The ugly side of fracking

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In response to our government’s blinkered race for fracking, while snubbing the latest public opinion polls (74% against fracking under people’s homes without their permission, and 80% in favour of renewable energy), Camden Friends of the Earth wanted to visually capture how people FEEL about fracking – since their thoughts don’t seem to count.

And who can dispute one’s feelings?

So they’ve started asking the public to share with us their deepest fracking feelings and so far the response has been staggering. We came across many people who feel so strongly against fracking that they were well prepared to openly express their feelings in front of a camera no matter how ugly they appeared; intimidated, fearful, angry, shocked, disgusted, horrified, sad, shattered, furious, horrified, appalled, distressed…

And its not just the widespread public opposition to fracking that our government chooses to ignore, they have also disregarded the most reliable scientific expertise on earth when it comes to dealing with global warming (IPCC) who have highly recommended leaving fossil fuels in the ground.

64% of England is under consideration for controversial fracking by the Department of Energy and Climate Change. This includes most of London and the entire borough of Camden. It may not seem likely to happen in Camden, but unless we get a firm commitment from our council to block any licences for drilling in the borough, we cannot be certain that it won’t happen in our own backyard.

Even the unthinkable scenario of fracking in Hampstead Heath might become a reality after our government recently announced that planning permission may still be granted in National Parks and areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty under “exceptional circumstances”.

For those who are unfamiliar with fracking, it is a risky technique used to extract shale gas by pumping water and toxic chemicals at high pressure into the ground, cracking open and fracturing the rock deep underground in order to release natural gas.

Fracking just a single shale gas well takes approximately 15 million litres of water, while the deceivingly small proportion of chemicals used in the mix – 0.5% – actually make up a staggering amount of 75,000 litres of chemicals per well.

The UK Government has given the green light despite the fact that it contributes towards climate change, and mounting evidence from the USA and Australia that it can cause water contamination; there is plenty of footage caught on film of people setting fire to the dirty water that comes out of their taps due to the high concentration of gas that has leaked into the groundwater supply from nearby fracking sites.

The risk is especially high in the South East of England since almost 90% of our water supply comes from groundwater.

Even if the wild assumption that fracking will reduce energy bills in the future is correct, this must not come at the expense of risking contaminating our water supply, and compromising on the health of people and wildlife; particularly in our densely-populated area, with an increased risk of air pollution (which is already bad enough). Surely the answer to our energy problem lies in clean, low-impact, low-carbon and indefinitely renewable solutions such as wind and solar.

So we’re not terribly surprised to see how people react emotionally to the invasive idea of fracking, yet it’s quite spectacular to see just how wide the spectrum of emotions are out there.

If this resonates with you and you’re happy to sacrifice your good looks for the common good, please take one of the following actions:


Share with us your own #FrackingSelfie

On Twitter >> @CamdenFoE
On Facebook >> https://www.facebook.com/theuglysideoffracking


Sign our online petition
to call on Camden council to publicly oppose the controversial practice of fracking in our borough:
http://chn.ge/1q4YdoI


For further info about fracking –
http://www.foe.co.uk/sites/default/files/downloads/fracking_summary_2013.pdf

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