The democratic process, which is being systematically undermined by the current government, has failed in Lancashire. The County Council voted against fracking taking place in the county but this decision was overruled by Sajid Javed, the ironically named Communities Secretary, in response to an appeal by Cuadrilla. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-lancashire-37567866
This happened on 6th October last year. Three months almost to the day, on 5th January Cuadrilla commenced the surface ground work necessary to support a horizantal drilling operation for shale gas at Preston New Road, Little Plumpton, in Lancashire.
The police were present as soon as the company was which speaks for the lack of social license and consent for this industry.
For all Lancastrians, this is a tragedy. For Pagans, it is a violation of all they hold sacred:
We think these places far away are unconnected to us, yet … on a clear day I can see the Fylde. It is the same rock bed that I walk on here. The same water on the coastline there flows up the estuary … at high tides. The winds that blow across Lancashire sway the empty branches of the trees outside my kitchen window. There is no separation, only connection. (Anonymous Pagan activist)
Doing nothing is not an option
The battle for that site, barring a miracle, has been lost but doing nothing is not an option. The Nanas and others were at the site the next day, slow walking lorries down the approach road to the site. Never for a moment must the government and the companies involved in this ecocidal industry be allowed to forget that it does not have the consent of the communities upon whom it is being foisted.
I fear things will get very nasty, and we must be prepared for injuries. Yesterday (9th January) a truck driver from the haulage company working with Cuadrilla behaved in a reckless and dangerous way: here is an eye-witness account.
The third truck came to site with a rather nasty and very dangerous driver and proceeded to reverse into the crowd, ignoring cries from everyone and my futile bangs on the door to get him to stop, ….. bravely climbed up the ladder on the side of the truck to attempt to stop Mr nasty truck driver crushing anyone, at which he reversed quickly forwards and backwards to throw her off and was only stopped by the police from serious harm to human life on both accounts.
It’s worth considering the fact that without support of many other companies to provide transport, aggregate and equipment, the industry would not be possible.
The pagan contribution
Pagans can be as involved in these peaceful protests on the front line as much as any other citizen depending on their abilities and inclinations. Those who have heard The Warrior’s Call can ensure that the sigil is present both visibly (and invisibly) as a focus of magical protection for the land.
But we come back to the importance of building communities in the first place. Pagans cannot stay in their groves and covens, though much useful magical and energetic work can be done there. Public rituals are useful where possible, but will not always be welcome. So get out into your community groups, wherever, whatever. You don’t have to make a big song and dance about being a Pagan.
Effective action comes from united communities. The trolls who work on behalf of the fracking lobby will do their utmost to divide communities and throw doubt upon the actions and motives of protectors and protestors. Aggressive tweets yesterday claimed that anti-fracking protestors at Preston New Road (who should, of course, get a job), were causing traffic jams when the reality is that the work at the site which has resulted in traffic lights and a reduction to one lane is the cause, not protestors.
Actions and camps that obtain a clear mandate from a community (and ideally, arise out of that community will lower the risk of dissension that will only benefit the fracking companies.
The apparent world is a messy place
Slow walking lorries and locking on and all the other tactics will delay the process, will cost the company (though they will factor in these costs) and will attract publicity to the cause. But it will not stop fracking at a particular site such as Preston New Road.
For all that, doing nothing is not an option. The apparent world is a messy place and actions on the front line – and elsewhere – will inevitably have less than ideal aspects. As Pagans we have many positive things to throw into this mix.
We should be contributing them long before we get to the Front Line.
Drill or Drop is also a good place for up to date news.