El Rancho High School

Freshman fights fracking one march at a time

History was broken with the help of El Rancho High School freshman Anthony Silva. Silva, along with eight thousand other Californians, held the largest anti-fracking march the United States had ever seen on Feb. 7. The march was a mile and a half stretch in Oakland, California.

Silva led the event with his grandmother, Annabelle Marquez, along with the activist group known as the Center on Race, Poverty, and the Environment. The intention of the march was to promote an ending to fracking within the state of California due to the massive amount of air and water pollution that the process produces.

Fracking is the slang term for hydraulic fracturing, which consists of injecting chemicals into the earth at a high pressure with the intention of cracking rocks and releasing natural gas and oil. These resources are then encapsulated and sold throughout the nation primarily as a different type of fuel source.

“The march was good because it allowed [Californians] to prepare and take steps further about pollution [control],” Silva said.

The demonstration involved speakers who lived in cities, which are heavily influenced every day by the negative effects of fracking. Marquez spoke on behalf of the city of Shafter. Shafter not only has to deal with the pollution of fracking, but also feels the negative impact of factory farms and toxic waste dumps near the area.

“My favorite part was seeing the news reporters and stopping near the Governor’s house and hearing the crowd sing louder in front of his house,” Silva said.

This is not the first time California governor Jerry Brown has heard complaints against fracking. In March 2014, Silva and Marquez were involved in another anti-fracking rally in Sacramento.

“We got to talk to the governor’s assistant about why fracking is bad and how it hurts the environment,” Silva said.

This rally along with Silva’s discussion led to a bill being passed by California’s first committee in the following month of April. The bill states that fracking would temporarily be banned within California until more research was conducted about the potential environmental problems which could arise from fracking.

Most people who would lead a history-breaking march would have some type of fear within them. However, Silva said “[he] was not scared at all.” The influence of the Center on Race, Poverty and the Environment along with Marquez prepared Silva exceptionally well, especially for such a large task.

Most of Silva’s interests within the anti-fracking campaign stem from his love of biology.

“Biology is my favorite class because it teaches me how to prepare for the future,” Silva said.

This love of biology is a large force to his commitment toward bringing fracking to an end; however, his grandmother is the final piece to developing his mature stance against the fracking process.

“My grandmother teaches me how to take life seriously,” Silva said. “I have been able to use that in school and in the marches.”

Silva plans to take what he has learned about the environment through the rallies in Sacramento and Oakland and apply them in his future career choice.

“I want to be an environmental engineer and help stop fracking,” Silva said.

Silva’s participation in these peaceful demonstrations has also created an idea of the type of legacy he would like people to remember him by. Leading a march consisting of eight thousand people and breaking history seems like a pretty good start for Silva.