Anti-fracking next up in new wave of climate action

Following on from today’s school walkouts, next weekend will see the start of this year’s spring offensive against the unpopular gas extraction method, with Bristol being the latest to confirm an action.

The Youth Strike 4 Climate movement walkouts, part of a global series of youth strikes, have drawn tens of thousands of young people out of their classrooms at more than 60 schools today to demand that action be taken to slow climate change beyond the decades of platitudes which have previously been offered by world leaders.

Among the more spectacular actions has been a spontaneous occupation of Westminster Bridge by the main London march, while roads were blocked around Parliament Square and Whitehall, and traffic held up at Trafalgar Square. Other large turnouts took place in Glasgow, Bristol and Edinburgh

In the afternoon a photograph published on Twitter showed police horses had been deployed, with the writer alleging that they were being used to push back the crowd of children.

The rapid rise of the strike call, sparked by the actions of 15-year-old Swedish school striker Greta Thunberg, has taken schools and the government by surprise but has been welcomed by climate change protectors — whose own actions for 2019 will be ramping up in a few days’ time.

Strikes have been springing up worldwide with a major showing in Brussels last month and a worldwide strike in the offing for March 15th.

The Brussels youth strike on January 24th

Anti-frack action

The weekend of Friday 22nd-23rd will see a series of anti-fracking direct actions aiming to disrupt the fracking supply chain and new gas infrastructure, which continues to grind forward with Cuadrilla’s site at Preston new Road taking the lead despite repeated earthquake problems.

Environmental, anti-fracking and grassroot groups including Reclaim the Power, Fuel Poverty Action, Frack Free Leeds and Preston New Road crews are involved in the callout, and actions have been confirmed in Bristol, London, Leeds and Cambridge (see below). The groups are uniting around a platform calling for:

  • Clean, affordable and publicly-owned energy in warm, well-insulated homes.
  • A just transition away from fossil gas – that puts workers in polluting industries at the centre of the conversation.
  • An immediate end to fracking

In Lancaster meanwhile the Earth First Winter Moot from February 22nd-24th is aiming to discuss the next steps for radical environmentalism and will similarly be theming its workshops and talks around fighting fracking, opencast coal, GM, nuclear power, new road building and quarries.

The bi-annual Moot is taking place at Halton Mill, Hill Lane in Halton, Lancaster and costs £25/30 with food included and an indoor sleeping space.

Weekend events list

Bristol: February 22nd outside SSE offices, 1pm-3pm

The protest is being organised by climate action group Bristol Rising Tide and will hear from Residents Against Dirty Energy (RADE) as well as the C.H.E.E.S.E. Project which helps Bristol residents increase the energy efficiency of houses. SSE are planning to build three new gas plants: Keadby 2 in Lincolnshire is already under construction and two further plants planned for South Wales and West Yorkshire are in the planning stages.

London: February 22nd at Centrica HQ, Millstream, Maidenhead Road, Windsor, 11am-12.30pm

Putting the spotlight on Centrica – the multinational company that owns British Gas – and their major investments in Cuadrilla. When huge corporations like Centrica fund fracking, they’re not just content with fuelling climate breakdown, they’re backing an energy source that keeps energy bills high and means more people going cold – or not eating. This colourful direct action will expose the links between finance, fracking and fuel poverty.

Leeds: February 22nd at Leeds Environment Agency

Reclaim the Power and Frack Free Leeds are highlighting the links between fracking companies and those that support them by targeting the Knostrop Treatment Works. A waste disposal site and one of a few with a permit to treat liquid fracking waste. Local people have made it clear that we don’t want fracking at places like Preston New Road and they certainly don’t want waste and by-products of fracking polluting in their communities.

Cambridge: February 22nd at HSBC, 63-64 St Andrew’s St from 12.30pm