12/08/2014 05:25 pm ET Updated Feb 07, 2015

Fracking 101: Two Steps Back

It's incredible that, despite real progress in reducing climate-disrupting carbon emissions, the United States is still charging ahead with a "boom" in dirty fuels and extraction methods. It's like swallowing aspirin as you beat your head against a wall. What gives?

By now, it's clear that the dirty fuel industry is determined to continue business as usual, no matter the cost to our climate. Look no further than the last election to see how determined they really are. In California alone, fossil fuel industry groups spent $7.6 million to defeat one ballot measure that would have banned hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in Santa Barbara County. Across the country, billions of dollars are backing the polluter agenda.

That big spending is in part a reaction to a growing recognition among Americans that fracking and other dirty fuel development is bad for public health, bad for the climate, and bad for the economy. National and state-level polls tell us that, once people understand how fracking affects our groundwater, air quality, and climate, opposition to it rises. In this case, knowledge really is power as we push back against the polluters.

That's why the Sierra Club has released Fracking 101, an animated video that shows how fracking works and why it threatens both our environment and our health. Narrated by Oscar-nominated actor Edward James Olmos in both English and Spanish, the video makes it easy to understand fracking's risks.

Because of these unacceptable risks to our communities, our environment, and our climate, the Sierra Club is opposed to fracking, period.

As we move forward on clean energy solutions and emissions reductions, we cannot afford to let dirty fuel companies undo our progress. Our Dirty Fuels, Clean Futures report, released earlier this year, estimates that oil and gas fracking in the Monterey, San Juan Basin, and Marcellus shale plays would release three-and-a-half times more climate pollution than will be saved by President Obama's new fuel-economy standards. That's what a certain Jersey poet calls "one step up and two steps back."

Help us spread the word about the dangers of fracking and the need to keep dirty fuels in the ground. Share the video and take this action.