Oil and gas extraction releases ozone and methane. So when a fracking boom started near Dallas, Texas, air pollution there got worse. Elida Tamez lives in Denton, where the problem is especially bad.

Tamez: “During the hottest part of the summers, you really can’t go outside and breathe very easily, especially if you’re young, and also if your health is compromised like mine.”

Tamez has cancer, but it has not stopped her from getting involved. Two years ago, the state legislature reversed a city ban on fracking in Denton. So she went out to the fracking site to protest.

Tamez: “There came a big truck and I just decided that I needed to do something. So I stepped in front of the truck and blocked its way. And then other people joined me. So we were arrested that day, but it was one of the nicest days of my life because it showed me that yes, little people can still have a big effect.”

The protest helped draw attention to the issue, but the fracking in Denton did not stop until oil and gas prices dropped. So Tamez has continued to push for clean energy.

Tamez: “Even an old, fat, fart like me with cancer can get up off the couch and make a difference.”

Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media.
Image graphic: Created by David McCarthy.

Eileen Mignoni is a South Florida-based visual journalist who has been working on stories about science, the environment, and energy for nearly 10 years. In addition to her work at Yale Climate Connections,...