Of fracking and flying foxes

Get involved in local anti-fracking efforts and pay attention to effects of weather fluctuations

Fight fracking at the local level
As one of the signers of the online CREDO Mobilize Ban Fracking in Butte County petition, I received a follow-up email from local anti-fracking activist Joni Stellar advising me of upcoming activities related to getting a fracking-moratorium initiative put on November’s ballot.

“Now it is time to begin circulating official petitions, paper ones, all over Butte County,” Stellar wrote. “We need 15,000 signatures by the end of May in order to get our fracking moratorium on the ballot.”

“Big Oil has plans to massively expand fracking in a huge section of the state—roughly 1,750 square miles from Southern to Central California, from Modesto to San Diego County—putting our precious water, farms and health at risk,” the online petition says. “Already, Butte County has at least one deep-disposal well site, pumping toxins below the vital Tuscan Aquifer. … Let’s not allow Butte County to become another sad victim of this fossil-fuel rush.”

Stellar is seeking volunteers to help gather signatures, plan educational events, make phone calls and so on. A signature-gathering training session will be held Thursday, Jan. 16 (tonight), from 6:30-8:30 p.m., at the Independent Living Services of Northern California’s Jennifer Roberts Building (1161 East Ave.).

Send Stellar an email at organize@credoaction.com or log onto www.facebook.com/frackfreebuttecounty for more info and to participate. Go to www.credomobilize.com/petitions/ban-fracking-in-butte-county to see/sign petition.

Ferocious heat kills bats
In yet another example of animals being affected worldwide by climate change, tens of thousands of large bats known as flying foxes recently perished in the Australian province of Queensland during a recent brutal heat wave.

Flying foxes like this one were dropping by the tens of thousands during a recent heat wave in Australia.

“As most of the U.S. freezes and the UK drowns in floods, a blistering heat wave in Australia is so bad 100,000 cooked bats have fallen out of the sky, dead,” reported the UK’s Daily Mail on Jan. 8.

“The heat wave was basically a catastrophe for all the bat colonies in southeast Queensland,” said Michael Beatty, spokesman for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. “That’s obviously going to have a pretty disturbing impact on those colonies and those colonies are vital to our ecosystem.”

“The flying foxes are very vulnerable to heat waves,” wrote my Aunt Dee, who lives just off the coast of Queensland on Lamb Island, in an email, after I sent her a link to a Sydney Morning Herald story about the flying-fox tragedy. “Poor little things—nowhere to go when it is as rough as at present.”

Honoring Dr. King
On Sunday, Jan. 19, in honor of the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., there will be a Beloved Community Celebration and March, sponsored by the local MLK Unity Group, Trinity United Methodist Church and the Chico Peace and Justice Center. An opening ceremony will take place at 3 p.m. at Chico City Plaza, after which attendees will march to Trinity United Methodist Church (285 E. Fifth St.) for an “inspirational program” beginning at 4 p.m. Children are welcome to this free event that includes live music and a free dinner. Call 893-3530 for more info.

Listen—are you breathing just a little, and calling it a life? —Mary Oliver