Loading

Previous editorials

Current editorial

October 2017
September 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017

December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016 (supplement)

December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015

December supplement
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014

December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013

December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012

December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011

December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010

December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009

December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008

December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007

December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006

December 2005
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005

December 2004
November 2004
October 2004
September 2004
July 2004
June 2004
May 2004
April 2004
March 2004
February 2004

December 2003
November 2003
October 2003
September 2003
July 2003
June 2003
May 2003
April 2003
March 2003
February 2003
January 2003

December 2002
November 2002
October 2002
September 2002
July 200
June 2002
May 2002
April 2002
March 2002
February 2002

December 2001
November 2001
October 2001
September 2001
July 2001
June 2001
May 2001
April 2001
March 2001
February 2001
December 2000
November 2000
October 2000

16 Ravensdene Park,
Belfast BT6 0DA,
Northern Ireland.
Tel: 028 9064 7106
Fax: 028 9064 7106
Email

 

What's new

Nonviolence News October 2017t

Editorial: Democracy in Northern Ireland

Eco-Awareness with Larry Speight: Cogntitive revolution

Readings in Nonviolence: Compassion and Compassionate Integrity Training

Eco-Awareness with Larry Speight: Appreciating nonhuman nature

Readings in Nonviolence: Disarming the nuclear argument

 

Editorials

These are regular editorials produced alongside the corresponding issues on Nonviolent News.

Editorial 244: November 2016

[Return to related issue of Nonviolence News]

Cracking fracking

Whether Ireland, Northern Ireland and the Republic, has cracked the fracking issue remains to be seen and the price of freedom from fracking is eternal vigilance and a load of intelligent action. While there may be some disadvantages to modern communication methods and social media, they can be important tools in conscientising people on an issue like fracking and fossil fuel extraction, and the mobilisation in localities like Leitrim, Fermanagh, Carrickfergus (Woodburn) and the North Coast has in many ways been remarkable over the last years.

It is not that mobilisation on such issues was impossible before modern social media – e.g. the impetus behind the campaign against uranium mining in Donegal in the early 1980s was greatly assisted by the distribution of an information pamphlet on the topic by the Belfast anarchist group Just Books. The very successful anti-nuclear power movement of the end of the 1970s had a number of different tendencies in terms of organisational style but in that era, of phone and letter, it still managed excellent results in mobilising and conscientising ordinary citizens. However modern communication methods certainly make conscientisation and mobilisation easier (though countering propaganda is also more sophisticated).

The struggle in Northern Ireland, where there has been significant exploration of potential hydrocarbon resources, has been assisted by the simple fact that the companies involved have not found the resources they expected. In Fermanagh the anti-fracking cause was assisted by a deft political move by Arlene Foster, then Minister for Enterprise, in not renewing a prospecting licence on a technicality. It might have been expected that the 'business minister' of a pro-business party, the DUP, would back fracking but as she is a Fermanagh MLA who would face significant fallout from a pro-fracking decision in an anti-fracking county, a deft move not to extend a prospecting licence on a technicality put that one to rest, at least for the moment. However the importance of the anti-fracking movement cannot be overestimated; would Foster have made this move without the work of those activists? No.

In the Republic, where there has been a moratorium on fracking, the recent unanimous first reading of a private member's bill to ban fracking is a remarkable development which, it is hoped, will continue its passage through the Dáil. It is interesting that Fine Gael's wish to hold off on such a motion was overcome by an unusual political unanimity. Let us hope this translates into an all out ban, and the SWAN report (see News section this issue) certainly posits strong expert objections to the safety of fracking in Ireland for our water resources.

Of course preventing fracking is only one part of what needs to happen. The Irish government has been very tardy in moving to renewable energy and mitigating other contributions to global warming (e.g. agriculture), as green groups and networks like Friends of the Earth and the Environmental Pillar regularly inform us. Making excuses and not making green energy and green lifestyles is truly pathetic when we consider what is at risk – and the repercussions for all parts of this fragile globe.

But an important part of preventing rampant global warming with woeful worldwide effects entails not exploiting many already established hydrocarbon fields. No more ones need to be established despite the 'IMBY' approach (or perhaps ISEBY – In Someone Else's Back Yard!) of some politicians, e.g. in England, looking for a few jobs and a contribution to national fossil fuel exploitation. Carbon dioxide levels have now reached the unprecedented level of 400 parts per million, higher than any time for many hundreds of thousands, possibly millions, of years. Keep it in the ground – and keep the ground in one piece.

