Towards the end of July, Team Kindling traded in our wellies and wheel barrows for banners and placards, taking to the streets of Blackpool united with ‘Farmers Against Fracking’ in Lancashire. As part of a month of protest with Reclaim the Power at the Cuadrilla drilling site in Blackpool, we proudly stood with food growers and environmental activists from around the UK to support those resisting the first UK attempt to extract fracked gas on a commercial scale.
All of us at Kindling are really concerned about what Cuadrilla are attempting to do in Lancashire, which has been dubbed ‘the Texas of England’, turning the beautiful English countryside into a site of exploitation for a dirty fossil fuel industry. As environmentalists and lovers of organic food, the whole team needed no convincing of the importance of resisting fracking, especially when it is right on our doorstep!
You might be thinking ‘What’s all the fuss about? Fracking doesn't have anything to do with food!’
Well, fracking in the US has been linked to all sorts of environmental pollution and contamination particularly of fertile land and critical water supplies. This is because fracking as a process mixes enormous amounts of water with toxic chemical compounds to create frack fluid. A significant amount of this frack fluid then returns to the surface, where it can spill or be dumped into rivers and streams and can even make its way into the local water table. Which is exactly what has happened in Pennsylvania, Colorado, Ohio and Wyoming, with evidence of Methane contamination found in Pennsylvanian household drinking water.
If this contamination is in the water table then it means it also will make its way into our food, with livestock often the first to suffer the impact of air and water pollution. Research conducted in the US suggests that livestock exposed to fracking chemicals in the water and air have suffered reproductive, gastrointestinal and neurological problems. The response by fracking corporations is more often than not denial and a refusal to disclose the composition of chemicals used in the fracking process.
On top of this, fracking in Lancashire symbolises the failure of democracy, with fracking sanctioned by central government against the wishes of local people, a move which the Tory Party Manifesto pledged to formalise as standard, by deeming fracking 'permitted development': local councils will have no say and no warning.
Most importantly though, fracking is based on supplying the world with precisely those fuels that need to stay in the ground if we’re to have any chance at all of keeping global temperature rises within even remotely safe levels – a fast dwindling possibility. We have an incredibly small window of time left to prevent catastrophic climate change, and fracking simply isn’t compatible with the radical reorientation of our energy supply that’s needed to do so.
So we decided to take action. We stood, sang and cheered with over 100 others on Preston New Road to demand a clean, green and frack-free future for all. The spirit of the day was one of solidarity with local people who tirelessly have a presence at the site and are relentless in their refusal to accept fracking as our future. Despite the heavy police presence and grisly wet weather, our spirits were not hampered with our very own Helen giving a rousing speech and sharing our thanks (as Mancunians) and support to those on the frontline of this struggle.
We can't understate how important it is that we all keep up the good fight against fracking, this is about OUR future, that means you too, and what happens in Lancashire will set the tone for whether fracking can be imposed on local communities across the country.
So whilst the month of resistance with Reclaim the Power has now come to an end, the people of Lancashire and the planet still needs you. Showing up at Preston New Road really does make a difference. Currently just the presence of more than 100 people at the entrance to the construction site shuts work for the day. So if you have a few hours or a day to spare head on down to Lancashire and support the front line of the resistance, but also spread the word of what is happening in the North West and campaign for change. Write to your MP to put an end to fracking in England and make your voice heard.
As Cuadrilla increase their efforts to begin fracking in Blackpool, having moved in the drill last week, your voice matters now more than ever. Stopping fracking is not impossible, with France, Bulgaria, Scotland, Ireland, the Netherlands and Germany all implementing fracking bans or moratoria. But it won't happen unless we demand it!
So what are you waiting for let's stop this, together.
For more information on how to get involved visit: