Friday, 25 December 2015

Movement but no way out...


That line "And so this is Christmas and what have you done..." is in my head and I thought I'd post a little something before I head off to family time. Then I started thinking about stuff that has happened since last year... then I realised I don't have the time for this lol - it would take more than a year to think it all through!
The adventures, the places and most impactful of all (as is always the case) - has been the humans along the way... the seasoned activists & the overwhelmed newcomers alike, all powering each other on in this relentless drive for the things we know to be more important than anyone's 'economy'.
The freezing camps, the long marches, too many coach & train journeys to recall, the warm receptions, the spikey confrontations, the ugly politics, the valued & vital posts of love, support (and even cats & sunsets that blissfully distract!)... and the hugs of solidarity that are the uniquest of all hug-types and maybe - the most satisfying. Hugs that say "I know it's not easy, I know it seems endless - but it is what it is and it has to be done. But I'm here too and we'll get through this."
It is a sharp realisation to know that going back to acceptance, is not possible or even an option.
To those who got us through this 5th year of NO FRACKING YET!!!! and all who fight for justice, the NHS, for peace, for Palestine, for refugees, for Zane, for education, for care for our elders, for renewables, for fairness, for truth - we are all on the same road, powered by ourselves and our honourable purpose... thank you for being the best company along the way and for all you do that adds to the movement that we are; I have learnt and felt more than I knew possible.
Namaste heart emoticon

Thursday, 17 December 2015

I Pledge...



It is our numbers that make us strong and it is in showing just how many are prepared to stand up and oppose the risks government takes with our health and well-being - that we send shivers down the spines of industry and potential investors. Media never shows just how many we are and with events stretching us in all directions... I thought a PLEDGE TO ACT might help.

By getting everyone who turns up to demonstrations, puts on public meetings, leaflets their neighbourhoods, creates or stays at protection camps or otherwise acts against unconventional energy techniques like fracking, CBM, CSG etc. to add their name to PLEDGE TO DO IT AGAIN... we will have our numbers loud and clear. I think this will help.

Please sign & share...

I (and the under-signed) PLEDGE TO TAKE NON-VIOLENT, DIRECT ACTION to prevent unconventional energy techniques (fracking, csg, cbm, ucg etc.) from being used.

Our UK government has:
- changed the rules so that it can frack under previously protected natural areas
- said it will take the planning decisions away from local councils if not satisfied
Despite broad opposition in the UK (and across the world) and despite promises made in Paris to act for the air we breathe, the water we depend on and the quality of the environments in which we live - the government is pushing through its plans for unconventional gas and oil regardless.

Rules are changed, opposition silenced and voices even of medical professionals ignored... so what now? People from all parts of the UK have campaigned to stop fracking since 2011 and it has worked. There are currently no full fracking production sites in the UK... but we don't know how long we can hold them back.

You are needed... please pledge here by signing to agree to take YOUR own non-violent, direct action (alone, with others etc.). It can be any action that suits you - from lobbying your MP, handing out information, attending a demonstration or march, visiting a protection camp, helping out your local group or for those limited by health or responsibilities,sharing this and other posts to inform others. The ONLY rule is that your action must be NON-VIOLENT.

Together we CAN show just how big and determined we are and in doing this - demand democracy of our government.
CLICK HERE to join 

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

A Community Protection Camp

Community Protection Camp



Building towers
Reinforcing commitment
With cemented wheelie bins
And chains of dedication



The drums beat the dance right out of you
And the pipes call the souls out to play
Cold wind whips normality aside and
Paint-trailed words of love, show the way


Soothed with the fruit and veg of human kindness
Community gratitude for what ‘s being endured
For what ‘s to come
And for what can never be 
…if only
The Protectors succeed


The poets, dreamers, lovers and the lost
Refresh & replenish here
Pit stops to pick up 
Love, hope, determination, passion, beauty
From the muddy hands clasped in solidarity
The chilled cheeks kissed to feel humanity
The warm hugs seized for the memories



 Protectors of the land 
…have come home


Monday, 7 December 2015

Upton Community Protection Camp

In this fight against the threat of unconventional energy techniques like fracking, coal bed methane, coal seam gasification etc. I have been to many 'Protection' camps over the past 4 years ...each a truly unique gift from humanity to itself. I can't imagine finding the words for sharing the truth of the Protector Camp experiences... there is a very deeply emotional level to sharing in genuine community, that defies description... But our beautiful Colin Gong gets it here:
,...................................

From Colin...

Oh dear ladies & gentleman, today your 'on-the-ground live (and totally biased) reporter' has been going all soft on the inside, whilst simultaneously trying to puff himself up to be all tough on the outside - twice I have found myself welling up and with a tear in my eye...

The first time was in the afternoon. A lovely local couple and their sweet young daughter had come to visit, and I had engaged with them in the kitchen. We had barely gone beyond the hello stage when the mother said to me 'there is something my daughter would like to say to you'. I guess she was aged around 6 or 7, so she was of a height that meant when I bent down onto my knee, I was face to face with her and nicely on a level to listen properly to what she had to say.

