Why I Will Risk Arrest on My Birthday

By GPNY Co-Chair Gloria Mattera

On April 23rd I will turn 61. But that is not the big news. The news of the day is that I will be one of scores of New Yorkers who will come together in Albany from all over the state to demand that Governor Cuomo Walk the Talk and end all fossil fuel infrastructure projects.

I always loved having a birthday around Earth Day because I have been an environmental and social justice activist. But there has not been much to celebrate when it comes to the state of our planet and the danger to all the species who live on it. Nationally, this country is slipping back from even the minimal commitments made by previous administrations. In New York, where the Governor likes to proclaim himself a leader on addressing climate change. we lag far behind other states in real action to reduce carbon emissions. All talk and very little meaningful action.

The stakes are high and so we must act accordingly. As a leader in the Green Party, I have been involved in the planning and the actions that led to rallying, marching, lobbying and fielding candidates who promote real solutions to this crisis. A ban on fracking is not enough if the Governor continues to foster the construction of new fracked-gas infrastructure and turns New York into a pipeline for fracked gas

It is time for a Green New Deal that will create jobs and protect the climate. We need a bold path to energy democracy - where we the people own and decide how energy is generated and delivered. A commitment to a just transition to 100% clean, renewable energy by 2030 is possible right now if we take power from the two corporate political and the elites that put them in office.

I am honored to risk arrest with my fellow Green Party comrades, Howie Hawkins and Mark Dunlea along with the many other climate activists participating in nonviolent civil disobedience today.

I put my body on the line because the residents of Sheridan Hollow are being threatened with fracked gas turbines in their low-income neighborhood.

I put my body on the line on this day because every day my black and brown brothers and sisters and those in lower income communities, are in harm's way every day because of toxic fossil fuel infrastructure in their neighborhoods.

I put my body on the line on this day because my son and every child now and in the future should not come of age on an apocalyptic planet.

My birthday wish is that, 12 years from now in 2030, we all can celebrate a just transition to 100% clean, renewable energy. My birthday promise is that I will fight each day to make sure that happens.