Thursday, July 14

Art and Activism: Gas-lyvania!

I've been becoming very active in my small community this past spring/summer partly because I have a vested interest as citizen of Muncy as a mother, an environmentalist, an educator, and an artist & also because I truly enjoy learning about where I live & love meeting the locals!

What is at the forefront of my activist brain is the state of Central PA with the booming gas industry that is developing here. Just within the past few months I've noticed an extreme increase in heavy truck traffic (white Haliburton trucks & over sized water tank trucks) that are taking over Main Street Muncy.

I recently attended a community meeting, "Streetscapes: Downtown Muncy", encouraging citizens to take part in designing & bringing life back to Main Street. It was exciting and empowering the options we could embrace to our quaint, little town! There was great conversation, brainstorming, and interactive workshopping at this event.

Here's the downside. We can put out all the beautiful flower pots, hang new store signs, add historical lighting fixtures up and down Main Street, and get more small mom and pop shops to fill up the vacant store fronts BUT none of that will matter so long as we allow the gas companies to continue tearing up our roads. Right now gas trucks are making over 1,000 round trips through Main Street. What is this going to do to our road system here? Who is going to pay for the maintenance of the roads? Think about the effects the heavy truck traffic is already having on the buildings of Main owners say it's disgusting the dirt and grease that is covering their establishments. There is no way they can keep up with the daily cleaning of their buildings required to make for a friendly, inviting storefront. How is this going to change when the gas industry increases? Will this become a ghost town?

So, here's my plan to become an active citizen in Muncy.
1. Attend borough meetings & let them here our concerns
2. Talk to my neighbors about what we want & desire for our town
3. Get the youth interested and become activists too
4. Make art, not war

One of my aprons, Dreaming Walrus, actually has a funny underlying joke between Matt and me. When I completed this apron we giggled at the fact that the walrus looked like he just had his mug shot taken. We questioned the smug look on his face, too. What did he do to get arrested? Did he steal some fish? Or was he protesting against humans and their effect on global warming? Hmmmm....I feel like he just might be environmental activist speaking up about the state of his habitat, kind of like me. Maybe some new aprons protesting the excessive gas drilling are in order!!!

How about you? Are you concerned about an environmental issue in your neighborhood? How have you dealt with it? Are you active citizen to help bring solutions & change to your community? I'd love to hear about it!

Artist & Activist

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