Protest personalities: Sam Bernhardt, Food and Water Watch

Sam Bernhardt (Dana DiFilippo/WHYY)

Sam Bernhardt (Dana DiFilippo/WHYY)

City officials expect as many as 50,000 protesters a day to hit Philadelphia’s streets and a demonstration zone at FDR Park, across from the Democratic National Convention taking place at Wells Fargo Center.

Each day, we’ll profile a protest leader to give you a peek at the personalities behind the chants and signs.

Want to participate in or watch a protest march? Or would you prefer to dodge protests — and the traffic congestion they could cause — altogether? The DNC Action Committee has a protest master schedule online.

Cause
Fighting climate change and fracking. He’s the senior Pennsylvania organizer for Food & Water Watch.

Strategy
Rallies, marches, educational summits, and occasional attention-grabbing stunts, like dumping phony feces beneath the DNC donkeys around town to declare the party platforms “crappy” for not including a national fracking ban. His group will hold a Clean Energy Revolution summit on July 23 at the Friends Center in Center City, a climate change conference for youth July 23 at Temple University, and a Clean Energy Revolution march on July 24 from City Hall to Independence Mall.

Age
28

Home base
South Philadelphia

Day job
His activism. Besides climate change and fracking, Food & Water Watch also fights for GMO labeling and against the privatization of utilities, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and a refinery’s expansion plans at Southport.

Bet you didn’t know
He’s a New York native who majored in biology and environmental studies at Wesleyan University in Connecticut. Instead of becoming a scientist, though, he pursued a career in activism because “the problems that we face as a society are not the results of incomplete science. They’re the results of insufficient political will. That’s what we do at Food & Water Watch: We’re building a movement to steer our local, state and federal governments toward the solutions that already exist.”

In his words
“For me, climate change is the issue of our generation. Communities are being impacted by climate change every day: It’s creating droughts, flooding, mass migrations. If we don’t act now, we’ll be faced with a new normal that is really frightening for myself and other young people.

“The most important thing we can do to fight climate change in Pennsylvania is to fight fracking. Pennsylvania is the second-most heavily fracked state in the country. Due to the leakage of methane from the wells and from pipelines, fracking is just as bad an exacerbator of climate change as any other fossil fuel. We need to stop kidding ourselves that this is a solution to a really difficult problem. Fracking really is a bridge to nowhere.”

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