Alex Lotorto on Supporting Frontline Communities

“Welcome to Halt the Harm Podcast, I’m your host Ryan Clover.

In this episode Alex Lotorto joins us from Northeast Pennsylvania to talk about the value of building grassroots support networks to sustain our movement. Alex is a recipient of the Community Sentinel Awards presented by FracTracker Alliance in 2016.

For anyone who cares about the future of the environmental movement, and wants to support the people most impacted by the issues we talk about in our work, Alex shares some valuable insight.”



Alex has been the Shale Gas Program Coordinator for Energy Justice Network since 2011. Outside of his professional capacity, he has worked extensively as a volunteer organizer fighting for environmental justice in communities facing rural poverty.

Alex also has a labor union background and has been a union activist in both the private and public sectors, is a union delegate for the Industrial Workers of the World, and represents workers in unemployment compensation appeal hearings on a volunteer basis.


Main Message :

Foundations and major environmental groups (Big Greens) aren’t situated to help the people most in need and Organizers need to build their own support network if the most difficult and important work is going to get done.


What we talked about :

In this conversation Alex shares his experience working with his friends in Northeastern Pennsylvania. From working in rural communities, and with a history in labor organizing, Alex understands the importance of building support networks of our own – and not relying on large foundations or major environmental groups (Big Greens).

At first I was uncomfortable when Alex started sharing examples of how organizations like the Sierra Club can actually perpetuate the problems of fracking – I didn’t want this episode to come across as cynical. But Alex’s message isn’t cynical, it’s critically important – it’s empowering. He shares some concrete examples about how we can build support networks of our own, and has suggestions for how people working within large environmental organizations can help steer them toward supporting the front lines.


Links to stuff we talked about:

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Halt the Harm Network is supported by Netcentric Campaigns.