Towards Paris 2015: Some questions for how we organise in the youth climate movement

How the world responds to climate change in the next three years will shape the future of our planet. Climate change is the playing field on which all other social justice struggles are now being fought. I really feel that this is one of those “where were you” points in history. In years to come future generations will ask us what we were doing when we needed to stop the climate crisis. But it’s also a point to stop and reflect, or at least to try and get better at reflecting as we go. Some important questions for how we organise include:

  • How do we build an inclusive and diverse climate movement?

  • How do we communicate our message effectively?

  • How do we work strategically for climate justice?

These are questions I spend a lot of time thinking about and working on, and I’d like to share some thoughts here.

  1. How do we build an inclusive and diverse climate movement?

The chance to be involved in climate activism with young people across Europe is an enormous privilege which not many people get. As a young, white man who has had good educational opportunities I can expect to be very comfortable in the activism and policy spaces where the climate movement operates. I can expect to have my opinion listened to and generally respected, even if if you do not agree with me. When I enter political or policy making arenas I can expect others there to look mostly like me; white men who have had good educational opportunities. The European environmental movement is remarkably homogeneous. That is to say, those engaged often have a similar, privileged background. It is important for our work towards a more just, equitable and sustainable world to make ourselves aware of our privileges. This the first challenge I want to highlight. Our work as climate activists calls for huge changes to the way the world works in order to respond to the climate crisis. But the fact is that we are often amongst the greatest benefactors of how the world works right now. You can see how this could be a conflict of interest! Unless we are actively challenging the structures which give us our privilege then we are helping to maintain them. Practically, this means things like asking ‘why?’ when we find ourselves in rooms full of privilaged, white young people in our climate work- and then working to create more representative spaces.

Duncan Meisel of 350.org writes about the need to build an intersectional movement, one that crosses boundaries to link of all kinds of social and environmental injustices. Our responsibility as climate activists is to ensure that all those who are affected by climate change are supported and empowered to be heard in the conversation, not just those who are as privileged as us. That includes people of colour, Travellers, Roma and Sinti, and marginalised and economically disadvantaged communities. We also need to reflect on how we reinforce gender inequality and patriarchy in our ways of working. By asking this tough question we have the opportunity to strengthen our movement, support greater participation and more diverse perspectives on climate justice.

  1. How do we communicate our message effectively?

We need to tell the story of climate justice in a way that helps others to come to terms with climate change and begin to take action. We’re involved in climate activism, I hope, because we believe that climate change is the greatest threat to social justice, human rights and the earth’s eco-system ever seen. We have seen the evidence from science and believe in the need to take action. But why are so many others not active to solve climate change? I read recently in Organising Cools the Planet the theory that climate sceptics and the Right in general are very convincing because they can tell stories that provide easy solutions to people’s fears and worries. If we are going to support people to come to terms with climate change and begin to take action we need to start creating spaces in our communities where we can have a dialogue, where people can come to terms with their fears and start to embrace alternatives. This is a slow but necessary process.

We also need to think about how we communicate in our campaigns. In the UK the Common Cause research group has shown that negative messages will often fail to motivate people to change, and in fact can reinforce the negative values we are trying to challenge. Think about it: who likes to be criticised for the choices they have made? We unconsciously justify our choices even when they are unjust or unsustainable. We need to be careful about the use of ‘naming and shaming’ in our campaigning. That is necessary at times, but we need to also be able to tell the positive story of alternatives, of sustainable and just communities.

  1. How do we work strategically for climate justice?

I guess the first two questions have began to look at this last one already Here I want to share some quick thoughts:

  • Be aware of our privileges and work to create a diverse climate movement. Just solutions can only be created by including those most affected, and when it comes to climate change they are most often excluded from the debate.

  • Think about how we communicate to help people feel safe about expressing their fears and coming to terms with climate change.

  • Think about actions you can take at all levels, local, regional, national and . It is ok to want to work at different levels, but how can they compliment each other? How can we push for the same objectives no matter what level we want to work on?

  • We need more people to be engaged in more activism! In the youth climate movement we are often very good at “high level” campaigning and lobbying. That is important but it will not be effective without joining up the other levels. How do we work at local level to push up?

  • Political processes are made to seem intimidating, we need to break them down. And the truth is everyone is pretending to know what they are doing when they don’t.

  • Protest is important, but there are other tactics. Who are our allies? Enemies? Blockers? Who do we need to convince/push? What needs to happen in the background before the protest to move the political process?

