As part of Global Frackdown Day, events were held in over 25 countries this weekend, demanding that national governments ban fracking and increase support for a clean energy future. The activities took place in both communities who have already suffered from unconventional fossil fuel developments and in those areas where fracking is being proposed.
Friends of the Earth Scotland organised protests in Perth, Scotland coinciding with the Scottish National Party's political conference, and calling on the Scottish government to ban unconventional gas development. Concerned citizens erected a fake drilling rig whilst posing as the fictitious energy company, DAFT Energy. The Scottish government announced at the event a significant strengthening of national planning law, which will require buffer zones between unconventional gas developments and communities.
Mary Church, head of campaigns at Friends of the Earth Scotland said "We welcome the government's recognition that buffer zones are necessary to protect communities from the worst impacts of gas drilling and fracking, and urge them to go further and join France, Ireland, the Netherlands and others in putting a stop to all fracking and unconventional gas activity. If Scotland is to play its part in reducing global greenhouse gas emissions, we need to leave this fossil fuel in the ground."
Friends of the Earth Europe and Food and Water Europe took part in a 'Brussels Global Frackdown Marathon' to mark the day. They delivered letters to various EU member state representations, the EU institutions, and a pro-fracking business lobbying organisation to call for support for a ban on fracking.
Antoine Simon, shale gas campaigner for Friends of the Earth Europe said: "There have been protests across the world today which show the depth and breadth of opposition to unconventional fossil fuels. National governments should listen to their citizens' concerns and recognise the threat that fracking poses to their health and the environment."
Activists from Friends of the Earth in England and Northern Ireland took to town centres to inform the public about the huge dangers that come with fracking under the banner of 'Fracking is a dirty word.'
Young Friends of the Earth England, Wales and Northern Ireland protested outside the office of Lord Browne, former BP oil chief and current head of the fracking firm Cuadrilla, calling on him to resign from his position in the House of Lords. The peer acts as a senior government advisor on business issues but the environmental group believes that this creates a serious conflict of interest as he stands to profit enormously from a government green-light for fracking.
Greg Hewitt, a campaigner with Young Friends of the Earth said: "With the price of gas continuing to increase the government should be investing in clean affordable renewable energy, and not the dirty, expensive dash for gas."
Friends of the Earth France used a boat on the River Seine in Paris to share their message demanding an end to unconventional fossil fuel extraction in other threatened countries and the continuation of the French ban on fracking.
Around 500 people attended a rally in Santander in northern Spain opposing fracking plans for their area. Hundreds had made their way there in a cycle rally which passed through areas of the Cantabria province that are threatened by fracking plans or where research permits have already been granted.
To find out more about fracking and the threat posed by unconventional fossil fuels visit http://www.foeeurope.org/shale-gas-in-depth