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

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