  • Learning by doing is better than learning then doing. We all make mistakes.

  • Engage in dialogue, build alliances- create our climate movement!

What does all this mean practically?

Good question. These thoughts are written not to say ‘this is how it’s done’, but as part of a process of sense making I am going through. I am trying to deal with these questions in a few specific ways:

1. Working to build alliances between social justice and environmental concerns in Ireland, particularly in my work with the Community Workers’ Co-operative and Young Friends of the Earth Ireland and through my work as a PhD student.

2. Supporting a project to highlight the lack of a gender perspective in Irish environmental and climate policy and to highlight the role, voices and stories of some pretty amazing women activists in Irish environmentalism.

3. Working to find funding that could support marginalised young people, particularly from the Global South, to participate in climate activism and the UNFCCC process.

I invite any readers to reflect on these questions for their own work and feel free to get in touch, here or on Twitter (@jamiecgorman). I would be really happy to have these conversations as we organise towards Paris in 2015!

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Perspectives on Environmental Justice for Community Development

Some thoughts offered to participants at the Community Work: Principles, Policies & Perspectives conference of the Department of Applied Social Studies, NUI Maynooth: 14 November 2013.

Sometimes when I think about community development and the environmental justice movement, I feel its a little bit like two estranged members of the same family. They have so much in common and yet the rarely speak to each other. Yet now more than ever, we need to have a family reunion.

As we gather today in Maynooth, the governments of the world are meeting in Warsaw for the 19th annual UN climate change negotiations. So far they have failed at the 18 previous attempts to agree a global deal that could halt climate change. Climate science proves beyond all reasonable doubt that humans are causing climate change. And it is increasingly clear that climate change is the single greatest threat to human rights and social justice we have ever faced.

The scale of this challenge calls for systematic changes to the way in which we think and act in the world. It is no longer enough to simply  ‘think global, act local’.  It’s only through collective processes for social change, such as those practiced by community development, that the root causes of this climate crisis can be overcome.

So our challenge as community development practitioners and policy makers is to not to ‘think global, act local’, but to ‘think structurally, act strategically’.

The question, of course, is what does that mean for our practice? This morning’s speakers have made clear the links between the social and the environmental, and I’d like to propose three very simple steps that might help to bring about that much needed family reunion:

1. Practitioner analysis

The first step is joining the dots between community development and environmental justice in our own practitioner analysis. The principles of community development articulated in Towards Standards, are very much in line with those of environmental justice- which recognises the effects of pollution and unsustainability are most felt by those marginalised communities which have the least access to resources and power. Environmental justice, like community development, places a specific emphasis on the participation and empowerment of those most disadvantaged communities.

Making the link in our practitioner analysis between the social and environmental is particularly relevant now as our Government and the EU are planning responses to climate change and the transition to a ‘low carbon future’. Any such transition must not happen without specific commitments to social justice and equality. Whether in Ireland, or globally, poor and marginalised communities must not be forced to pay the price for the pollution of an elite few.

2. Dialogue

Building on the development of our own practitioner analysis, the second step is dialogue; beginning conversations in the communities where we live and work. And when the issues at stake are so massive and overwhelming, as they are with climate change, there is a real need to create spaces where people can, as Peter Westoby suggests, ‘reveal their fears, come to terms with their doubts and gradually embrace alternatives’.

These processes of conversation are the bread and butter community development, which deals daily with structural issues of poverty, racism and gender inequality in people’s lives. Bringing environmental issues into these conversations we can build on people’s lived reality of environmental injustices. Many people who live in marginalised communities experience the reality of a poor quality environment- whether its dumping, poor infrastructure on halting sites or lack of consultation on planning issues. The links are there to be made.

3. Alliance building

Building on these dialogues, which must begin in our own communities, the third step is creating alliances between those groups concerned with social justice and equality and those concerned with environmental issues. Despite the huge negative effects of austerity on communities we have not seen the sort of mass collective action on austerity that has been brought about by the dangerous gas mining process called fracking,. Communities all over the north west and County Clare are coming together to take collective action on that issue

Yet the reality is that the State’s neoliberal social, economic and environmental policies are all interconnected. Fracking and austerity go hand in hand as part of a broad neoliberal project. If we are to have any chance of overcoming the challenges that neoliberalism poses to our communities and our environment there is a pressing need to build broad coalitions which brings together communities fighting injustice from every dimension: social, economic and environmental.

