Highlights: The Second International Day to Ban Fracking

Across the world last weekend, communities rose up and came together to call for a ban on fracking in the second Global Frackdown.



By Mark Schlosberg

Food & Water Watch staff in Brussels.

Across the world last weekend, communities rose up and came together to call for a ban on fracking in the second Global Frackdown. From France to Argentina, Australia to South Africa, India to Mexico and all across the United States, actions took place opposing fracking and related projects like frac sand mining, pipelines and other infrastructure projects. It was a beautiful and powerful day for the anti-fracking movement and shows our movement stronger and more unified than ever.

The largest rallies were in Europe, where 3500 people rallied in Montelimar, and 2500 people gathered in Saint-Claude to say no to fracking. France’s high court recently upheld the country’s ban on fracking, but organizers are concerned that experimentation is still possible. These were the two largest of several actions happening across France.

In eastern Romania, a thousand people demonstrated in Pungesti and 700 people took to the streets in Barlad to protest against Chevron’s attempts to explore and develop shale gas. Actions in solidarity with these local communities took place in the capital Bucharest. Resistance has been growing, since the government has failed to be transparent about the licenses that were given to Chevron in 2012.

In South America, people marched against Fracking in Argentina, where communities have already successfully organized for several local bans but fracking remains a significant threat. In Africa, actions were held in Tunisia and Senegal, and hundreds rallied in South Africa against
plans by Shell to frack in the Karoo. In India, where the government is moving towards fracking, there was a Gasland screening and strategy session in New Delhi. Likewise, in Indonesia, water justice activists reacted to recent fracking proposals by hosting a discussion about fracking, and in Australia, activists rallied in Perth and Geelong.Over two dozen actions took place across Spain and events were organized across the UK with support of Friends of the Earth. Other actions took place across Europe in Ireland, Germany, Ukraine, Lithuania and Poland and elsewhere.

In North America, there were many larger actions across the United States and Canada and a large screening of Gasland in Mexico. Many of the actions in Canada expressed solidarity with Elsipogtog First Nation, which was subject to a police raid of their anti-fracking blockade last week. There were also expressions of support from Europe and the United States. For more information on that developing situation, see here.

In the United States, actions were held in at least 28 states including a rally of 1,000 people in Manhattan to pressure Governor Cuomo to ban fracking. Cuomo was scheduled to appear at a brunch in the city, but cancelled his appearance at the last minute in what is becoming a pattern of avoiding the strong and growing anti-fracking movement in the state.

Several other actions of between 50 and 200 people were held across New York. In California, over 200 people rallied in Oakland to pressure Governor Brown to issue a moratorium on fracking, one of over a dozen actions across the Golden State. Two hundred people rallied in Chicago on the 18th urging that no permits allowing fracking be issued in the state, while hundreds came out the week before in Southern Illinois to stand against fracking. And in Pittsburgh, over 7000 gathered for the Power Shift conference that had a strong anti-fracking theme, including a rally on the 19th in support of protecting parks in the state from fracking and a second action on the 21st against fracking and other dirty energy extraction methods and fuel sources and in support of a clean energy future.

It wasn’t just fracking that people were speaking out about, but also related activities. In Iowa there was a forum on frac sand mining; in Oregon, Kentucky, New York and New Jersey, residents spoke out against against pipelines; and in New York, Oregon and New Jersey, the spoke out against export facilities and other infrastructure projects.

There were also many creative actions including a “Frack of the Dead” zombie themed action, a bicycle tour and rally, a “Travelling John” action in Ohio featuring a large toilet in opposition to fracking waste, an interactive light projection in Maryland, and a message against fracking from the light brigade in Fresno, CA. In several locations, people viewed screenings of Gasland or Gasland II, appropriate on a day when Josh Fox and the film were recognized for best documentary at the Environmental Media Awards (congratulations also to Matt Damon who was recognized for Promised Land and Bill McKibben who received a lifetime achievement award).

Industry has already taken notice of our growing power. With the strength of the actions on Global Frackdown 2 and public opinion moving strongly against fracking as people learn more about its impacts, decision makers will need to take notice, listen to their constituents and protect their community’s water, air, land, and climate from fracking and related activities.Overall – it was a tremendous and positive day for our movement, and it’s a good way to mark our growing power. Last year the Global Frackdown had 200 actions; this year it had well over 250. Last year 20 countries participated; this year 30 participated. The success of this event is due to the participation of over 350 partner organizations (also a massive increase over last year when 180 organizations participated).

For photos of actions from across the world, check out the album we created on facebook.