Blog Posts

December 4th, 2015

Paris By Night – But Then Different

By Geert Decock

Global Frackdown to ParisI arrived on Thursday afternoon in Paris. As a tourist to Paris, you are faced with the impossible decision about which places to visit first: Eiffel tower, Arc de Triomphe, Champs Elysees… the list is endless and well-known. With the terrorist attacks fresh in my memory, my first visit was to the Bataclan club in the lively 11th district of Paris to pay my respect to the victims. I also biked past Place de la République where a lot of political demonstrations in France start, as the statues on the square symbolize the three key principles – liberty, equality and fraternity – of the French republic. As you can see from the pictures, the memory of the attacks is still very fresh… thousands of flowers and candles commemorate the victims.

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November 24th, 2015

Give Us a Fracking Break

By Eve Mitchell

Who thinks creating earthquakes is a good ideaIt’s not just me. People all over Europe are getting really fed up with fracking. We know, because we asked you what you think, and boy did the message come back loud and clear.

Teofan from Romania is worried about families forced to try to live near fracking wells. “I feel sorry for them, as their most basic of human rights has been infringed upon.” Jonathan from the UK says, “I feel great sympathy with families who have fracking forced upon them.” Lionel, Leslie and Diana, all from the UK, feel sorry for families facing fracking, too, and they’re joined by Helena from Germany and Sérgio from Portugal.

People have a lot to tell us, but mostly they feel bad for those caught up in the fracking whirlwind. Angela from Germany even says, “If I could, I would take them to a safe land, without fracking neighbours.”

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November 18th, 2015

No Water in the Land of Plenty

By Marek Szilvasi, European Roma Rights Centre

Water Is a Human RightThe Human Right to Water and Sanitation is still not a reality in Europe. All across the continent there are people living without access to clean water, and many of them are Roma. Europe is home to 10-12 million Roma people.

Since 2014 the European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC) – an international public interest organisation working to combat anti-Romani racism and human rights abuse of Roma – has been conducting research on access to safe and affordable drinking water and sanitation in Romani neighbourhoods in seven countries. We have focused on analysing problems with accessibility, affordability, and quality of drinking water resources, as well as with sanitation in Romani neighbourhoods and settlements. The research has also examined potential cases of ethnic discrimination in the distribution and availability of these public utilities.

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November 16th, 2015

Victory in the European Parliament: A U-turn On Fracking!

By Geert Decock

Food & Water Europe You Can't Frack HereSUMMARY: Ahead of the upcoming climate negotiations in Paris, our activists are helping turn the tide on fracking in Europe.

Earlier this month, as part of the Global Frackdown to Paris, we released a letter signed by over 1,250 groups in 64 countries, sending a strong signal to the world’s leaders that fracking and extreme energy extraction must not be part of any plan to tackle climate change that comes out of the international climate conference in Paris later this month.

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October 21st, 2015

Another Day, Another Distraction for the Human Right to Water

By David Sánchez

New Mantras, Old Problems

WaterIsAHumanRightThere is a new mantra in the EU water debate: transparency. The European Commission, after ignoring the nearly two million signatures asking for the implementation of the Human Right to Water and Sanitation, is trying to keep people busy by launching a number of bureaucratic initiatives, based on mantras like transparency.

But what does transparency mean? For many private water operators it seems that overflowing people with technical data can be enough. But If I think on what information is important to me, my first thoughts go the quality of the water I am drinking. I would also like to understand my water bill and my taxes, so I can know where my money is going. Is it being invested to improve water infrastructure? In measures to control pollution of our water resources? To guarantee the right to water of those facing economic problems? Or is it going to the shareholders of a multinational company?

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October 16th, 2015

Fracking Mad? Sad? Share Your Story

By Eve Mitchell
TellUsWyFoodandWaterEuropeYouCantFrackHere

The good news is that we’ve got fracking on the run here in the EU.

More and more companies realise that fracking simply doesn’t pay.

Some of the greediest of companies have not yet given up, however. They are pressing hard to frack, even though we know that this extreme and unsafe method of extracting fossil fuels from the ground harms our drinking water, health, environment and climate. It also prevents us from moving into renewable energy.

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October 9th, 2015

Hard To Keep Up. Get the Latest on the #GlobalFrackdown and More.

By Geert Decock

Global Frackdown to ParisHere I am, busily preparing for the Global Frackdown. We are planning a delivery action of our awesome sign-on letter in Brussels to our elected officials, preparing a global gathering of anti-fracking activists during the climate summit in Paris (stay tuned for more details), and generally keeping up with the latest developments on shale gas in Brussels.

For example, we officially launched our latest report ‘Fracking Business (As Usual)’ last week, which clearly demonstrates how the European Commission’s soft-touch approach of the fracking industry is failing to protect the environment and health of European citizens. For starters, its ‘Recommendation’ on fracking, issued almost two years ago, is non-binding. The Recommendation is also quite vague on a number of crucial issues such as the chemicals used in fracking and the way fracking wastewater will be treated. Our report also details how the European Union institutions rely e.g. mainly on industry operators to establish a baseline on key environmental parameters. Needless to say that appealing to the better nature of Big Oil and Gas and pro-fracking governments of Poland and the UK has not made any difference on the ground.

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October 8th, 2015

GM Crops in Europe – Bans Leave Nowhere To Hide

By Eve Mitchell

Act to to Ban GM crops

What a result! Too bad about poor old England.

In a rush of requests to meet the 3 October deadline, 19 of the 28 EU Member States grabbed the chance to lodge formal requests to opt out of genetically modified (GM) crops using new powers brought into law earlier this year. This means that not only do a majority of countries want out of the GM crop experiment in all or part of their territories, but they represent over two-thirds of Europe’s population and two-thirds of our cropland.

The message is clear – we don’t want GM agriculture.

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September 28th, 2015

Fracking in Romania: Gone, but Hardly Forgotten

By Marina Stefan, Romanian Anti-Fracking Activist

Food & Water Europe Romania FrackdownIn February 2015, oil and gas industry giant Chevron announced that they were suspending plans to begin fracking in Romania. But the fight for a ban on fracking in the country is far from over. Romanian anti-fracking activist Marina Stefan shares an update on the state of shale gas exploration in her country and what the future of drilling in Romania could look like.

New Players, New Fracking Permits

Despite Chevron’s retreat from fracking in Romania this past February, there is still an interest from the corporation and others to pursue the exploitation of our country’s natural resources. The ANRM (National Authority for Mineral Resources) has issued at least 16 permits for the exploration of shale gas to Chevron, NIS-Gazprom, MOL-Hungary, East West Petroleum, Clara Petroleum, Universal Premium and ADX.

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Two and a half million Europeans say, “Stop TTIP!”

By Eve Mitchell

Say no to TTIPThat’s a lot of people. Folks aren’t happy about TTIP. They’re right to worry.

Promises from politicians keep rolling in about how much we’ll all benefit, but it doesn’t add up – more exports can’t fix everyone’s economic problems. Big companies support TTIP, and they’ve got the lobbying power to back them up. Only 4 percent of EU Commission lobbying meetings surveyed were with public interest groups – 92 percent were with private sector lobbyists.

When it comes to TTIP, being big matters. Whatever they say in public, behind the scenes big business knows who will win, and who will lose, under TTIP. Even the UK Confederation of British Industry says TTIP gains for small- and medium-sized businesses are “hypothetical“. Big business is also perfectly happy if TTIP erodes our right to make new rules to protect us and our environment since it makes their jobs easier.

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