At a national level community development and the environmental movement need to build alliances. With initiatives like Claiming Our Future and the CWC joining the Stop Climate Chaos coalition that work has began. At local level there is potential to reach out anti-fracking groups, to local authority energy agencies, to communities concerned about wind farms and the Transition Towns movement

So returning to our thinking structurally and acting strategically, I’m asking you to chew those three ideas over:

  1. Let’s build environmental justice into our own practitioner analysis;

  2. Let’s begin dialogues in the communities where we live and work;

  3.  Let’s join our issues together and build broad alliances to challenge systemic social and environmental injustices of neoliberalism.

G8 protest shows need for community focused resistance

This piece first appeared online at New Internationalist.

change not charity banner on fence

When a riot police officer eating an ice cream in the back of an armoured car pointed me in the direction of the assembling protesters in Enniskillen on Monday 17 June, I knew that while it was certainly no Battle in Seattle, this would be no ordinary G8 demonstration. Around 1,000 activists had gathered in the County Fermanagh town which was hosting the two-day 2013 G8 summit.

Global neoliberalism is moving to kill dissent with kindness, whether it’s the British government’s ‘Big Society’ or the mantra of governance and transparency in the Global South. Potentially transformative concepts are being employed to give the illusion of social change. This is why groups like Bono’s One campaign are not just arrogant, they are dangerously reinforcing the status quo of neoliberal, capitalist models of global development – not to mention their inherently racist notions of charity.

Enniskillen, on the other hand, didn’t have the polish of Bono or Bob Geldof. It was much more inspiring than that. The atmosphere was more akin to Sunday fête than the anti-capitalist pitch battles seen at previous G8 meetings. Bizarrely, a blues band entertained protesters as they assembled and curious locals sipped tea whilst sat in camping chairs along the route.

anti-fracking campaigner

The march itself was made up mostly of people from northwest Ireland and Northern Ireland. These communities have found themselves at the forefront of the fight against neoliberal unsustainability. Many had never been to a protest before their lives and livelihoods were threatened by fracking – a process which has the potential to cause large scale social and environmental injustices. Yet through their campaigning they are developing a critical analysis of power and models of development.

The march made its way through Enniskillen’s streets before travelling three kilometres to confront the £4million ($6.2 million) security cordon which separated the world from the G8 leaders. The sun beat down on the long procession as it left the town.

As speeches took place by the security cordon, about 20 protestors managed to trample the razor wire fence and cross over the barrier. They were soon facing a line of riot police.

‘Do not attempt to come any closer’ called a police officer. ‘Or we will be forced to take action.’

The word ‘action’ presumably being a euphemism for something more violent, the activists stalled and the momentum was lost. One of the stewards from the main march arrived and a discussion began. After a tense few minutes they receded, accepting the need for unity and solidarity with the community participating in the protest.

This dialogue in a mucky field in County Fermanagh was of global importance. This is a time of massive flux for social movements. Regime toppling protests are occurring all over the world, communities are questioning things which were for too long regarded as simple common sense. It’s a messy process which must begin by recognizing that none of us have the answers; we must forge them together through dialogue and solidarity.

It is only through that process that we can deconstruct the nonsense of ‘common sense’ neoliberal exploitation of people and the planet and stand with the powerful process of communities developing their own analysis of society.

In Ireland and Northern Ireland the anti-fracking community activists are posing important questions and challenging the status quo. The same thing is happening across the world, most visibly in Turkey and Brazil. Everywhere communities are reclaiming transformative concepts from neoliberalism and fighting for justice, equality and sustainability.

For anyone interested in social change this is an important point for reflection on our practice. We must ditch our dogma and hold our agendas lightly. The fires of change are beginning to glow in communities across the globe, we must continue to support these rather than trying to light our own.

G8 mobilizations need solidarity, not stage management

This piece first appeared online at New Internationalist.

While the rain barely stopped pouring, spirits remained high as activists marched, danced and sang through a highly militarized Belfast city on Saturday 15 June for the Big March for a Fairer World. Around 1,500 people took to the streets from trade unions, campaigning organizations such as Amnesty International and Friends of the Earth, and various community groups to oppose the policies and practices of the powerful G8 leaders meeting in Fermanagh from 17 to 18 June 2013.

fracking protest river

In advance of the demonstration, Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) armoured cars and specially loaned British Army Land Rovers moved in convoy down every street and clusters of police officers in padded battle-dress, some with machine guns, gathered on the pavements.

