[INTERVIEW] Rosario Dawson on Clean Water, Voting and Being the Boss

Photo: Rosario Dawson. (FilmMagic)

Rosario Dawson is no stranger to activism.

She grew up around people who inspired her, like her friend, trans advocate and East Village legend Chloe Dzubilo (RIP) and her family, whom she calls “a source of wisdom and support.” She  serves on the board of Eve Ensler’s VDAYproject, supports several human rights organizations, is active with the Lower East Side Girls Club and co-founded Voto Latino. Now, she’s adding to her roster of environmental efforts by speaking up about the need to preserve our world’s water supply.

What are the main issues that you’re working on with Water Defense?

Though we have access to taps and toilets here in the United States we are not exempt from [the contaminated water] problem. Our water is becoming increasingly polluted and we are getting sicker for it. The main issue we’re tackling is fracking, short for hydraulic fracturing, which is a dangerous form of drilling for natural gas. We’re trying to keep fracking out of our watersheds and our communities as well as debunk the myth that natural gas is a cleaner form of energy than coal.

Can you explain fracking? It seems like a complicated issue.

Fracking is a process of natural gas drilling. It requires blasting water, toxic chemicals and sand underground into rock formations to crack them apart and release the gas. It contaminates the water wells of homes and communities, such that people can light their tap water on fire; and it also produces billions of gallons of wastewater, water that is not treatable, that ends up getting dumped into rivers and streams. On top of that, the process of fracking actually causes earthquakes! The pressure of all that water and drilling horizontally has caused unnatural, man-made earthquakes.

Until the laws to protect our water are reinstated, we have to ban the process of fracking. Ban it now, before it destroys more homes and families.

Can you tell us a bit about [what else] is important to you now?

I just want people to know their rights and their power. Often I get people registered [through Voto Latino]  just by pointing out that if taxes have been taken from their paychecks or when they were buying those new sneakers they’re wearing, that they’re already engaged in the political system. Why not take it to the next step and participate in the process that allows you to vote where that tax money goes!? Our government and representatives work for us! We’re their boss.

What advice or message would you send to young people who are interested in taking action or getting involved?

Follow your passion and get informed, get mad, inspired, then get involved! Go to www.waterdefense.org to get involved. We can ban fracking and save our water if we come together right now. Please, too, register at www.VotoLatino.org and VOTE!

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Register to Vote

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Use Rosario Dawson's org, Voto Latino, to help you get set up to register to vote.