OUR ORIGINS

In August 2011, after learning about the extraction of natural gas by hydraulic fracturing (fracking) in our neighboring state, Pennsylvania, and taking seriously the responsibilities we set for ourselves as a Franciscan parish to protect the environment, St. Mary's Social Justice Ministry formed Franciscan Response to Fracking.

 

One of our first events was a showing of Josh Fox’s award-winning film, GASLAND, in our parish center in September of that year to almost 200 guests. We were delighted when Mr. Fox accepted our invitation and joined us for the screening, and afterward, explained a little about how and why the film was made. He also answered many questions from the audience about the risks of shale gas extraction through fracking. To wrap up the evening, Fox, a gifted musician, entertained us by playing the banjo, which he also had done in the film. NJ Assemblywoman Connie Wagner, who had sponsored an anti-fracking bill in the state Assembly, also addressed this well-attended event, which was open to the public.

 

For the next five years, Franciscan Response to Fracking has linked with many other groups to prevent fracking, fracking pipelines and fracked waste from entering NJ. We showed the movies, GASLAND 2 by Josh Fox and CHASING ICE, a National Geographic documentary about climate change, in our continued efforts to educate about fracking and within the context of the larger issue of climate change. We lobbied, petitioned, made legislative visits, wrote letters to the editors and attended rallies.

 

In 2014, the Social Justice ministry formed a related group called Advocates for Justice, with the mission to educate ourselves and other and take action! about: 1) The environmental dangers of climate change; 2) The need for more renewable energy; 3) GMOs (genetically modified organisms) and the consequent loss of biodiversity; and other ecological issues. 

 

In December 2014 several of our group collaborated on a short, 1 1/2 minute video called "Friars Against Fracking" which is found on our fracking page.

 

We believe that caring for creation is the responsibility of all humankind and that such caring includes not only to till, but also to keep the earth. We agree with Pope Francis who said, “…we don't have a very good relationship with creation these days.” We know that damage to Mother Earth hurts all life, and that the poor always suffer disproportionately.

 

EarthActions.org was launched in September 2015.  This site concentrates on the three issues of Climate Change, GMOs and Fracking.  It is one step in manifesting our mission to educate ourselves and others and then to take actions to achieve the world we envision –  sustainability and justice for the earth and its inhabitants.