Having navigated through the heavy police presence, I joined activists from Friends of the Earth who organized the anti-fracking themed section of the march. Environmentalists from across the UK and Ireland brought with them blue pieces of cloth ‘river’ with messages of defiance and hope from communities resisting fracking.

‘My daughter woke me up at 3 am, I’ve been awake since then’, said Niall Bakewell of Friends of the Earth, full of energy and while co-ordinating the chaos.

Bakewell bellowed out the words of an old Woody Guthrie song, ‘All You Fascists Bound to Lose’, suitably altered for the occasion:
I’m gonna tell you frackers
You may be surprised
The people in this world
Are getting organized
You’re bound to lose
You frackers bound to lose.

Even those of us who are tone deaf got carried away in the enthusiasm and soon we met with the main march.

As a steward I carried a small black knapsack. It contained some energy bars, a ‘pee-mate’ and some empty milk bottles, ‘in case we get “kettled” and people need to relieve themselves,’ cautioned Bakewell.

Kettling is a tactic used by police officers to control crowds by cordoning off groups of protestors. It is often used to break the spirits of activists, who are sometimes allowed to leave only if they surrender their personal details to the police.

When I explained the contents of my bag to a group of unassuming, middle-aged anti-frackers it got a nervous giggle. The heavy police presence on the streets was disconcerting even to those who grew up in ‘the Troubles’, as Northern Ireland’s 30 year armed conflict is euphemistically called.

The Friends of the Earth ‘river’ meandered through the streets, swaying to the beat of a samba band.

‘The anti-frackers seem to be having the most fun,’ noted one TV camera operator.

‘Well what’s the point in being here if we can’t have fun?’ replied a middle-aged woman from England.

After the camera operator moved on we continued talking. The woman was shocked by the heightened police presence. ‘You wouldn’t even get this with the Met in London.’ London’s Metropolitan Police are notoriously heavy handed when it comes to civil society dissent, having raided a squatted convergence space and arrested 57 activists earlier that week.

Despite the heavy police presence, the march remained peaceful and crowds gathered at Belfast’s City Hall to listen to speakers who had to shout to be heard above the sound of the police helicopters overhead.

After the march we headed back to the Friends of the Earth office. Buoyed by the solidarity and success of the day, activists from across both islands discussed how we can work together to resist fracking over hard earned mugs of soup.

I nabbed a spare ticket for the Big If concert being organized by the churches and development NGOs in the botanic gardens. I was eager to see how this stage managed NGO campaign compared to the spontaneity, energy and enthusiasm of the activism on the streets.

The Enough Food for Everyone If… campaign is run by a collation of organizations and calls for the G8, especially David Cameron, to act on hunger.

The Big If event seemed little more than a polished distraction from the real issues, and although I found myself tapping away to Duke Special and Two Door Cinema Club, and enjoying the speeches from the civil society leaders from the Global South, the whole thing felt a bit hollow.

‘Come on everybody, let’s Tweet Prime Minister David Cameron!’ called TV presenter Zöe Salmon who was presiding over a crowd which seemed smaller than the march.

Freedom to dissent now equates to a Tweet and the anti-fracking community activists who attempted to unfurl a banner were not allowed a peep. Big If organizers cornered them immediately.

‘We need to stay on-message, we can’t have other banners’, explained one of the event co-ordinators.

I declined my Big If wristband and left with the anti-fracking group. As I departed, Salmon was inviting the crowd to Tweet Barak Obama.

Hunger, nutrition and a shocking lack of justice: Thoughts on the Hunger-Nutrition-Climate Justice conference

This blog piece presents some intital thoughts on the Mary Robinson Foundation for Climate Justice sponsored confernce on Hunger, Nutrition and Climate Justice taking place in Dublin next week, 15-16 April 2013.

The conference is taking place during the Irish Presidency of the EU, as the EU continues to block progress on actions to halt climate change and Ireland publishes a Climate Action Bill with no sign of climate justice. This piece highlights some of the key climate justice failings of the conference.

