Stephen Hall, activist in the Greater. Manchester TUC and also in Wigan Green Socialists, is one of the organisers of Camp Frack2 in Lancashire on the weekend of 10-12 May 2013. He believes that:
It is not possible to talk about socialism without talking about environmental sustainability
Camp Frack came about after a NWTUC conference brought together trade unions and enviromental groups to push the campaign against fracking at a local and national level.
Fracking is a controversial technology. Shale gas is held within shale rocks that lie thousands of feet underground. To get at the gas the rocks have to fractured or “fracked” to release the gas. It involves pumping millions of gallons of water which is mixed with poisonous chemicals to get the gas to flow freely.
Hall is clear about the dangers of fracking:
It takes millions of gallons of water to frack a well and this could happen three or four times in its lifecycle. There are dangers of chemicals leaking underground. It can contaminate the air above ground and the water supply and decimate the animal and bird community
Hall lives in Leigh, an ex-mining area with high unemployment, and he sees how it could be sold as an attractive option:
I can see how fracking could be sold in an area like this but there are alternatives and that is what Camp Frack 2 is about.
He believes that the shale gas should be left in the ground, and instead an alternative energy policy should be promoted.
It doesn’t matter if you agree with climate change or not, you are not going to get underwater pollution from solar panels. Renewables are the only way forward.
Hall says that the green agenda could be a vote winner for Labour:
We could put one million people back to work, doing useful work such as insulating houses, planting trees and paying them a decent wage rather than paying out benefits. It would put money back into the economy, put freight back onto the railways and free up the roads. It would create a better environment and cut down on CO2’s”
During the Camp Frack2 weekend Hall hopes to get the anti-fracking message across to a wide section of the public.
People don’t want to go to lectures or being talked at, our weekend is going to be one where we engage with the general public. Hall is one of the organisers of the successful annual Diggers Festival in Wigan.
Apart from film showings, discussion groups and presentations about the green agenda there will be music from a wide range of individuals and groups, as well as entertainment for children and the chance to take part in a Sunday protest action.
Hall says the aim of the weekend is:
To raise public awareness about fracking but also to show that a broader energy policy can be the answer to unemployment and austerity. People need to know that the green agenda can create jobs without destroying the climate.
Hall and the organisers have invited a wide range of groups from trade unions to Friends of the Earth, the Cooperative Society and the RSPB. He hopes:
It will provide the opportunity to bring all these groups together in an alliance that will put climate change at the heart of any discussion about creating a better and more sustainable economy.
For further information on Camp Frack 2 see
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