Mark Ruffalo visits Dickinson

image imageMark Ruffalo, an actor and environmental activist, met with the Alliance for Aquatic Resource Monitoring) ALLARM on October 5th to discuss current water related issues. His non-profit organization, Water Defense, is utilizing new water quality testing methods to get a larger scope of water contamination. His passion for the environment is palpable as he speaks about hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. Mark Ruffalo is dedicated to the cause being fracking was occurring near his home in New York, contaminating the community’s water wells and impacting their health. Fracking is a destructive method to collect shale gas, and results in extreme water contamination. Each well injects about five million gallons of water, sand, and chemicals deep into the ground. Wastewater from this process can pollute nearby streams, lakes, rivers, and ultimately our drinking water.

The mission of Water Defense relates with ALLARM’s goals, as both organization are ultimately trying to gather citizen science data to create a database that the public has access to. Current data collected by the government is often difficult to access, creating a gap of knowledge between the public and the safety of their drinking water. This relates to my experience at ALLARM because I was able to attend a community meeting in Bradford County, Pennsylvania where fracking is occurring. The community members were involved in collected water quality data and wanted to know if their local streams were contaminated. These individuals volunteer their time on a weekly basis because they want to know that their water is safe.

Mark Ruffalo will also be attending my English and Aquatic Analysis classes this week to speak with us about his organization. My academic work in Aquatics relates directly with Water Defense because we have created infographics, a visual explanation of current water-related issues. My project focused on Acid Mine Drainage, an issue that Water Defense works closely with. After the recent contamination of the Animas River, we decided to cover this topic to teach the public about the scope of the issue. We will be presenting this infographic to Ruffalo and the chief scientist of Water Defense, Sam Smith.

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