Mark Ruffalo is an American actor, director, producer, humanitarian and activist, who cares about the environment, so much so that he was unafraid to go head-to-head with one of the world’s most devious corporations. The actor confronted Monsanto CEO, Hugh Grant, backstage at a CBS news station, where he told him he was “dead wrong” for monopolizing the world’s food system, killing small farms, poisoning people and killing honeybees.
Not only is Ruffalo outspoken about the dangers of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), but he’s also a fierce critic of fracking. Hydraulic fracturing (fracking) involves a process in which oil and gas companies drill horizontally into the ground, before injecting a toxic mixture of chemicals at high pressure that cracks open solid rock, releasing precious reserves of natural oil and gas.
Though lucrative, fracking is not without consequences. The technique seriously pollutes the air, water and soil, often creating thick smog in rural areas, resembling that of dense city centers. It’s also toxic to people’s health, causing cancer and birth defects among those living near drilling sites.
‘It’s a legacy mistake’
Ruffalo knows this all too well, which is why he founded Water Defense, a non-profit dedicated to informing the public about harmful contaminants in the water. Waterdefense.org has covered everything from the Flint water crisis, to the Environmental Protection Agency’s disastrous chemical spill, which left the Animas River largely polluted and unusable for thousands of people.
Now, Ruffalo has set his sights outside of the U.S., calling on lawmakers in the United Kingdom to abandon fracking, a process that the actor argues cannot be done safely. In an interview with Friends of the Earth, a national environmental advocacy group, Ruffalo encouraged U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron to scrap fracking in exchange for “renewable energy.”
“Mr. Cameron, you’re making an enormous mistake, it’s a legacy mistake, because there is no fracking that can be done safely,” said Ruffalo. “Today, we are at the precipice of a renewable energy revolution.”
Sustainable energy is the “new economy,” said the actor, adding that it will bring new jobs and new wealth. “We had 200 countries from around the world all agree that it it’s time to leave fossil fuels in the ground.”
‘The people don’t want it’
“And not only that, but your people don’t want it,” Ruffalo reminded Cameron. “You have already told them once before that if they didn’t want it, you wouldn’t push them to take it. And you’re turning back on your word, sir,” he said.
“What is a politician if he’s not credible? So, I would say to you, this is a wonderful opportunity for you to honor your people, to honor their will, but also to take them into the renewable energy future of the world, and to be a real and true, honest world leader, and leave the fossil fuels in the ground,” Ruffalo urged.
He added that, “We’re being told by every single scientist in the world that we must leave 70 percent of this in the ground if we have a chance at all, and to join us and the rest of the world in making this monumental transition to a cleaner, safer, more just world.”
Crops and fracking
Last summer, it was revealed that oil and gas companies are earning a profit from selling recycled fracking water to farmers to use for crop irrigation. An estimated 45,000 acres of California crops are currently being watered with fracking wastewater, a practice so routine that it’s become a side business for the oil and gas industry.
Despite being “recycled,” the water is far from clean. In some samples, scientists detected levels of petrochemicals higher than those found at oil spill sites. Ruffalo’s Water Defense has been testing irrigation water provided by Chevron to water districts in Calif. for over two years now, and the results are worrisome.
Being the passionate environmental activist that he is, Ruffalo refuses to turn away from this problem, and as illustrated above, remains dedicated to the cause.