Fracking: a briefing for Friends
A guide to fracking and how you can take action
Quakers are taking action to oppose shale fracking and other forms of extreme fossil fuel extraction.
Find out how you can take action on fracking and support a better energy system.
Under the 2015 UN Paris climate agreement, the UK committed to cut greenhouse gas emissions in line with a 2°C temperature rise above pre-industrial levels, and to attempt to limit this to 1.5°C. According to climate scientists, to achieve this target, we must keep approximately 80 per cent of known fossil fuel reserves in the ground.
"We have faith that we can tackle climate change and build a more sustainable future, but we know this is only possible if fossil fuels remain underground."
- Meeting for Sufferings, February 2017.
Shale gas is a fossil fuel that requires a carbon-intensive extraction method named hydraulic fracturing - otherwise known as fracking. Quakers in Britain call for a ban on all intensive forms of fossil fuel extraction, including fracking, because extracting and burning these fuels is harmful to people and our planet. Instead of extracting new fossil fuels, we want investment in renewable, efficient energy that is affordable for all.
Unfortunately, fracking has support from the UK government and wealthy investors. The industry could seriously undermine the UK's ability to meet its commitments made under UN climate deals. However, there is a powerful civil society movement to stop fracking from getting established, and Quakers are part of that.
Across the country, Quakers are joining with others to resist fracking and build support for greener energy. As Chris Walker, Sustainability & Peace Programme Manager writes on the Quaker blog, it takes a village to go frack-free. Here's how Quakers have been resisting the fossil fuel companies.
In May 2017, local Quakers held a meeting for worship on top of Pendle Hill to bear witness against fracking in the surrounding Lancashire countryside. More than 150 Friends joined them. Hear more about the day in the Q:Witness podcast Pendle Hill, fossil fuels and GE2017. Since gathering at Pendle Hill many Quakers have returned to their communities to resist fracking and help work towards climate justice.
Quakers in West Sussex and North Yorkshire have been joining with their local anti fracking groups and looking at what, as Quakers, they could bring to the local resistance. Quaker support has come in the form of food, company and meeting for worships at the gates. Read more about the experience of being part of the local anti-fracking community in West Sussex.
When Quakers from across the North West of England joined regular demos at Preston New Road fracking site, they forged connections with fellow activists from other faith traditions. Together they have set up a group called No Faith In Fracking (offsite link) and coordinate monthly vigils at the site. One local Friend has written about her journey from concerned citizen to vigil organiser at the site. The group have also made this video documenting their witness.
Quakers helped to keep Scotland frack-free
In 2017 the Scottish government held a public consultation on the topic of whether to permit fracking in Scotland. More than 65,000 people and organisations responded, including Quakers in Britain and hundreds of Quakers living in Scotland. A full 99 per cent of respondents opposed fracking, and in October 2017, the Scottish government endorsed a ban on the industry.
From 23-27 April No Faith In Fracking is coordinating a week long programme of peaceful spiritual activism at the gates of Preston New Road fracking site, near Blackpool.
Over the past year the group have brought prayer, peace and spiritual activism to the gates of the fracking site. They now invite others who feel moved to stand in solidarity with them to join the week of action.
On Friday 27 April there will be a meeting for worship at 2pm where we hope their will be a strong Quaker presence. View the plan for the day over on their website (offsite link).
Now is an important time to contact your MP about keeping fossil fuels in the ground. The government has recently reaffirmed its commitment to the Paris climate deal, yet has given little detail about how it will cut emissions and move away from fossil fuels. You will find useful tips on how to make the case for action in our climate briefing (PDF).
For a broad overview, listen to the podcast episode below to hear Sustainability & Peace Programme Managers Chris Walker and Sunniva Taylor discuss effective forms of witness against fracking.
We can help you and your meeting take action on fracking. Whether its contacting your MP, writing to the press, planning an action, or working with others in your community, we can provide information, advice and share news with Friends. Please get in touch using the contact details at the bottom of this page to find out more.
Sustainability & Peace Programme Manager
Quaker Peace &Social Witness
Tel: 020 7663 1047