I don't remember her words exactly, but fairly closely it went something like this
'Thank you for protecting us..Nobody else is protecting us The government are not protecting us, the council are not protecting us, and the school are not protecting us, so you are the only people who are protecting us'.

She was looking me right in the eye when she said it, and she said it all quite slowly, in an unusually deliberate and measured way for one so young. It was probably within a second of when she had finished speaking that i felt the welling up. Mainly I averted it, by standing up and turning away from her just a little bit to look outside the kitchen for a moment. But what met my eyes out there was another mother I had just met, standing there with a babe-in-arms, just a year old.... ... and it hit me all over again - 'my god what legacy are we in danger of leaving for these young souls? ... and for the generations that are to come after them?
(how can anyone not be horrified by that?)

I am not normally one to hold things like that in, but I guess at some level I sensed it was not the best time to let it come up and out. Apart from anything else, I still had a long 'to do' list for the day!

The second time I will tell you about in a moment.

Today we had the grey sky and light rain to gently cleanse us for much of the morning, and I sensed that a lot of people (including me!) were pretty tired after a long and busy day yesterday. Nothing was getting done in a hurry, that was for sure.

Then around early lunchtime, a minor exodus started - mainly it was people who had come from distant places and who were bound by work obligations..I think without exception they all said how sorry they were that they couldn't stay longer. Then one camp members who are more or less giving their whole life to the cause, and who probably enjoys few things in life more than a good lock-on, said they had to bail out for a short while to prevent their health declining any further than it had all ready. Clearly he was feeling quite unwell and badly in need of proper rest and recuperation in a safe, warm.and dry place. It was obvious that he needed to go, but it was not a departure we had seen coming.
There was a moment just after that when Olive and I looked at each other, and we both knew we were thinking the same thing, but we didn't say it out loud.

Although we kept the faith, at that stage numbers on the camp were starting to look concerningly low..

Cometh the hour though, cometh the men.

And sure enough, within 15 minutes.of that last departure, a posse arrived that instantly buoyed our spirits - six or seven young to middle aged men walked in with serious faces,, in single file and without looking sideways or saying a word.

We are privileged to know a couple of them fairly well from previous campaigns, and we knew these arrivals were seriously bad news for igas and their hired hench-men.

It was probably just after these arrivals that the weather lifted and things began to dry out, and for the middle part of the day it was business as usual. That's a steady stream of visitors, against a back drop of very purposeful 'work' activities going on at various strategic positions around the site - more scaffold poles going from horizontal to vertical, lookout shelters being built, and weak points in perimeters being reinforced..

Thank you to those who came bearing gifts - ranging from home baked cakes still warm from the oven, to a whole box cans of expanding foam.

Thank you also to the visiting supporters who happily chipped in with the daily chores of camp, which helped to free up the time of experienced people to do undefined 'other things' (lol).

At tea time Olive and I bobbed off for a while, wellies n all, to the local eatery/pub to get some things charged up and have a hearty meal. Olive went to the bar, and when she came back she was bearing some food vouchers that she had just been gifted by the proprietor for 'service to the community' and news of the offer of some food to take back to the camp - that was a nice surprise!

We got back to the camp quite late, but all charged up and with appetites fully sated. Before retiring for the night I took a slow stroll around the site. The atmosphere at all the various points where people congregate was notably calm and peaceful. As someone remarked, the temperature is so mild as to be more like autumn than winter, and thanks were given for that.

As I left the site through the main entrance, I stayed for a while to listen to the music around the fire drum that is just inside the gate there. It was k on acoustic guitar and vocals and s on penny whistle, playing in such a way that completely enchanted me, along with the glow of the fire.
It left me with an awareness that I have now had many many times before - that life of a front-line anti-fracker is a rich rich life, in the most meaningful sense of those words.

So I leave you with that second time I found myself welling up. I guess in the main it was what I hadn;t allowed to come up properly earlier.

It was in the bistro after we had eaten, and was triggered by this short but rousing video from Balcombe in Sussex and the summer of 2013. It always takes me back there, and it rarely fails to move me,

Better out than in as they say, and this time there was no need to hold it in...
Sweet dreams everyone, and lets see what tomorrow brings.

https://vimeo.com/74386321

Thursday, 3 December 2015

F*cking Syria

Great Britain being great
At slaughter for the state
Of economies, mock democracies
Dirty, secret, deal-making cronies

Primed, prepped, erect and shiney
Ejaculating bombs
From on high as almighty
Politicians playing judge and jury
Free reigning letting loose the fury
On titled, named, shamed:
“death cult of woman-hating, muslim-murdering medieval-monsters”

With such precision do they come
Death splatters only the evil ones
No dads, kids, grandmas or mums
Are harmed in the making of this war

This mission? “Cause we can”
This entirely crazy plan
To just keep killing
Till the killing stops

And maybe the energy market’s former drop
Also stops
And coffers fill from trade in
Ill
Gotten arms

And more still from manipulating 
Staging, re-arranging political situations
In these other people’s nations
Getting one and all capitulating
To the call for new trade deals
Oiling the wheels of fighter jets


….primed, prepped, erect





Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Not in my Name

Sadly re-posting again... to make it clear:

NOT IN MY NAME

Threats never uttered are whispered verbatim,
creating fear of a hypothetical invasion,
as media strings play methodical hype,
orchestrating the public, to conform to type.

