Blog Posts: Activism

October 18th, 2017

Food and Water Europe Welcomes a New Campaigner!

By Antoine Tifine

Hi! I’m Antoine, the new campaigns intern at Food & Water Europe in Brussels. I started one month ago and the few things I have done so far, working on issues like factory farms and energy, have been very promising. But, first, let me introduce myself.
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September 8th, 2017

Join the Global Frackdown 2017 – Together We Make a Difference

The Movement to Ban Fracking Is Growing

UPDATE: See photos from the 2017 Global Frackdown

The oil and gas industry is spending millions of dollars on slick public relations campaigns and high-profile lobbying efforts to buy the ability to extract fossil fuels from our communities with as little government oversight as possible. Yet public opinion continues to grow in opposition to fracking.

While the industry is working hard to protect its profits and drown out the worldwide demand for clean, renewable fuels, there is a tremendous movement afoot around the world to protect the climate and the environment.

Since 2012, the Global Frackdown – an international day of action initiated by Food & Water Watch to ban fracking – has helped connect activists across the globe and demonstrated the growing power of the movement to stop fracking, gas infrastructure, sand mining and other related extraction methods. This movement is fueled by increasing scientific evidence of the impact of fracking on water, air, health, seismic stability, communities, and the climate on which we all depend.

Our Demands

The Global Frackdown went to Paris in 2015

The Global Frackdown began as a single international day to fight fracking. In 2015, it took over all of November with The “Global Frackdown to Paris” highlighting our growing movement and building pressure on national leaders to oppose fracking during the United Nations Conference on Climate Change.

We fight to:

  • Stop fracking,
  • Keep fossil fuels in the ground
  • Put a halt on the expansion of liquefied natural gas (LNG) trade
  • Prevent a further fossil lock-in through bad investments in oil and gas infrastructure.

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August 29th, 2017

Tour d’Europe, Part II: Great Victories of the Movement to Ban Fracking

By Tina Callebaut

During my last days as an intern here at Food & Water Europe I would like to take you on a tour of the many different victories against fracking in Europe. As drilling has started in Lancashire despite opposition from local communities, it is now more important than ever to stand together in solidarity to not only halt but prevent fracking projects everywhere by banning the technique and promoting the development of clean renewable energy. Here is a run down of the current state of fracking in Europe.

France

Let’s kick off our tour with a visit to France, where in March 2010, two exploration permits were granted for shale gas. The licenses covered in total an area of around 9.672 km². Massive protests followed, which led the Prime Minister at the time, François Fillon, to declare a moratorium on the exploration of shale gas in 2011, which prohibits the exploration and exploitation of liquid or gaseous hydrocarbons through hydrofracturing and cancels the exploration permits for projects where hydraulic fracturing would be used. France’s Constitutional Court confirmed the constitutionality of the ban and the revocation of the permits in October 2013.

Sounds great, right? Unfortunately, the law only prohibits the use of hydraulic fracturing, but does not impose a ban on the exploration or exploitation of gas through other techniques. As the technique is not clearly defined by the law, small changes and new innovations might already have the ability to circumvent this ban. However, in June 2017, the French minister of environmental transition announced that there would no longer be any permits granted for the exploration or extraction of hydrocarbons in France. Nice one, France!

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July 3rd, 2017

How Our Fossil Fuel Addiction is Ruining Our Oceans

By Taylor Avery of Food & Water Watch

Across the globe, people purchase about 20,000 plastic bottles every second. The vast majority of these bottles are not recycled and end up in landfills or in the ocean. It’s escalating into a major environmental crisis, and the fossil fuel industry is partially to blame.

While many of these bottles are made out of polyethylene terephthalate (PET), a highly recyclable material, efforts to recycle fail to keep up with the growing rate at which people use plastic bottles. Moreover, major food corporations continue to manufacture demand for soda and bottled water, packaged mainly in plastic, which takes hundreds of years to decompose.

In 2010, nearly 200 coastal countries generated over 275 million tons of plastic waste. In 2016, 480 billion tons of plastic drinking bottles were sold across the world. A report conducted by the National Association for PET Container Resources (NAPCOR) found only about 30 percent of PET bottles in the U.S. (most bottled water bottles) were recycled in 2015. Major drink brands like Coca-Cola produce the greatest number of plastic bottles, but the top six beverage companies package their products in bottles that use very little recycled PET. That mostly unrecycled plastic ends up in the ocean where it is consumed by wildlife.

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May 17th, 2017

Frackopoly Tour: England, Scotland, Northern Ireland & Ireland

By Andy Gheorghiu

In many ways, hydraulic fracturing (fracking) looms as the environmental issue of our time. It touches every aspect of our lives—the water we drink, the air we breathe, and the health of our communities—as it ominously threatens our global climate. It pits the largest corporate giants—international energy and financial corporations—against people and the environment in a long-term struggle for survival.

