How a Transition Town Defeated Fracking
The Transition Movement, which has spread around the Globe in the last few years, has mostly maintained a positive focus on energy, economic and sustainable food solutions to peak oil and climate change. This positivity has lead to tensions between those who believe Transition should avoid traditional politics, and those who believe that challenging the status quo is the only viable path to a sustainable future. But just because Transition groups aim to be accessible to everybody, regardless of ideological background, does not mean they can't defend their communities from destructive elements of the fossil fuel machine. In fact, by building social capital, common ground and a network of residents with a shared interest in our future, one could argue they provide an ideal forum for certain kinds of protest. Given recent news that fracking is causing earthquakes in England, the natural gas industry should be worried.
Rob Hopkins has a first-hand accound from some Transition activists over at Transition Culture of how Transition groups were central in defeating a proposed gas fracking operation. Crucially, they say, the involvement of the Transition Groups moved the discussion beyond NIMBY interests, and into the braoder debate of what we should be doing for a secure energy future:
By supporting the Vale Says No campaign, Transition not only helped to quickly spread the issue to a much wider audience but also broaden the argument to one that incorporated the bigger picture of long term community happiness and resilience. And it was this level-headed approach that gave the campaign a real sense of credibility and one that helped convince the local planning committee to vote unanimously against the application.
So from a starting point of just one person it had very quickly become a community supported campaign that has succeeded in putting a very big spoke in the works for an industry blindly focused on finite energy extraction at any cost.