Spoon fed with fear on news laden,
heaped with visual connotations,
of danger lurking at our doors,
of certain death for those who ignore,
the hypothesis laid down as fact,
the incessant chitter, incessant chat,
gets us addicted to leader's projection,
junkies now for his brand of protection.

Dependent and needy,
craving, hungry, greedy.
Surrounded by blue teeth grinning barbarity,
sneering, seething images of vulgarity.

So our boys are pushed up to the wire,
shot with propoganda so they will not tire,
of protecting their families at home,
from evil doers looking to dethrone,
the powers that watch over us…
…the nervous dependent populous.

We must be saved from the supposed threat.
We must invade the terrorist nest.
We must kill the alien foe.
We must, we must, we must overthrow.

But first we must trust the source of the truths,
before we feed the war, any more youths.
Before the troops, lose one more brave soul.
Before the powers, reach any more goals.
Before Libya and Syria,
Iran and North Korea,
fall foul of our leaders' dictates of behaviour -
refuse to appreciate us as their savior.

Before we beat them into submission,
maybe we could establish just whose permission,
was granted before we shed so much blood,
before a trickle was blasted into a flood.

Before the next purple-tipped finger is crushed,
we must realise that "we the people" have been hushed,
for too long now, kept in our place,
as fellow humans are easily erased,
by bold leaders brandishing our names,
claiming we desired all of this shame.



Not in my name, not in my name, not in my name.




#UptonBlockade - Will you show up? - 4th December 2015




About this weekend at Upton Community Protection Camp​ with Frack Free Upton (Chester)​ and why we really need this #UptonBlockade on 4 December to happen in as big a way as possible. We are hoping to emulate even a fraction of the success and solidarity of the incredible #BentleyBlockade.

The following is my response to a request for a quote for a Press Release about why we're doing this and what the Direct Action Training we're thinking of having on 5 December indicates:
.....................................................................................

Our communities are being put at risk and we are no longer even able to rely on a fair hearing through our Councillors on planning applications, as Westminster has shown they are willing to make the decisions for us, if ours don't suit them. Preventing unconventional energy companies from riding roughshod over our communities whilst the government cheer-leads for them, is a demanding yet essential task.

We stand now with Upton, Cheshire as this camp defends against iGas plans for coal bed methane (techniques similar to fracking) extraction and intends on evicting the campaigners.

We are standing in defence of our young, because the regulators aren't strong enough to ensure their safety. We cannot and will not stop until the energy companies do - because to do so, would show neglect for our children.

As campaigners, activists, protectors, we have kept this industry at bay for 4 years now. We have used every legal tool our democracy allows us and we succeeded in Lancashire... until the makers of the laws and rules, took the right to decide away from us. Direct Action training is now required as we run out of options.

NONE of us want to act unlawfully but when those making the laws are acting in deceitful and corrupted ways... that remove all other options, then how do we get included in the decision making? How are we heard?

When the lawmakers act unlawfully - it becomes impossible to trust the law... or honour it.
.....................................................................................

Hopefully see you at Upton from the 4th December 2015 for the #UptonBlockade

Duttons Lane, Upton CH2 2PE


Will you show up?​ 




*Inspired by Bentley x







Friday, 27 November 2015

Lancashire Day

The ugly letter that takes decisions from Lancashire and gives them to Westminster... that paves the way for some vile interpretation of creating a 'Northern Powerhouse' operated by bureaucrats on the backs of the people of the North and takes 'localism' to comedic levels!

