When unconventional shale gas exploration began in New Brunswick, Canada, threatening the land rights of the First Nation peoples and the water, ecosystem and climate of the surrounding communities, Marilyn Lerch went into auto-pilot.
“I don’t know any better!” she laughed. “I had to get involved because, you know, I was handing out leaflets in Indianapolis in 1965 against the war in Vietnam. It’s my personal responsibility to join movements that are trying to create a more just and peaceful world for all sentient beings.”
Marilyn, along with a committed steering committee of the Tantramar Alliance Against Hydro-Fracking, mobilized in a multitude of ways to resist shale gas extraction in New Brunswick. Every weekend for three years, they handed out information leaflets about the dangers of unconventional shale gas to community members at the Sackville farmers market. Education was an important ingredient for success in the Sackville anti-fracking movement.
Raised in East Chicago, Indiana, issues of environmental pollution and racial discrimination were more than just words for Marilyn, they were the lived reality. After attending Indiana University, she decided to move to the East Coast. She taught English in the Washington, D.C. Public School system from 1967 to 1995 where she was inspired by her African-American students. Now as greenhouse gas emissions destabilize the climate, Marilyn finds herself again answering the deep and urgent call for justice.