Mark Ruffalo: Why I Fight Against Fracking

Oscar-nominated actor Mark Ruffalo explains why he is fighting to protect his home in New York’s Catskill Mountains from fracking.

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[This week, in honor of the launch of Earthjustice’s campaign Fracking Gone Wrong: Finding a Better Way, we’ve invited some of the movement’s most prominent advocates to guest blog.

Our first guest blogger is Mark Ruffalo, an Oscar-nominated actor who is fighting to protect water. He lives in New York’s Catskill Mountains—directly in the path of a gas drilling rush sweeping the Northeast. In February, he traveled to Washington, D.C. to educate members of Congress on the dangers of the gas drilling technique known as fracking.]

Congratulations on your Academy Award nomination. What’s the story behind the blue pin you wore at the awards?
Mark Ruffalo: The blue pin I was wearing was for Water Defense. It is an organization that I am involved with that aims to celebrate the sanctity of our water and at the same time to educate people on where it is under attack by energy extraction and industrialization. As our energy extraction methods are becoming more desperate, clean water will be sacrificed more and more.

You’ve helped make fracktivism sexy. Why’d you join the fight?
Mark: I was moved to step into the fight against hydraulic fracturing when I went to Dimock, PA and saw how their wells had been destroyed. I saw how crass and arrogant the companies who destroyed them acted toward their victims—refusing to take responsibility for the wrongs they had done. I saw that the local and state and federal government agencies that have been put in place to keep these kinds of things from happening were either apathetic or corrupt. I felt it was the right thing to stand up and say ‘No.’ I had seen something so clearly wrong and knew I would be less of a man if I didn’t fight for what I know is right.

Oscar-nominated actor, Mark Ruffalo.

How many glasses of water do you drink a day?
Mark: Many. I don’t really drink much else other than water. Except for a beer or two or something a little stiffer at the end of a day.

How about your favorite form of water-based recreation?
Mark: My favorite water based recreation is a tie between my new found love of fly fishing. Or my old love of surfing.

Advice for the aspiring fracktivist?
Mark: We haven’t been carried this far to be dropped. If you are losing hope then you are not doing enough. There are very few things in life that you get to be part of that are bigger than you. Fighting for the health of our air and water, fighting against those who would gladly pollute our natural resources simply to make a buck is worth a great deal. You can measure your decency as a human being today by not being complicit in the destruction of our fellow human beings and their health.

Well put. (More tips can be found here.) Favorite movie of all-time?
Mark: My favorite movie of all time is On The Waterfront, starring Marlon Brando

Good choice. You’ve been compared to a young Brando. In the spirit of melding art and advocacy, will you compose a haiku on why people should join the fight against fracking?

Walk into the day
Make it known that you are here
Stand for your water!

Come out and speak up
Water is under attack
The fish and frogs watch

There is no waiting
He who hesitates is lost
The stream is dying

That’s three haikus—very generous! Thanks so much for your time and for your work on this issue! And readers, don’t forget to check out our campaign page!

Water Defense


Oscar-nominated actor, leader and activist who fights against fracking and for protecting clean water.

Earthjustice’s Washington, D.C., office works at the federal level to prevent air and water pollution, combat climate change, and protect natural areas. We also work with communities in the Mid-Atlantic region and elsewhere to address severe local environmental health problems, including exposures to dangerous air contaminants in toxic hot spots, sewage backups and overflows, chemical disasters, and contamination of drinking water. The D.C. office has been in operation since 1978.