Today is Lancashire Day and it seems our gift is time off from involvement in decision making in our county - but if this was about windfarms, that would be an entirely different and very local matter!
.........................................................................................................................................................................
From Westminster TO:
Development Management Group
Lancashire County Council
PO Box 100
Evironment Directorate
County Hall
Preston
PR1 0LD
26 November 2015
Dear Development Management Group,
Town and Country Planning Act 1990
Appeals by Cuadrilla Bowland Limited, Cuadrilla Elswick Limited
Site Addresses: around Preston New Road near Little Plumpton, Preston; and around Roseacre and Wharles, Preston, Lancashire .
Although under the Town and Country Planning (Determination of Appeals by Appointed Persons)(Prescribed Classes) Regulations 1997, the appeals were to have been decided by an Inspector, the Secretary of State considers that he should determine them himself.
Accordingly, in exercise of his powers under section 79 and paragraph 3 of Schedule 6 ofthe Town and Country Planning Act 1990, the Secretary of State hereby directs that he shall determine these appeals instead of an Inspector. This means that instead of writing a decision, the Inspector will prepare a report and recommendation, which will be forwarded to the Secretary of State.
The reason for this direction is because the drilling appeals (3134385 and 3134386) involve proposals for exploring and developing shale gas which amount to proposals for development of major importance having more than local significance and proposals which raise important or novel issues of development control, and/or legal difficulties. The monitoring appeals (3130923 and 3130924) are being considered at the same time as the drilling appeals and will be most efficiently and effectively determined by the Secretary of State. These two appeals are therefore being recovered because of the particular circumstances.
This direction is being served on the Inspector, the appellant (or their representative) and the local planning authority.
The guidelines for 'recovering' appeals are to be found in House of Commons Hansard Ministerial Statement of 30 June 2008. We will send you a copy of the appropriate extracts if you ask for them or you can get them from the Planning Practice Guidance http://planningguidance.planningportal.gov.uk/blog/guidance/appeals/planning-appeals-general/
Yours sincerely,
Mark Boulton
Authorised to sign on behalf of the Secretary of State
Where applicable, you can use the internet to submit documents, to see information and to check the progress of cases through the Planning Portal. The address of our search page is - www.planningportal.gov.uk/planning/appeals/online/search
Linked cases: APP/Q2371/W/15/3130924, APP/Q2371/W/15/3134385, APP/Q2371/W


Sunday, 22 November 2015

Sorry it didn't work out...

I am genuinely sorry that we could not succeed in stopping this man from taking his safe seat and inflicting all this damage. At no point did the voters hear any of this at the hustings or in the literature - at no point were the methods he would use made clear and now... we see the damage seeping into all parts of society, community, small businesses and families (except perhaps the 1% and those who support them).
But it's not just him is it... what is happening makes a mockery of the term 'Democracy' and is an affront to our intelligence. The words he spun during the election campaign were lies, half-truths, myths and PR BS. Voters were dragged to a world of make-believe where their comfort was indicated - they were assured they were OK and their families were OK and that all that would come, would be for the greater good of this great Britain. Lying b*stard. Through ugly cunning, masses of costly marketing and the support of the right people - George Osborne peddled his tale and conned the people.
I don't agree with all in that Will Hutton says in this article - but agree the pain he sees.
Where do we go from here? 5 years is too long to wait and between now - and then - what more harm will come?
So many 'if onlys' and one big sorry that we weren't big enough to remove him frown emoticon

Friday, 6 November 2015

Nana Bloc: 29 November 2015 London

Gathering ourselves into a mass of Nanas to accompany the many who will be in London on 29 November for:

The People's March for Climate, Justice and Jobs
We propose to meet opposite the The Dorchester Hotel on Park Lane, London - on Hyde Park side... expect we will be very yellow! Please make, buy, borrow an apron/tabard and join us - particularly if this is your first demonstration.
We will be a bloc (a grouping) inside a lovely mass of blocs lol! As we gather, so will campaigners against fracking, campaigners for climate, for renewables, for sustainable jobs, for change. The bloc we are alongside is the Climate Revolution / Time to Act Bloc - 29th Nov 15
but with us too are the following:
March with Friends of the Earth for Climate, Justice and Jobsi
Green Bloc @ The People's March for Climate, Justice and Jobs
Frack Free Bloc @ People's March for Climate, Justice & Jobs - Nov 29
Which in turn is a part of the whole event The People's March for Climate, Justice and Jobs
Sign up: www.PeoplesMarch.org.uk
■ Download your leaflets here: http://bit.ly/1K14SPf
■ Provisional route of London demo: http://bit.ly/1NADUMy
● No to dirty energy!
● Yes to renewables!
● Climate jobs now!
● Justice for people!
#ClimateJusticeJobs #PeoplesMarch
From the main march organisers:
All over the world people are already putting into practice real solutions: public renewable energy, green infrastructure, millions of new, unionised clean jobs. But it needs to happen faster, at scale and with people at its centre.
With such solutions already in flow, we can leave the age of fossil fuels behind. Some choices we can each make on our own. But some, we as a society must make together.
Hope is with people who are already way ahead of those governments who lack the political will to act, and ahead of those corporate interests who are blocking the changes we need.
Together, we are more powerful than they could possibly imagine.
Whatever happens in Paris, we can, and we will, build the future from here.
A more just, more equitable and better world for us all.
Organisations supporting the demonstration include:
350.org, 38 Degrees, Action Aid, Avaaz, Bond, Campaign Against Climate Change, Centre for Sustainable Fashion, Climate Change Centre Reading, Climate Revolution, Friends of the Earth, Global Justice Now, Greenpeace, Left Unity, MADE, National Union of Students, Oil Vay, PCS, People’s Assembly Against Austerity, People and Planet, Reclaim The Power, Stop the War Coalition, Student Assembly Against Austerity, This Changes Everything, Time to Act, Trades Union Congress (TUC), UNISON, UK Youth Climate Coalition, UK Nanas
Please remember to join the event page itself.
https://www.facebook.com/events/516078015212179

Monday, 2 November 2015

Who's the Nana?



