The Power of Small

Two years ago, 14 people, some from our church, attended a meeting at the Canaan home of Becky Meier and Bob Connors to discuss the need to do something to prevent Kinder Morgan from expanding their Tennessee Gas pipelines, which run through our neighborhood.

On June 7, 2014, our church hosted an informational meeting about the proposed Tennessee Gas pipeline expansion that would follow the route of the existing three pipelines in Canaan and the surrounding area. Activists from No Fracked Gas in Mass and Berkshire Environmental Action Team led the session, complete with PowerPoint presentations and handouts detailing what people could do, and 130 people packed our little church.

In the months that followed, No NY Fracked Gas Pipeline, led by Becky and Bob, tirelessly pursued the cause, enlisting aid and advice from other local groups throughout New York and neighboring states. They expanded their reach through social media, meetings, and yard signs, never tiring, despite what seemed like impossible odds, visiting town boards and elected officials at every level.

On April 20, Kinder Morgan announced that it was suspending work on the pipeline because of economic reasons—although the company will likely take another tack to get the pipeline created.

On April 22, the N.Y. Department of Environmental Conservation denied a water quality certificate to the Constitution Pipeline, a 124-mile natural gas pipeline that would transport fracked gas from Susquehanna, Pennsylvania, through Broome, Chenango, Delaware, and Schoharie counties.

As the Rev. Dr. Jim Antal said when he visited our church on April 10, climate change affects every person on the planet, whether they believe it is human-made or not. Too often we feel powerless to halt it, that the little we can do to keep fossil fuels in the ground will never amount to change. That’s not true. That’s just what energy companies would like us to believe.

Every call to a senator or representative, every petition signed, every little thing we do can build to promote a healthier planet cumulatively counts. We are a small church, but we have intelligent, articulate members whose voices can be persuasive.

We are small, but we have power. Let’s use it.