Fracking has, through the construction of a network of thousands of wells, a significant impact on communities and culturally or environmentally sensitive zones in England, Scotland, Ireland, Northern Ireland and Wales, among other areas in Europe. Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland have already recognized the need to act against this corporate assault and have prepared the first steps towards fracking bans. Sadly, up until now, the UK government has done little to confront the devastating environmental and public health impacts of fracking.

In a historic vote at the beginning of this year, Ireland opted in favour of a law that will make the green island the world’s first country to fully divest from fossil fuels. On Europe Day, 9 May 2017, the committee on Communications, Climate Action and Environment passed the bill banning oil and gas extraction through fracking in Ireland, paving the way for a final vote later this year. The Scottish Government is currently holding a public consultation until the end of May and hopes are that the overwhelming evidence of the negative impacts caused by fracking will also finally lead to a ban in Scotland. People can still support the “Take Action to Ban Fracking Now!” campaign by FoE Scotland.

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May 3rd, 2017

Another Step Towards a Global Ban on Fracking: Argentina Wins First Victory

By Frida Kieninger

The vibrant movement to ban fracking worldwide can celebrate another victory: On 25 April, the Chamber of Deputies in the Argentinian province Entre Ríos unanimously approved a law prohibiting fracking. Unconventional exploration and exploitation of hydrocarbons, including fracking, will be forbidden following the new law, making Entre Ríos the first Argentinian province to ban the risky practice.

Behind this remarkable victory, there is a long, stony path that different organizations and social movements walked together, working hard across the country, notably in Río Negro, Santa Fe, Buenos Aires and Neuquén. The decision in Entre Ríos should also be a wake-up call for regions beyond the Argentinian border like Bolivia, Mexico, Colombia, Paraguay and Chile. There have been many successful initiatives in different Latin American countries: for example, several Brazilian cities banned fracking and five Departments in Uruguay prohibited the dangerous technique.

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April 25th, 2017

The Food & Water Europe Team Grows!

By Tina Callebaut

I recently started an internship of six months at Food & Water Europe and I am the newest addition to the small international Brussels-based team. During my first week I got to know the team a little better, I was given a tour around the ecologically renovated office building Mundo-B (which we share with 60 other NGOs) and I was introduced to the many issues Food & Water Europe is working and campaigning on. There was (and still is) a lot of information to take in, not to mention the many acronyms involved: PCI’s, RES, CEF, SGC, TAP, ECI, etc.… But I can only be very grateful for the warm welcome I’ve received in this small Spanish-Austrian-German working family.

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March 6th, 2017

Blog: Celts Oppose Fracking While Dragon Ships Bring U.S. Fracked Gas

By Andy Gheorghiu

In a historic vote at the beginning of this year, Ireland opted in favour of a law that will make the green island the world’s first country to fully divest from fossil fuels. This goes even further than the decision by the 2015 decision of Norwegian parliament to divest the country’s sovereign wealth fund from dozens of coal-related investments.

And it’s not the only clear movement of the Celtic Tiger towards a much needed post-fossil future. On October 27, a bill calling for a fracking ban passed its first hurdle in the Irish House of Representatives (Dáil Éireann). In the meantime, Irish officials have also decided to undertake a public consultation on the provisions of this bill together with the Joint Research Programme on the Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing on the Environment and Human Health, led by the Irish Environmental Protection Agency.

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February 3rd, 2017

Fracking, Health and Regulations: What the EU-Commission is (NOT!) doing about it – Part I

By Andy Gheorghiu and Frida Kieninger

In November 2016, the EU-Commission organized a “workshop on public health impacts and risks resulting from oil and gas extraction.Behind this title are mainly questions around fracking and a hesitant attempt by the Environment Directorate General (DG ENV) – historically the most supporting part of the Commission concerning environmental issues – to find out more about its impacts on public health.

Scientists from the U.S. and Europe, as well as industry representatives and NGOs, had their say at the workshop. While the public health impacts of oil and gas extraction though fracking in the U.S. have been analyzed in several studies, most were sponsored by the oil and gas industry and are seriously biased towards its interests. Nonetheless, there is an enormous amount of evidence that fracking negatively affects public health, as confirmed and acknowledged by this compendium of scientific, medical and media findings.

However, authorities still think that there is a lack of data. This is mainly due to the public’s dependency on industry to obtain information about fracking chemicals, injection mixtures, amounts, and due to the absence of much needed baseline studies, measuring indicators before hydrocarbon production.

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January 26th, 2017

2017 – Food & Water Europe Is Ready To Stand Its Ground

By Andy Gheorghiu, Frida Kieninger, David Sánchez

Many people said 2016 was a bad year. And there were many reasons: the result of the US elections, Brexit, or the high toll of environmental activists that were killed for standing for their communities around the globe. We don’t know what 2017 will look like, but we are sure that we want to be ready for some of the challenges we will find for our food, our water, our climate and our democracy. Together, we need to make 2017 a better year. And united we will have the power to do so!

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