May 18, 2016
By Kelsey Ray
Hundreds of activists and families from across Colorado gathered in Thornton Saturday to protest hydraulic fracturing near schools and neighborhoods.
Braving gray skies and frigid temperatures, demonstrators used songs, chants and signs to urge Colorado to “keep it in the ground,” the rallying cry of groups across the world who demand an end to fossil fuel extraction.
Bill McKibben, renowned author and founder of climate action group350.org, gave words of encouragement to a small crowd of attendees in the early morning. Throughout the day, participants danced, played music — stationary bikes provided power to the PA system — and eventually spelled out “Break Free CO” in yellow umbrellas painted to look like suns.
The event was part of a global month of action to “break free” from fossil fuels. Encouraged by an alliance of environmental groups led by 350.org, thousands of protesters worldwide have targeted coal mines, power plants and rail lines in recent weeks in what has been called the ‘largest ever global civil disobedience’ against carbon-based energy sources.
In Colorado, the demonstrators added a state-specific demand to their global message: the rights of communities to regulate oil and gas drilling.