THE BLOG

This Is More Than A Fight To Protect Our Environment, This Is A Struggle For Democracy

14/08/2017 12:18 BST | Updated 14/08/2017 12:18 BST

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On a busy main road between Blackpool and Preston, in an old tree nursery, there sits a gaggle of marquees, buzzing with activity. This collection of tents is the centre of Reclaim the Power's 'Rolling Resistance' - a month of direct action in support of Frack Free Lancashire.

For the whole month of July, anti-fracking action has been taking place at a site just up the road where, after an appeal by company Cuadrilla, fracking has been licensed. Since January 2017 work to start drilling for this source of unconventional gas has begun, with much local resistance.

But last month felt a little different. The aim of the Rolling Resistance is to create a space in which people from all over the UK and beyond can come together around a common cause, get trained and take action against fracking.

The local Frack Free Lancashire campaign has been running since Cuadrilla first tried to frack there 6 years ago, but July has seen a big boost in support from elsewhere. Week after week different waves of people have come to join the resistance for as long as they can, and to take action against Cuadrilla.

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I arrived on the second Friday of July, walking into the Reclaim the Power site under a giant banner reading 'Power to the People'. Although I'd heard about it, I had no plans to get involved in the action itself; I thought I'd maybe help out in the kitchen - I'd never done direct action before and felt like I didn't know enough to be useful.

But despite my preconceived notion that I was useless, on Saturday found myself in a day of direct action training (organised by the amazing Seeds For Change). The workshop opened my eyes to the multitude of creative ways people can protest.

You don't have to be some kind of superhuman activist to get involved - if you get a bit creative, direct action can be accessible, inclusive and - importantly - really fun. Every Friday of the Rolling Resistance has seen colourful family-friendly mass actions, for example - I think vital to the month's success.

Having met a group organising an action for the following Monday, I made the decision to get involved and put my body in the way of the gates to the fracking site - to stop Cuadrilla making progress towards fracking. I have never being involved in direct action before but with Reclaim the Power behind me and the training from Seeds for Change I felt supported and empowered to take a leap.

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Seeing the level of opposition the local people have to the fracking industry and hearing stories from the past six years of resistance against fracking in Lancashire was what really inspired me to take action. To me, it seems that our democracy is in a dangerous place - where the central government can overrule the decision of the local council and of local people.

This is more than a fight for to protect our environment, this is a struggle for democracy. I don't want to live in a country where dangerous industries which will negatively impact local communities are forced upon people against their will. This is why I decided to take action to support the campaign against fracking in Lancashire - we need real power to the people.

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The month of action facilitated by Reclaim the Power is rolling to an end, but the local struggle against fracking in Lancashire continues. If you are involved in a group or just want to show your support - please think about going down to show solidarity with Frack Free Lancashire in August and for the months to come.

This fight is real; every day convoys of lorries full of drilling equipment are trying to reach Preston New Road. But with resistance we can show that when the people of Lancashire said no to fracking they meant no!