a copy, we'd appreciate it:


Please be sure to include your name and address or other contact information and mention if you are a constituent.


Dear Councilwoman Blackwell,

I am writing to express my support of the Mill Creek Farm in West Philadelphia. The project is an important resource for healthy food as well and education in the community. I understand that there is an effort under way to preserve the land that the Mill Creek Farm maintains as well as the adjacent community garden as open space for food production through the Neighborhood Gardens Association. I hope that you will help support their important work by supporting the transfer of the title from the City to the land trust.

Thank you for your consideration.


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