Strong European Fracking Opposition Produces Further Successes

By Andy Gheorghiu

Food & Water Europe You Can't Frack HereSome folks might still think that the people can’t really change politics or don’t really have an impact on the decisions of politicians and companies. I don’t! Not because it is easy to work for a change but because it is hard. Not because I like to negate the reality of the political and economical interlinkage but because I know that the people always have the ultimate power … if they were only willing to exercise their power more frequently.

Well, I can tell you that the European fracktivists did exercise their power to change more than once. And they are still willing to do it over and over again.

Yes, our fracking struggle isn’t over yet and it’s still a rocky road to climb until we reach the mountain top of a frack-free globe. But the latest good news from Europe again shows that it’s definitely worth the trouble.

You Said It: Factory Farms Have Got To Go

By Eve Mitchell

ChristinafromOrkneyonFishFarmingFoodandWaterEuropeI asked for it, and I got it. Lucky me!

I asked people all over the UK what they think about factory farming. From Orkney to the Isle of Wight, you’ve got stories. Some of them are sad, and some of them are wise, but all of them show why we need to make sure the last factory farm to get planning permission really was the last factory farm.

Too cruel

We’re known the world over as a nation of animal lovers, and boy did you tell me that rules out meat factories. Christina from Orkney tells it like it is: “Factory farming is cruel; really cruel.”

Eva from Cambridge knows it’s also about respect for the animals. She says, “Their lives are very short compared with the lives of their wild counterparts. If we take their lives at an early age, the least we can do is give them a good life while it lasts.”

Quiet Win Keeps Factory Farms in Check

By Eve Mitchell

We're Stoppint Factory FarmsUK Government silliness just took a big hit. Thank goodness.

Those of you with long memories will know about ongoing UK plans to let business regulate itself. From the Business Focus on Enforcement, to the Red Tape Challenge, to the current Cutting Red Tape project, it’s pretty much the same story: The government asks Big Business if it would like less enforcement of fewer regulations, and, no surprise, Big Business says, “Yes, please!”

Super Mario Bros Vs. the European Commission

By David Sánchez

FoodandWaterEuropeActNowRightToWaterEvery Tuesday evening, an office in the second district of Rome opens its doors in an old cinema to provide information to families whose water supply has been cut-off for not being able to pay the bills. This self-organized group called Bastadistacchi puts families in touch with Super Mario and his patrol of water activists, who break the seal installed by the water company so those families can have their right to water.

A few months ago, the regional Ombudsman from Andalusia, in southern Spain, published a new report stating that water poverty is a severe problem after many years of austerity policies. Some sources estimate around one million water cut-off warning letters are sent every year in Spain. Just one company, Agbar-Suez, admitted that they initiate 12.000 water cut-offs per month. The regional ombudsman was concerned about the situation suffered by many families who cannot afford to pay water bills, and advocated for regulation guaranteeing that nobody can be deprived from access to water for economic reasons.

How Does Big Oil & Gas Get Its Way?

By Geert Decock

Food & Water Europe's Geert Decock
Food & Water Europe’s Geert Decock

Last week, I received a couple of calls and emails about the announcement that the gas sector will receive EUR 207 million for a total of nine so-called “Projects of Common Interest”. The bulk of this taxpayers’ money – just under EUR 180 million – will go to a project of a Romanian gas distribution company to build a gas pipeline connecting Member States in the southeastern part of the EU to a gas hub in Austria. To put this in context, six “Projects of Common Interest” investing in better-connected grid infrastructure received EUR 10 million. What can explain this grotesque difference? And how does Big Oil & Gas get its way?

Fracking: How Bad Is It?

By Geert Decock

CouldGoWrongFoodWaterEuropeBanFracking

Fracking is a bad idea. But how bad is fracking? Pretty awful, particularly if you are confronted with dozens of rigs, fracking equipment, trucks and spills, … But exactly how bad is fracking? Stubborn scientists are digging deep to find out more about the dirty secrets of the fracking industry. The scientists that advised the US Environmental Protection Agency about the impacts of fracking on water rejected the greenwashing communication about their report, which “does not reflect the uncertainties and data limitations described in the body of the Report”. Just before Christmas, other scientists published an article confirming that oil and gas operations in Texas leak almost twice as much gas as has been estimated. That gas, so-called fugitive methane, is a very powerful greenhouse gas and even a little bit of leakage calls into question the status of gas as low-carbon or a transition fuel. To top it off, researchers at Yale University found that many of the fluids used in and created by fracking have been linked to reproductive and developmental health problems.