Some of you may recall my very first public speaking engagement in the Watkins Glen High School Auditorium back in April 2011.
My mouth was dry, my heart was pounding, and my voice was shaky -but my passion for our home was strong- as I stepped onto the stage in front of a nearly full auditorium. Most of all, I knew then that our region was worth protecting then- and it still is now. That’s what gave me the courage to get up on that stage, and what keeps all of us at SLG fighting to protect and preserve our home from predatory corporations trying to exploit our natural resources each and every day.
The message from us that night in 2011 is as urgent then as it is now. We’ve got so much worth fighting for- clean air, clean water, a thriving sustainable economy. Who among us has had their breath taken away by a gorgeous Finger Lakes sky, felt the exhilarating cool lake water on our skin, walked among majestic waterfalls, sampled our award winning wines, or been touched by the graciousness of our neighbors and felt incredibly blessed to be in this part of the world? I think we can all relate to that, and agree that we can’t take these things for granted. We must work together to preserve our clean air and water for generations to come.
Onstage back in 2011, I talked about being a teacher, and reading “Horton Hears a Who” by Dr. Seuss, to my students. I drew parallels between the story and the assault on our region by a multi-billion dollar gas and oil company. In the story, the large jungle animals cannot hear the voices coming from a tiny dust speck, and they are growing annoyed with Horton the elephant- the only one who can hear the pleas- the only one who is defending the “Who’s”- the tiny beings whose entire universe exists on that speck of dust. They are about to boil the speck in a pot of beezlenut oil… unless the Who’s can make themselves heard. The mayor of Whoville rushes through the town, searching for anyone who is not doing their share, not helping to make noise, and finally finds one shirker. He grabbed the fellow, and he climbed with the lad up the Eiffelberg Tower. “This”, cried the mayor, “is your town’s darkest hour! The time for all Who’s who have blood that is red- to come to the aid of their country”, he said.”We’ve got to make noise in greater amounts! So open your mouth lad, for every voice counts!”
Together, in a true David versus Goliath 8 year battle, we prevailed against that corporation. We went on to beat a proposed garbage burning facility, and now, the Greenidge facility on the shores of Seneca Lake wants to emit over a million tons of CO2 equivalents and harmful particulate matter into our atmosphere, draw millions of gallons of water from our lake daily and return it, hot, into the lake. They want to do this to make a few very rich people richer to mine Bitcoin- a volatile virtual currency favored by criminals and autocrats, threatening our $3 Billion tourism industry that supports 60,000 jobs. This runs counter to everything about our way of life, all for 48 jobs - not all local- the equivalent of your average McDonald’s franchise. We can’t let this happen. Their Title V Air Permit Renewal expired last Fall, and it’s up to Governor Hochul to decide whether or not to renew it. She has kicked the can down the road not once, but twice, all while accepting campaign donations from crypto billionaires. A decision, or another delay, is expected on June 30th. She MUST stand by New Yorkers, and deny this permit.
This is your call to action. Adding YOUR voice is the only way. Each one of you needs to make noise, if we are to preserve this region, and prevent it from succumbing to the Greenidge facility that harms our clean air, water, and thriving agri-tourism economy. If we are to protect this region for our children, and our grandchildren, we have to speak up NOW. Don’t be a shirker. Please join us on Monday, June 27th at 11:30 am in front of the Finger Lakes Welcome Center, 35 Lake Front Drive, Geneva, NY.
We’ve banded together over the years to fight off predatory corporations who’ve tried to exploit our natural resources, and we’ve won. We must do it again on Monday. For more information, please see this link to our Facebook Events Page: https://fb.me/e/1BaN2mAsS
Please help us continue our work by making a donation of any amount.
See you Monday.