Nana Update after much interest in becoming 'Nanas' from all over:
................................................................................................
UK Nanas have been journeying around the country, supporting local anti-fracking/unconventional energy groups... and at many of the venues, we have been meeting more and more 'Nanas'. Men and women who have decided that this is a way of campaigning/activism that works for them. We have been delighted to find that each is - by sheer nature of the name and outfit - very Nana-like and purposeful...

Initially, some of us fretted a little over how to sort the surge of interest in becoming Nanas; was there a need for a behaviour checklist or rules? Constitutions were mentioned, concerns over how it could all go wrong etc. Reality is, we cannot control something as lovely as people choosing to make or enrich their involvement in campaigning/activism - by being part of a 'Nana' thing. Those of us who were inspired to get involved first... were simply the start of something that is anybody's - and not our place to say who can or can't do anything.

THEREFORE:
...if anyone would like to be a NANA.. be it :)
Simply purchase or make a tabard/apron (many use YELLOW with BLACK to represent anti-fracking - but choice is yours) and act accordingly - with others in pairs, in groups or by starting a local group.

The word NANA makes it clear that the purpose is "care for our young and generations to come..." and that the rules are simply, what a perceived NANA would have ie:
-protect without violence, use every legal tool FIRST
-set an example
-consider what is self-defence and what is lawful - and choose using good conscience and a 'Nana ethic'

We describe ourselves as Nanas with the following text that is useful as an overview - please feel free to use this description if it works for your group:


Our 'Nana' status is not so much biological... more about a state of mind. We have young male and female Nanas who don't have children and all sorts. We wanted to protect our communities from the harmful effects that industries like fracking and other unconventional techniques would bring
...and we needed the media to stop categorising and labelling us as being: 'eco activists' or 'climate campaigners' etc. We are caring human beings first and foremost - we are informed and we do this because we are OBLIGED to future generations; to ensure they can rely on fresh air and clean water.

We ARE unstoppable, not because we're tough or riotous or expert - but because we are not CHOOSING activism, we are obligated to do this. How can any of us say it's ok to let dangerous industries go ahead - that the risks don't count anymore - that generations to come don't matter enough? That would be negligent and impossible.
For us... every exit door has an image of the struggles we will leave for the next generations on it and we can't get out, till we fulfill our obligation to the children to come.

The Nanashire​ PAGE is for Nanas and their supporters anywhere to keep up with what UK Nanas are up to... and Nanashire the Group​ is for those who identify as Nanas, to join and share.

We look forward to a wave of  tabards/aprons and Nana spirit across our green and pleasant lands <3 p="">

Monday, 12 October 2015

What is a 'Nana'...

The UK Nanas, inspired by the Knitting Nannas (started in Australia), came together in 2014 and I was asked to define what being a Nana is all about:


What is a 'Nana'...
[Our 'Nana' status is not so much biological... more about a state of mind. We have young male and female Nanas who don't have children and all sorts. We wanted to protect our communities from the harmful effects fracking would bring and needed the media to stop categorising and labelling us as being: 'eco activists' or 'climate campaigners' etc.
...We are caring human beings first and foremost - we are informed and we do this because we are OBLIGED to future generations; to ensure they can rely on fresh air and clean water.

We ARE unstoppable, not because we're tough or riotous or expert -but because we are not choosing activism, we are obligated to do this. How can any of us say it's ok to let fracking happen - that the risks don't count anymore - that generations to come don't matter enough? That would be negligent and impossible.

For us... every exit door has an image of the struggles we will leave for the next generations on it and we can't get out, till we fulfill our obligation to the children to come.]
*more than just fracking + the whole range of unconventional energy techinques ie: CBM, CSG, UCG etc.






Friday, 9 October 2015

Kindred Spirits #NationalPoetryDay

Last one for #NationalPoetryDay


Dear David & George,

Dear David & George,
I am deeply concerned that our country and my grandchild's future is in large part... in your hands! Although I am no scientist, I am certain that if you permit fracking, it will bring harm to the health and the well-being of people in the UK. I don't expect you to pay any attention to me at all (that would just smack of democracy) so I present the following for your careful consideration as it comes from the Royal Society of Chemistry's recently published “Fracking” – volume 39 (see page 15) in the book series “Issues in Environmental Science and Technology” - and surely, this is worthy? To quote:

[..a number of environmental problems, including contamination of water supplies, air pollution, creating minor earthquakes and contributing to climate change, have been identified and have led to the banning of commercial fracking in several countries (including Germany and France) and even within the US (most notably in New York state). ]

and then there's this:

[..the US experience on energy costs is unlikely to be relevant to the UK where world rather than internal market pricing would apply. ]

and this:

[Failure of the well containment casings, perhaps due to earth movement or incorrect installation, could allow leakage of toxic fluid into underground aquifers.]

and this:

[Large quantities of water are needed for fracking and most of the (contaminated) water returns to the surface as ‘flowback’. This imposes requirements for a plentiful water supply and for storage, treatment and disposal facilities at the site. These requirements all carry cost implications as well as environmental risk.]

and this chapter overview:

[Unconventional, Unburnable and Unwanted: why going all out for shale gas is the wrong direction for the UK’s energy policy.]


