By Jayla Burton, Program Officer
Whose water? Our water!
Whose land? Our land!
Whose health? Our health!
The chants rang out on the street in front of the California State Capitol Building in Sacramento on a bright February morning last week. Our allies were loud and enthusiastic – and we were happy to be there. The entire Breast Cancer Action team joined our partners in the Last Chance Alliance to send the Governor a strong message during his annual State of the State address.
The message? The Last Chance Alliance, a coalition of health, environmental, and social justice organizations, has been urging Governor Gavin Newsom to address the three Last Chance Alliance demands during the State of the State: stop new fossil fuel projects, drop existing oil production, and roll out setback limits.
California is astoundingly beautiful, but it is also the third largest oil-producing state in the country. Oil production, including fracking and dangerous drilling, is not only hard on the environment; the many toxic chemicals spewed out in the process are a threat to human health, and many have been linked to breast cancer. Breast Cancer Action has consistently made the connection between the environmental crisis, the climate crisis, and the cancer crisis, so we were proud to join other activists who gathered on the Governor’s doorstep.
We carried huge, colorful signs and banners, and young people with megaphones called out chants as a larger-than- life Governor Newsom puppet loomed over the crowd. It was inspiring to be in the presence of fellow activists — young and old and representing diverse communities from across the state — who see the importance of a fossil-free California. It was also a reminder that fossil fuels threaten our homes, our communities, our environment, and our health. Fossil fuels may be fueling the climate and breast cancer crisis, but they are also lighting a fire in us to stand up against regulators that don’t protect us and industries that don’t care about our health.