Shale gas: we are the fractivists

Jennifer Rosenberg

21 August 2013

You'd be hard pushed to find anything nice to say about fracking, but this weekend it did something great.

It brought together thousands of people from all walks of life and from across the UK to stand together against fracking and fossil fuel extraction everywhere.

We gathered in Balcombe, a peaceful village in West Sussex, where energy company Cuadrilla have begun work on their first test drilling site in the area.

The local community in Balcombe have been resisting Cuadrilla over the past two years and 85% of local residents are against fracking. In spite of this, Cuadrilla began constructing this ominous looking test drill a few weeks ago.


Solidarity Sunday

So Sunday's reinforcements arrived, and we came in all shapes and sizes.

Local residents were joined by affected communities right across the UK. Many people came from Lancashire where communities have been fighting fracking since 2011 when Cuadrilla caused earth tremors by fracking near Blackpool.

There were also people from the US and Australia who have experienced first-hand just how harmful fracking can be.

People who had never been on a protest in their lives stood hand-in-hand with long-term climate activists, and people of all ages shared banners and cups of tea as we thronged the streets.


The energy at Sunday's march was electric. We danced, sang, banged drums and surrounded the drilling site with a gigantic Mexican wave. We were loud, peaceful and united.

Leading the way

It was not only on the march that we were able to show our strength. No Dash for Gas organised a campsite nearby which in itself was proof that a more sustainable way of life is possible.

It was fully powered by renewable energy and collectively run by participants who shared information, expertise and hopes for a better energy future over local, organic meals.

People who've been fighting what often feels like a long and lonely battle for clean energy and climate justice found ways to link up their struggles.

We also sent messages of solidarity to communities affected by fossil fuel extraction around the world.

The power of fracking

So yes, fracking is scary. It threatens to pollute our drinking water and scar the countryside, and evidence shows it isn’t even likely to bring down energy bills.

Meanwhile it's more fossil fuel that we cannot afford to burn if we're going to tackle climate change and it distracts from what is really needed – renewable energy solutions.

But in being such a blatantly terrible idea it has had an incredible power to bring us together to draw a line in the sand on fracking, and on fossil fuel extraction more broadly.

We're the fractivists and we're saying enough is enough.

Stay up to date on fracking and take our latest anti-fracking action.

Jenny Rosenberg

Climate and Energy Programme




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