Sure there are mitigating words in there about strictly enforced regulations (bit difficult with all those cuts to regulators?) as noted here:
[UK Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, which is responsible for funding the main environmental regulator for fracking, the EA, has already absorbed large budget cuts, and passed many of them on to the EA. It is very worrying that the government is now considering the impacts of a further, massive, 40% cut from this budget.]

...and the need for independent checks (bit challenging when you look into the definition of 'independent') covered here:
[The well examiner is an independent competent person separate from the immediate line management of the well operations he is examining. The well examiner can be an employee of the operating company or a contractor (the latter is usually the case for UK onshore wells).]

...but if you take the time - you will find the reasons to say no to fracking. 

Another report out this week that you can trust the credentials of (certainly more than this Nana), the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health research published online in the journal Epidemiology says things like this:

[The growth in the fracking industry has gotten way out ahead of our ability to assess what the environmental and, just as importantly, public health impacts are.]

and this:

[Expectant mothers who live near active natural gas wells operated by the fracking industry in Pennsylvania are at an increased risk of giving birth prematurely and for having high-risk pregnancies..]

and this:

[Study leader Brian S. Schwartz, MD, a professor in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences at the Bloomberg School: “More than 8,000 unconventional gas wells have been drilled in Pennsylvania alone and we’re allowing this while knowing almost nothing about what it can do to health. Our research adds evidence to the very few studies that have been done in showing adverse health outcomes associated with the fracking industry.”]

and this:

[The researchers found that living in the most active quartile of drilling and production activity was associated with a 40 percent increase in the likelihood of a woman giving birth before 37 weeks of gestation (considered pre-term) and a 30 percent increase in the chance that an obstetrician had labeled their pregnancy “high-risk"]

and this:

[The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that preterm-related causes of death together accounted for 35 percent of all infant deaths in 2010, more than any other single cause. Being born prematurely is also a leading cause of long-term neurological disabilities in children.]

Enough yet? How much more information do you need? Is there any amount that would actually succeed? 

There are bans and moratoriums all over the world - put in place by those in office in New York, Scotland, Quebec, France, Bulgaria, Tasmania etc that heard and saw research that caused concern; WHY haven't you heard and seen this? If you have - then what bit did they understand, that you didn't?

I believe you to be more than incompetent; you are behaving in a criminally negligent way and putting the entire population at risk with the decisions you are making. It's not just fracking either, it's all the other decisions you are making (on behalf of the people of this country?) that are reckless, criminal and verging on insane.
Our 'democratic government' is in serious trouble and that means we are too. You need help, you need to seek wise council urgently and you need to stop, now. This can't go on any longer; each day another harsh ruling, another cruel cut, another waste of our money, another selling-off of OUR publicly owned (that's us) properties/services etc. Our parents and theirs, worked, paid taxes and created these publicly owned properties/services - they are not yours to sell.

You never ask us what we want. Your Manifestos only give hints and leave plenty of 'wriggle room' to allow all sorts of abuses of our understanding and interpretation. You falsely claim (and you know it) that the ticking of a box every 5 years, means you have the right to take power and wield it any way you can get away with. Only 24 percent of the eligible UK population voted for you!

You are NOT the 'chosen' - you are the fossilised relics of an antiquated system no longer fit for the times we live in. It is ONLY that the shape of our 'system' of government puts the power in the hands of those 'holding office' - that stops us being able to get you out. Stops us being able to create a system that would notice the huge evolutions in society that are screaming for change.

Heritage is education and fascination - not a way to be perpetuated for time immemorial. A man in tights knocking at the door with his rod looks just plain crazy to most of us. Similarly... people in horse-hair wigs, speaking in ways that seem designed to keep the majority, uninformed of the law... when we need clarity most of all.

Then there's pigs and paedophilia - we really need to get all this stuff out in the open. Maybe the pig is a tale but it is not inconceivable, which is very worrying; we are aware that public school can be very damaging and may involve some bizarre and bullying practices that can then lead to damaged adults who do not adjust to what most perceive as normality. The article offers insightful glimpses into Boarding School Syndrome like this:

[..these institutions, full of emotionally needy and incompetently supervised children, have provided havens and hunting grounds for sexual criminals since their beginning. Hence the extraordinary wave of allegations about historic child abuse in institutions.]

and this:

[..the side-effects of this abrupt intervention in a six- or eight-year-old’s development could be savage. Symptoms that a therapist in boarding school syndrome addresses are problems with anger, depression, anxiety, failure to sustain relationships, fear of abandonment, substance abuse and so forth.]

Very worryingly, you and others who may be damaged too - are in charge of all the important stuff. I do not trust your clarity of thought, wisdom, sincerity or good intent because I believe you need help. This article adds more:

[David Cameron was only seven when he was sent away to board at Heatherdown preparatory school in Berkshire. Like so many of the men who hold leadership roles in Britain, he learned to adapt his young character to survive both the loss of his family and the demands of boarding school culture. The psychological impact of these formative experiences on Cameron and other boys who grow up to occupy positions of great power and responsibility cannot be overstated. It leaves them ill-prepared for relationships in the adult world and the nation with a cadre of leaders who perpetuate a culture of elitism, bullying and misogyny affecting the whole of society.]