Human rights based approaches must move beyond supporting communities to deal with the crisis

  • The human rights based approaches advocated by the conference are a positive step forward in a debate that has been held for too long in privileged policy circles.
  • However, when the conference fails to address the core issues of emissions reductions, market mechanisms or technology transfer, the ‘empowerment of marginalised people’ means supporting people to deal with the effects of climate change rather than challenge the root causes of unsustainability.
  • With this in mind, the inclusion of ‘100 developing country delegates […] bring their community’s experiences to share’ at the conference seems to little more than a PR exercise at consultation (but I am open to being pleasantly surprised).

Climate Justice means binding emissions reductions targets

  • States must make commitments in line with what science requires and that reflect historical responsibility, per-capita contributions, and capabilities to act. We must drop emissions by at least 40% by 2020 & 90% by 2050 (below 1990 levels).
  • States have ‘common but differentiated responsibility’: All states are required to take action to reduce emissions but the developed countries of the Global North, who have benefited most from polluting, have the responsibility to act first and take the deepest emissions cuts.
  • This conference makes no reference to the failing institutional architecture at an intergovernmental level which has seen ongoing inaction at the conference of parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Climate Justice means ending reliance on dangerous market mechanisms to regulate carbon emissions

  • This conference does not seek to address the dangerous policies at international level such as carbon trading (trading in the right to pollute) and trading pollution for forests with schemes like REDD and REDD+. These policies can best be described as seeking to profit from the climate crisis by creating markets for carbon.
  • Rather than critiquing these mechanisms, the conference papers (p. 42) suggest the issue is simply ‘helping communities understand the dynamics and technical aspects of carbon markets as a financing source’.

 Climate Justice means technology transfer

  • Despite this conference’s emphasis on building local resilience to climate change in the Global South it fails to address the key resilience issue of technology transfer. Developed countries of the North are hindering resilience by failing to provide for the transfer of knowledge, skills and technology to those communities facing climate change.

Why is technology transfer so vital?

‘For developing countries, the need for the transfer of climate friendly technologies has, for a long time, been seen as one of the major aspects of the progress of sustainable development. However, most climate friendly technologies are developed in industrialised countries, although potential for these technologies to make significant reductions in carbon emissions is located in developing countries, where fossil fuel consumption is increasing rapidly. In sum, migration of global energy systems to lower carbon pathways depends upon their successful transfer and absorption of low-carbon technologies to and within developing countries’

Source: Shashikant, S. and Khor, M., Intellectual property rights and technology transfer in the context of climate change, p. 9.

 Climate Justice begins at home

  • This conference imagines Ireland as a world leader on climate justice. The reality is very different. Ireland is the 6th largest per capita polluter on the planet. Our government has consistently failed to legislate for action on climate change. The current proposed Climate ‘Action’ Bill fails to set the legally binding and ambitious carbon reduction targets needed, fails to institute an independent commission or any form of accountability for polluters. In short, it lacks any hint of climate justice.
  • Climate justice, human rights and community sector campaigners from Ireland have almost entirely been refused entry to the conference.

‘Our future is now’: Communities in Liberia meet this week to discuss options after large-scale land grab

This blog piece first appeared on the Friends of the Earth International website.

Between 2009 and 2010 the Government of Liberia allocated more than a million acres of land to transnational palm oil producers Sime Darby and Golden Veroleum Liberia without consulting or securing the consent of those living on and using the land. Following the launch of a groundbreaking report from the Sustainable Development Institute (SDI)/ Friends of the Earth Liberia, Uncertain Futures, the affected communities are holding a major conference this week to demand that their voices be heard in decision making.

The ‘Our future is now’ conference will take place in Bopolu City, Gbarpolu County, Liberia, from 27-29 November, bringing together communities affected by Sime Darby and Golden Veroleum Liberia.

The SDI report highlights how, as over a quarter of Liberia’s land area is now given over by the Government to rubber, oil palm and logging companies, Liberia risks becoming a land ‘lost in concessions’ with an uncertain future for the communities who are the original custodians and owners of the land.

These concessions are part of Liberia’s attempt to attract Foreign Direct Investment in the natural resource sector. Large plantations are promoted as a means to create jobs, bring development, and increase the government’s budget. However, they also risk the entrenchment of systemic economic and social injustices against poor and marginalised communities.

Large-scale land allocation to foreign corporations can give transnational companies enormous political power which can subvert local democratic decision making. At the same time as corporate power silences communities, the associated dispossession of rural people from their land contributes to increased poverty in rural areas, widens the gap between the urban elites that benefit from these business transactions and the rural poor who suffer the impacts, and entrenches inequality across Liberian society.

