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FrackSwarm: Harnessing the Power of the Anti-Fracking Movement into a Valuable Web Resource
- September 25 - The Center for Media and Democracy along with the Earth Island Institute's CoalSwarm project are excited to announce the launch of FrackSwarm, an open source, wiki-based platform that covers fracking related topics and issues.
Thanks in large part to the literally hundreds of groups sprouting up to challenge the boom, fracking has become a household word almost overnight. This new movement is one of the most powerful groundswells of anger and activism in recent memory. FrackSwarm, a free information clearinghouse on all things related to the practice of fracking, is here to help inform the movement.
FrackSwarm already includes nearly 200 articles on topics such as company profiles, state pages, scientific studies, government policies, lobbyists and more. The resource's open source wiki platform is constantly growing and expanding in content. As such, FrackSwarm is becoming an invaluable tool for those on the front lines in the battle to fight fracking and its perpetrators.
To many observers, today's anti-fracking movement is at the same place where the anti-coal movement was at some 5-7 years ago with a boatload of anger and opposition but no highly developed movement to propel it forward into action. In 2008 CoalSwarm (FrackSwarm's predecessor) was formed to help weave these desperate energies into a powerful movement that brought powerful King Coal to its knees -- with over 170 plants cancelled and many more shut down for good. FrackSwarm aims to build the fracking movement in a similar way. Currently CoalSwarms has over 6,500 pages.
Both CoalSwarm and FrackSwarm's pages are housed on SourceWatch, a 60,000-article open-source encyclopedia sponsored by the Center for Media and Democracy. CoalSwarm has been widely praised by activists, it is frequently utilized by students, journalists and lawmakers.
FrackSwarm's decentralized platform allows activists and others to update its content, while editors work to ensure the material is up to date, accurate and adequately sourced. Its unique in that FrackSwarm leverages the power of the grassroots: anyone can add information, all information is footnoted, the entire resource is linked smoothly from local to international content and it builds collaborative spaces among groups working on various issues related to fracking.
FrackSwarm is already garnering accolades from those within the anti-fracking movement. Here's a sampling:
“Communities and activists should make use of FrackSwarm. Information about fracking is consciously used by industry to divide those trying to hold oil and gas companies accountable. FrackSwarm is a valuable information tool, but it's also a potential uniting force to make for more powerful advocacy coalitions.”
- Alan Septoff, Earthworks
“FrackSwarm provides a much needed service in our efforts to eliminate fracked oil and gas from our energy mix. Reports and studies are now appearing rapidly. For those new to the subject of hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas as well as for those who have been involved for much longer, consolidated sources of information will improve both our efficiency and the breadth and depth of our knowledge.”
- Kaye Fissinger, Board Member of Protect Our Colorado
As the movement against fracking grows, and as awareness of the dangers mounts, FrackSwarm will be well positioned to be the key information portal for the movement. To learn more about FrackSwarm please visit us at FrackSwarm.org.