I stood outside your conference in Manchester this week, I met those of the tiniest minority that chose you - and I have never been more certain that you are isolated, out of touch and cocooned in a fantasy world, that does not exist beyond your peripheral vision. I also met you George in Tatton, for long enough to feel your discomfort, your obvious sense of being completely out of place and your inability to look people in the eye and chat naturally.

You are though in charge and I have no idea how to change that. 2020 is way too far off to let you have control that long - goodness knows what a mess we'll be in buy then. So how do we do it?

Lots of us have genuine questions in need of answers: How do we remove our current government when it is clearly dangerous? What legal recourse do we have? How does this work? The MUST surely be a way that doesn't involve a bloody revolution? How then do we initiate some sort of 'holding pattern' whilst we throw some amazing minds at designing a system that is fit for a world that is not about ritual, tradition, bullying and abuse - but a world full of technological potential, creativity, ingenuity and possibility?

I look forward to your reply.

Tina Louise Rothery
Nana


Saturday, 3 October 2015

Thank you LUSH...


The opportunity to say thank you to the hard-working and very generous people who work with LUSH... at their conference in Bournemouth September 2015. The kindness of this organisation has helped to transport activists, print important information for sharing and helped to amplify the message of the anti-fracking movement in particular:



Tomorrow ...we remember:

TOMORROW... we remember just where it is that our actions should be directed:
- to the system that says fracking is a risk worth taking here in the UK
- to the system that says it's ok to bail out banks but not ok to bail out people
- to the system that says it's ok for trade agreements like TTIP to be signed without consideration of the effects on WE the people
- to the system that spends our taxes on weapons as a priority - rather than ensuring adequate funding for our sick, our poor, our old and our struggling
- to the system that says it's ok to use those weapons on people in countries you and I don't have a problem with
- to the system that accepts the death of a child as 'collaterral damage'
- to the system that reacts to and creates divisions, shortage and threat rather than the unity, hope, positivity, renewable, regenerating energy of us
...along this activist journey there are personal and individual challenges and issues - but none is so great as the challenge of wrestling back our power from the hands of those in office who abuse it.
It is less about the party than the SYSTEM that allows (encourages?) the politics of the UK to represent industry BEFORE the people. We fight our causes - fracking, war, debt, NHS, austerity, education, homelessness etc. but these are in reality the SYMPTOMS of a DISEASE at the core of our DEMOCRACY.
See you tomorrow heart emoticon




Friday, 18 September 2015

Unpredictable cells...

This activism thing is far from easy; often frustrating, deeply intrusive, hugely time-consuming, life-changing and although it brings us to a place of self-empowerment and a life of genuine purpose - it can drain and exhaust, frustrate and infuriate. The anti-fracking movement in particular is one that because it affects air and water - affects EVERYONE... and so the people standing up to it, come from every walk of life. We find each other unusual sometimes, question motives and tactics, think to ourselves: "I would NEVER do an action that way." etc.
For every activist action that I have disliked and not agreed with personally - I have likely done one that makes someone else feel this way. BUT so long as we are all chipping away at the edges of the target (the fracking industry and the government that gives it permission) it is good - because we are not one mass that can be attacked by industry/government - we are many little cells of unpredictable behaviour coming at it from all sides, using a huge variety of tactics. This works - we are not yet fracking in the UK! Four years ago the industry expected to be underway - now all they have is test drills and a lot of expense to go along with a very informed and growing amount of opposition smile emoticon
We are succeeding - every day that there is a frack-free UK, is down to what each of us is doing ...in our own ways. Be it sharing online, marching in demos, holding protection camps, fighting legal challenges, researching the credibility of documents, exposing corrupt politicians, bothering Francis Egan, giving evidence, holding public meetings, waving banners at roadsides, making videos, livestreaming events, fundraising for fines, risking arrest, slowing trucks, doing media interviews, engaging in debates... talking to the neighbours - it ALL helps and it ALL works in its crazy, disorganised, un-collaborated yet rather beautiful way.
I discovered early on in this, that telling other activists how to do their activism is not helpful - the best is for each to act in their own way... we then find ourselves in good company when our ways match. I feel blessed to have Nanas and Protectors as my closest companions on the journey.
The movement is vast and when bits of it upset me - I look wider... spent time yesterday loving the actions of Australian and Pennsylvanian activists and felt soothed and reassured that what we see in our immediate view - is NOT the full picture. Much love and respect to all who aim at the target with good intent.