Both the Sime Darby and Golden Veroleum Liberia plantations are clear examples of this. According to the SDI report, ‘the situation facing communities impacted by the expansion of Sime Darby’s plantation in Garwula District, western Liberia is dire: the plantation is on their doorsteps, and their farms and farmlands are being swallowed up by it. There are very few alternative livelihood options.’ According to locals interviewed for the report, Sime Darby did not pay compensation for farm lands taken by the company. They also claim that compensation paid for crops that had been destroyed was inadequate and that forest areas used for cultural practices had also been destroyed and planted with oil palm.

SDI campaigner Silas Kpanan’Ayoung Siakor points out that ‘the situation on the Sime Darby or Golden Veroleum Liberia plantation is about much more than the impacts of a single company.’ He warns that ‘allocating large swathes of fertile agricultural land to foreign companies for several decades is dangerous because as these companies expand their plantations, communities’ ability to cope will be stretched to the limit. It will push people further into poverty, as their income generating activities are curtailed and earning capacities become limited.’

During the course of the three day conference community representatives will have the opportunity to discuss this issue. More than 150 delegates from the counties affected by Sime Darby and Golden Veroleum Liberia Sinoe, Grand Cape Mount, Bomi, and Gbarpolu counties will be in attendance, along with a number of Monrovia-based civil society groups and international experts on agriculture, land, and community rights.

Led by local leaders, participants will be offered the opportunity to break into small groups to discuss their perspectives on the issue. At the end of the conference, community representatives will draft and adopt a document that details what they expect from palm oil concessionaires and the government.

For more information
Uncertain Futures (PDF)

Fairy Stories turn to Nightmares: Young Friends of the Earth and the Fight against Fracking in Ireland

This blog piece first appeared on the Young Friends of the Earth Europe website

One blustery, sunny Sunday morning last November, I took a walk with a local person in a community threatened by fracking. Walking along winding country roads, over hilltops and past gushing brooks, she shared with me a little of the rich history and folklore through which we traipsed.We passed ruined cottages whose former inhabitants still occupy the memory of the place and ancient forestswhich the fairies, mythical creatures of Irish folklore, are said to still inhabit.

This sense of folklore, culture and history is very important. In a very real sense the land does not belong to the people- the people belong to the land on which their families have lived for generations. This is why they are fighting against fracking and all forms of unconventional gas extraction which will destroy the environment and tear apart communities.

If fracking takes place then the fairy stories of this beautiful countryside will be replaced by the nightmare of irreversible human health and environmental damage.

Fracking is a process where water, sand and toxic chemicals are injected into the earth at high pressure. The aim of this process is to fracture rock formations deep underground to release shale gas that would otherwise be inaccessible.

A report by the European Parliament has noted that fracking causes ‘groundwater contamination by methane, in extreme cases leading to explosion of residential buildings, and potassium-chloride leading to salinisation of drinking water is reported in the vicinity of gas wells.’

In Ireland the proposed fracking sites are in areas well-connected to our water table and river network. Ireland and Northern Ireland’s largest rivers, the Shannon and the Erne, flow through the areas which fracking is proposed.

The EU report also highlights ‘unavoidable’ high land occupation that fracking requires. The landscape is taken over by drilling pads, parking and manoeuvring areas for trucks, equipment, gas processing and transporting facilities and access roads.

Fracking will result in a land grab (or ‘compulsory purchase’) as it takes over the landscape that is home to thousands of families in hundreds of communities. Many of these communities are sustained by farming and eco-tourism – the two sectors most threatened by fracking.

As a grassroots network of young people, Young Friends of the Earth Ireland, is mobilising  in solidarity with communities across Ireland to oppose fracking. YFoE Ireland held its recent network gathering on the shores of Lough Allen in fracking-threatened County Leitrim. At the gathering we learned more about how fracking will destroy the countryside from Leah Doherty of No Fracking Ireland, campaigner Dr Aedin McLoughlin of the Good Energies Alliance Ireland, and Chairperson of the Leitrim Organic Famers’ Association, Tommy Earley.

Saturday 22 September was Global Frackdown day. YFoE Ireland held actions in Dublin, Cork and Galway to send a clear message to the Irish government that young people do not want their futures destroyed by fracking. Future generations of Irish people must be able to enjoy our beautiful landscape and rich heritage. They might even manage to catch a fairy, as long as they haven’t been fracked!