Today I’m taking action on the third day of Reclaim the Power’s Break the Chain; two weeks of action targeting the fracking supply chain. This fortnight is part of the ongoing fight against fracking and aims to support local communities by strengthening their efforts. The industry is pressing ahead with its plans despite the opposition, and the government is finding any way it can to force fracking on communities, despite massive public opposition. So we need a new strategy to resist.
When I was younger I understood climate change as an issue of too many individuals using too many resources. I thought if we were all more thoughtful about our consumption, and encouraged others to do the same, it would cause a shift so powerful it would be enough to slow down the dramatic changes in our climate. I was wrong.
It’s not individuals who are to blame, but the industries profiting from our excessive consumption who are driving climate change and the politicians who continue to subsidise the fossil fuel industry.
In 2015, as climate change was quickly gaining momentum and urgency, I decided to go to Paris for the UN Climate Talks to make a stand and resist the talks outcomes which didn’t go far enough to keep us below two degrees – the level of warming which would lead to disastrous changes to our climate. Up until then my acts of resistance had been passive. My angry shouts whilst marching through the streets were getting lost in the wind and swept quickly out of the public’s attention by the next big media story. It was time that skilled up and directly got in the way of any more fossil fuels being taken out of the ground – we must leave 80% of fossil fuels in the ground to avoid catastrophic climate change.
Whilst in Paris, I spent a large chunk of time at an Artivism Centre; a place set up with everything you could possibly need to create banners, props and other physical objects to convey our messages. There was a buzz of positive energy in the centre, an overwhelming sense of collective concentration on the task at hand; ensuring we were heard and understood. These creative tactics use a new language, which speak to a wider range of people and offer a different way of organising.
In the UK, fracking is being forced onto local communities despite overwhelming opposition from the public. If the government won’t listen to the people, we will have to stop it ourselves This is exactly why I’ve turned to direct action and finding ways of injecting creativity into it. At Reclaim the Power, we are getting ready to make sure our message is heard and understood by everyone, and to welcome everyone to get involved by providing creative spaces to carry our message forward.
With the fracking industry preparing to drill at sites across the UK, Reclaim the Power, as well as many other groups are gearing up to protect our land, communities and livelihoods. But fracking companies don’t exist in isolation. For the industry to survive there are certain things it needs. It needs access to our land, our water, and our sand. It needs its drills, diggers and lorries. It needs money, spin-doctors and politicians in its pockets. By taking out the links in the chain we can break the whole industry into pieces.
Break the Chain aims to build momentum at a time when the government has betrayed us by overruling council decisions and when fossil fuel industries are beginning to pay attention to the public’s growing support for renewable energy.
It’s time we do everything we can to prevent the fracking industry from disastrous extraction of fossil fuels. It’s time we stand up with the communities affected by the fracking industry and combat the media’s narrative by engaging people and building the alternative, clean-fuelled future we deserve.
Follow Reclaim The Power’s fortnight of action on Twitter @reclaimthepower.
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