Saturday, 12 September 2015

War on Fracking

Quote before action:
When we see dictators inflicting dangerous industry or chemical attacks on their own people, we are in uproar and our government acts. When democracy is abused by governments acting in the interests of industry and influential individuals whilst ignoring the will of the people, again our government acts. Yet here in the UK, OUR government is seeking to use dangerous practices, chemicals and waste dumping that will put residents at risk for generations to come. Yet here in the UK, OUR government is indicating that it will seek  to overturn a decision made here in Lancashire by Councillors representing the people of Lancashire because it took too long and they don't like the outcome. What democracy? What safeguards? What voice the people?
 
And so it is with the deepest sadness and regret that we find ourselves, we residents, mothers. grandmothers and children of Lancashire... here today to confront what can only be described as a dictatorship. In a true democracy we would have been heard the first time and not be about to be dragged into legal wrangles that we cannot afford to win, with opponents so powerful they dwarf us and silence our voices. today we roar in an uncommon declaration of war on fracking... because if we don't take steps to protect ourselves, our government certainly won't.


Yesterday's anti-fracking action involving Vivienne Westwood, a bus-load of Nanas and a tank at David Cameron's house - all in under 2 mins! Thanks to Cheryl Atkinson for photography - words to tune under video) x




NEW WORDS to 'Dad's Army' theme-tune ...

NAN'S ARMY
(Chorus)
Who do you think you are kidding Mr Cameron,
if you think we're on the run
We are the Nanas that will stop your fracking game.
We are the Nanas that will make you think again.
Cause who do you think you are kidding Mr Cameron
If you think old England's done

The Nanas have come to your town to tell you fracking's done
We're going home this evening for a cuppa and a bun
So watch out Mr Cameron you have met your match in us
If you think you can frack us
We're afraid you've missed the bus

Chorus
Cause who do you think you are kidding Mr Cameron
If you think we're on the run
We are the Nanas who will stop your fracking game
We are the Nanas who will make you think again
Cause who do you think you are kidding Mr Cameron
If you think old England's done






Wednesday, 19 August 2015

The Obligation...

Was chatting earlier to someone who was wondering about being a 'Nana' (the activist kind in a yellow tabard-type) - so I tried to sum up the 'Nana' thing...




Our 'Nana' status is not so much biological... more about a state of mind. We have young male and female Nanas who don't have children and all sorts. Vivienne Westwood and Natalie Bennett are Nanas too (even have their own Tabards). We wanted to protect our communities from the harmful effects fracking would bring and needed the media to stop categorising and labelling us as being: 'eco activists' or 'climate campaigners' etc. 

...We are caring human beings first and foremost - we are informed and we do this because we are OBLIGED to future generations; to ensure they can rely on fresh air and clean water. So I strongly suspect... you are a Nana xxx


Writing it made me aware too of just WHY we actually ARE unstoppable - because we are not choosing activism, we are obligated to do this. How can any of us say it's ok to let fracking happen - that the risks don't count anymore - that generations to come don't matter enough? That would be negligent and impossible.

For me... every exit door has my granddaughter's face on it and I can't get out till I fulfill my obligation to her (and everyone else's grandchildren).

I hope we all find our 'inner-Nana'...


Thursday, 13 August 2015

Government tantrum


The Government announcement today that decisions on fracking can be taken out of Local Council hands and made by Central Government is a slap in the face not only of those opposing fracking but of anyone believing in democratic process. Ministers said the planning application dragged on and needed to be speeded up; for the benefit of who? Certainly NOT for communities looking for assurance that all aspects are considered and our health and safety are paramount.

This situation didn’t ‘drag on’ as today’s release stated, it took as long as required for a decision to be made. High Volume Hydraulic Fracturing is a new industry and there is a great deal to consider; it cannot be rushed through, just to satisfy ministers and industry.



This decision makes a mockery of government claims about localism and empowering communities. Our Councillors acted according to the evidence presented and the time it took to make the decision was largely a factor of obtaining accurate and thorough information from the fracking company.  The statement today is an insult to the hard work the Councillors have put in and obnoxiously ignores the wishes of the local community.


How many objection letters and how much evidence does it take to say no to this industry? Will this just go on until the industry and government get their way; regardless of local considerations? The Secretary of State for COMMUNITIES is to be permitted to make the decision on fracking applications ALONE; Greg Clark’s title smacks in the face of his powers.


Energy Secretary Amber Rudd has said since getting the job that she WILL ‘deliver shale’ and our Prime Minister has said he is ‘going all out for shale’; the missing voices here are our Councillors and the communities they represent. This has been such a battle every step of the way and it shouldn’t have been. Why is this people vs. Government? What on earth does ‘democracy’ mean in David Cameron’s mind?
By contrast, in June the government gave greater powers to communities to object to wind farms. We’re going backwards to dictatorial rule and embedding ourselves in a fossilised past as other countries surge forward with the jobs, lowered costs and reduced risks of renewable energy.

*NOTE:
Here are a few quotes from David Cameron's speech to local government leaders in 2011, which stands in contrast to today's announcement:
......

"I believe that our agenda of localism is one the most exciting things we are doing in government...
When we see a problem, we don’t ask what central government can do, we ask what can local people do, what can councils do...
Yes, we’re giving you [councils] this power. And yes, we’re doing that because we trust you."