18.04.14. - […]
Fracking not only has a range of serious local environmental impacts, including risks of air and water contamination, but it also radically undermines efforts to tackle the climate crisis – which in turn means our children will inherit a much more hazardous world. Many of my constituents have written to raise their concerns about this with me. Our peaceful protest in August 2013 was designed to raise greater awareness about the dangers of fracking, and to put pressure on the government to change course.
Experts are clear that we need to leave around 80% of known fossil fuel reserves in the ground if we're to have any chance of avoiding dangerous climate change. With this in mind, it makes no sense to start a new industry extracting shale oil and gas.
That's why I decided to join the peaceful protest in Balcombe. There is a proud tradition of nonviolent direct action in this country, and I believe that using peaceful means to try to stop a process that will cause enormous damage is not only reasonable, but also morally necessary.
My acquittal and that of my four other co-defendants yesterday is a huge relief, but it's by no means a cause for celebration. That will only happen when David Cameron announces an end to fracking, and invest instead in cleaner, greener energy sources.
Fittingly, people in Balcombe are showing the way again. Last month saw the launch of REPOWERBalcombe, a new community energy company set up by local residents with the aim of generating the equivalent of 100% of the village's electricity from clean, renewable energy. This initiative and many like them are the way forward, creating genuine energy security, lower emissions, lower fuel bills and more jobs – not ever more government support for a dirty, polluting dinosaur of an industry that should be well down its evolutionary path to extinction.