Is Central PA Ready for a Rachel Carson Autumn?

I’ve never been to Happy Valley though I think a lot about Penn State. Since posting about fracking on state college campuses last month, I keep wondering where is The Left? Aren’t college campuses supposed to be hotbeds of liberal thinking? I know some schools are more conservative than others, but in public institutions such as state universities, shouldn’t there at least be a viable progressive contingent?

I’m happy to say, I’ve finally stumbled upon the nerve center of progressive discourse at State College, in the form of Sustainability Now Radio – a well-established website and weekly radio show, Fridays from 4 to 5 pm on 90.7fm WKPS. It’s worth a listen, and their blog is definitely worth a read. That’s where I first viewed this seriously harrowing video of a western PA mom, released by PennEnvironment in March 2010.

Texan Textbooks?

One Penn Stater who is raising the hue and cry is Peter Buckland, a Ph.D. candidate in Penn State’s Educational Theory and Policy Program who is focused on philosophy of education and education policies. His areas of interest include why and how American schools need to become more sustainable in the light of climate change and species extinction and also school and policy controversies regarding both climate change and evolution in the United States. He founded and serves as president of a student group, Environment – Ecology – Education in the College of Education (3E-COE). He also blogs extensively on these topics.

I dashed off an email to him this morning…

Dear Mr. Buckland:

I’m not a Penn State student, nor am I a resident of Central PA, but I’m fascinated by PSU’s role in the shale gas boom in our state. I live outside of Philadelphia, and have been blogging about the threat of fracking on SEPA’ s water supplies at and I recently found your blogs, and wanted to thank you for your work on critical climate issues.

My impression is that PSU has been clearing the way, via its extension programs, for drillers in PA. I tend to think of Dr. Engelder as Mack Daddy of the Marcellus. My recent post, Frack U.! Governor Corbett Supports Drilling on PA State College Campuses is one of my most visited, and it makes me wonder why college students in PA aren’t more actively protesting this highly polluting fossil fuel? Are they hoping for jobs in the industry when they graduate? Have they already been brainwashed? One can only assume, like the public schools in Pennsylvania, that their textbooks come from Texas.

I applaud your work. I think we need “Rachel Carson Spring” and a full moratorium on drilling in watershed regions. The movement in Philadelphia, led by Protecting Our Waters, FWW and Riverkeepers (who recently resigned from the Citizens Marcellus Commission) is totally accelerating. My hunch is, as this gas boom drifts east, Central Pa will be the next big battleground. We’ve never needed to highlight the importance of sustainability more. I wish you best of luck, and I’ll stay tuned!

Liz Rosenbaum,

I received a swift reply, in classic online revolution style, and the welcome news of a large protest planned for November 18 at noon on the Old Main Lawn. “Marcellus Protest 2011 ‘Power To The People, Not The Corporations’ is a grass-roots rally taking place on the same days of the shale gas industry’s “Marcellus Summit 2011” conference. Marcellus Protest is being organized, supported, and mobilized for by broad cross-section of groups concerned about the adverse impacts of shale development.”

Even former governor Ed Rendell has stated that “…the protesters grow stronger and deeper in number.” This protest also happens to be scheduled just days before the Delaware River Basin Commission is due to vote on key gas regulations. It has the potential to be the biggest rally yet. Psych!

Among the earliest groups to sign on:

Elk County C.A.R.E.S.

Marcellus Protest 

Sustainability Now Radio

Sierra Club Moshannon Group

Find out more at

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2 Responses to “Is Central PA Ready for a Rachel Carson Autumn?”

  1. Peter D. Buckland (@SustainNowRadio) Says:

    Thank you so much for the kind words. We will keep you all posted as best we can. In other exciting news, you should check out what we are doing in State College: A popular vote on a Community and Environmental Bill of Rights. Rachel Carson is in us.

  2. JN Says:

    With regard to student participation, the scheduled date for this important event is the beginning of Thanksgiving break for PSU students. Most of the students, at least those living on campus, will be gone that entire week and won’t be around to participate.

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