Written by Ben Knowles, Ithaca College ’14, Divest Ithaca College and Frack Off student organizer; Re-posted from The Green Umbrella: NY Youth for a Just and Sustainable Future

Earlier this week, I joined elected officials, grandmothers, community organizers, middle schoolers, scientists, fellow students and more to ‘visualize resistance’ and kick off a week of actions across the state. This resistance, that over 6,500 people have committed to, will come in the form of acts of protest and other nonviolent direct action if Governor Cuomo decides to bring hydraulic fracturing to the state of New York.

I spoke at the ‘visualize resistance’ rally on The Ithaca Pledge to ResistCommons of beautiful Ithaca to tie the Divest IC campaign and the larger divestment movement to fracking. Turns out it wasn’t so hard. New York State is now my home, and for the past two and a half years, I’ve committed to doing everything I can to keep my home safe from fracking. We’ve seen what it’s done to my home state of Pennsylvania, and it clearly is not the way to go. Governor Corbett has given in to the natural gas industry and that relationship has split communities, poisoned families and dismantled local economies.

The divestment fight that students are waging is the same fight that citizens of New York have taken on against the gas industry. It is people power against big money. In just one month, New Yorkers submitted over 204,000 comments on proposed fracking regulations to the DEC: the people have spoken. But words apparently aren’t enough, and that’s why we’ve taken this pledge.

If Governor Cuomo moves forward with natural gas production in New York, he will face resistance. As students, divestment is one of our strongest tools. The industry’s strength is the depth of their wallet, so we need to go after it. It won’t be easy, but seeing things like I saw today on The Commons is what gives me hope.

New Yorkers pledge to resist fracking and students across the country are pledging to divest from the fossil fuel industry, including natural gas. Support Ithaca College’s campaign by signing our petition.

Like I’ve heard so much over the last two and a half years, “Ain’t no power like the power of the people, and the power of the people won’t stop!” Andrew Cuomo and the natural gas industry will face a storm of people power if they make the wrong decision. Resist!