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Grant from the Union of Concerned Scientists

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Last winter I partnered with FaCT Ohio as my fiscal sponsor, and received a grant from the Union of Concerned Scientists. The grant was part of a program called Science for the Public Good. This program is for “members of the Science Network, to provide up to $1500 of financial support for efforts to advance equitable science-based policy with an emphasis on local impacts.” Projects that support grassroots groups and environmental justice projects are prioritized.

My proposal was to reach out to rural communities on the effects of fracking to forested ecosystems and health. The grant would cover travel expenses and copying fees for documents. Through this grant, I would provide science-based educational materials and presentations to rural communities that are being impacted by fracking. The presentations would target areas in Southeast Ohio where Marcellus and Utica shale deposits are present.

Many Ohio citizens are unaware of the externalities of fracking, especially the destructive results of infrastructure development (pipelines, well pads, compressor stations, Class II Injection Wells, and forest fragmentation). Additionally, many politicians see the region’s ethane gas as a way to push the region into becoming the new petrochemical hub of the USA. This would entail the construction of more plastics plants similar to the Pennsylvania Shell Cracker in Monaca. Scientific studies have demonstrated that we cannot and should not be making more single-use plastics.

My goal is to educate people in the region so they might get engaged and push back, demanding clean, sustainable projects for their region - projects that would not destroy their health and the environment. I am hoping that citizens and students will become informed enough to write op-eds and letters to the editor with the information they gather from the events.

As I started reaching out to find suitable venues and topics, I found that I needed to cover more than just fracking. The topics that I discussed from February through June included: Plastics and Health, Renewable Energy, Blue Hydrogen, Climate Change, and Carbon Capture Technology.

The first presentation took place on February 24th when my husband and I tabled at the New Philadelphia Library, in New Philadelphia, Ohio. Our information focused on plastics and the health effects of toxic compounds used to produce single-use plastics. During the day, I offered a PowerPoint presentation titled Renewable Energy: Solar Energy and Geothermal. This public event was part of the library’s Sustainable Living Faire and was attended by over 100 people. About 25 people attend my energy presentation and I was able to share handouts about plastics and solar energy.

The next event was a set of slide presentations to students in the chemistry and biology classes at Garaway High School in Tuscarawas County on March 28th. I talked to Ms. Bardun’s Chemistry classes and Mrs. Zimmerman’s biology classes about Plastics and Microplastics in Our Bodies and the Environment. I provided handouts about the facts of plastics that each student received. Over 150 students were provided time to ask questions, and the teachers completed follow-up activities with their students.

On Earth Day, April 22, I visited Tuscarawas Central Catholic High School and talked to about 100 students from Mrs. Mary Beth McClain’s science classes. I used my PowerPoint about plastics, microplastics and health effects as well as my plastic facts handouts for these students. It was Earth Day and the students presented me with an Earth Day t-shirt from their environmental club.

On May 17th, I visited about 150 students from Mrs. Kelsey Bullock’s biology classes at Morgan County High School for a discussion of climate change. This was not a formal presentation, instead the students and I discussed questions about climate change that they had written prior to my arrival. Mrs. Bullock shared with me that after my discussion, two of her students expressed an interest in pursuing environmental science in college. She also asked if I could return next year to do this activity.

On May 24-26, I attended the Heartwood Forest Conference in Meigs County, Ohio at the United Plant Savers site. I offered three PowerPoint presentations: Solutions to Plastic Pollution, Blue Hydrogen, and Carbon Capture and Sequestration: False Solutions for the Climate Crisis.

On June 2nd, I talked about the false promises of carbon capture at the Green Sanctuary Committee at the First Unitarian Universalist Church in Marietta, Ohio.

I wrapped up the last of my seven presentations on June 17th, with “The Climate Crisis: Seeking Real Solutions” at Athens County Public Library. This presentation was very well attended with over thirty citizens present. The discussion revolved around “schemes” by the fossil fuel industry to delay transition to green energy. I had several different handouts about blue hydrogen, the ARCH2 Hydrogen Hub, and Carbon Capture Technology. We also discussed methods that would work to address climate change.

I made several good contacts and I believe I helped educate many people and students about the real science behind some of these issues. All my presentations took place in Appalachian counties of Ohio. The people living in these areas are the most impacted by extractive industries. Studies show the economies of these areas have not benefited economically by fracking and have instead remained stagnant overall. The landscape of the area has been and continues to be negatively affected by fracking and the required infrastructure.

All the materials I created and used during these grant supported events have been made available to the attendees and they will also be available on request to other interested people. All PowerPoints have been supplied with references to peer reviewed articles and information to help further educate those who wish to use them in their communities.

Overall, I feel the project was a success. I especially enjoyed talking to the students. It is their future we are trying to protect.


A non-profit dedicated to highlighting the impact of climate change and other environmental issues in the Ohio region and beyond.

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