- - - - -

Correction

'Daniel Berrigan in Ireland', Nonviolent News 240
In the article entitled 'Daniel Berrigan' in Ireland, Nonviolent News 240, June 2016, the author, Garreth Byrne, stated that Daniel Berrigan visited Dublin around 1970 or 1971. He now accepts that the first time Berrigan visited Ireland was 1973. However apart from this telescoping of times the article is accurate and all the events related did take place.


ECO-AWARENESS ECO-AWARENESS

Larry Speight brings us his monthly column –

We won't get if we stay silent

October 2016 saw the creation of two important pieces of international legislation relating to the effort to mitigate climate chaos. One was the ratification of the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change, which will come into effect on the 4th of November. The other was the amendment of the Montreal Protocol to eliminate 90% of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which are the gasses that enable appliances such as air-conditioners and fridges to work. October also saw the passing of a non-binding international agreement to curb aviation emissions and there are ongoing discussions about controlling the emission of global warming gases from shipping. Some of the above would be good news if governments took the legislation and agreements seriously. Sadly they don't, leaving concerned citizens to conclude that international legislation and agreements as well as the public statements of government ministers responsible for addressing climate chaos and other environmental issues is theatre on a grand scale.

The evidence for the sense that it is all theatre is the determination of government, district and local councils as well as international corporations to pursue the economic growth agenda. The pursuit of economic growth, in essence monetary gain for the relatively few, is wholly incompatible with reducing the emission of global warming gases, the restoration of ecosystems and the protection of biodiversity, safeguarding the land rights of indigenous peoples as well as the preservation of cultural sites important to understanding the story of humankind. The fixation on economic growth to the exclusion of all other concerns is not only environmentally destructive but shapes the psychological makeup of society as can be seen in the meaning of education embraced by post-primary school educational institutions where the emphasis is on rote learning as a formula to passing exams.

Governments wilfully undermining the legislation and agreements they sign concerning climate chaos can be seen in the behaviour of the UK government during October. On the 6th October Sajid Javid the Communities Secretary announced that the fossil fuel firm Cuadrilla could drill four fracking wells at Preston New Road, near Fylde. Environmental groups such as Friends of the Earth warn that this will open the floodgates to fracking across the UK. Aside from the necessity to leave fossil fuels in the ground if emissions targets are to be met their continued extraction reinforces societal dependency on them in terms of costly infrastructure.

On the 25th October the UK government announced the go-ahead for the building of a third runway at Heathrow Airport. Although it might be blocked by the courts because of the almost inevitable violation of air and noise pollution laws that would result the resolution of the government to pursue major airport expansion reveals its lack of commitment to international legislation and agreements on reducing climate change emissions. As George Monbiot informs us in The Guardian, 18 October 2016, the "prime minister cannot uphold the Paris agreement on climate change… and permit the runway to be built.

Aside from climate chaos there is the important issue of health. Presently 40,000 people die every year in the UK because of air pollution. If this number of UK civilians died in war each year there would be outrage and government would be accused of failing in their primary duty to protect the people of the country. These deaths and related aliments cost the NHS dearly at a time when it is dire financial straits. Given these facts the government's quest, and that of the aviation industry, to increase air-flights into and out of the UK in the coming decades and their fixation on fossil-fuel extraction can only but lead to an increase in air pollution aliments and untimely deaths.

Although ordinary folk electing to role model good eco-behaviour by voluntarily restricting the number of flights they take each year has a positive impact in undermining norms of destructive behaviour effective action needs to be taken by government. The one thing political parties in democracies genuinely care about is your vote. Nonviolent protest is the most effective way to persuade governments to behave in an eco-responsible and equitable way. Silence over such urgent matters as climate chaos, air pollution and loss of biodiversity is interpreted by government and large corporations as consent. We need to let government know that we do not consent to the termination of civilisation and the extinction of species which climate chaos, and lack of respect for nonhuman life, will ultimately bring about.

All is not gloom. Governments have the capacity to act collectively for the common good as the 27th October signing of an international agreement to create the world's largest marine conservation area in the Southern Ocean testifies. There was also a positive outcome of the UN's Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cities) which closed in Johannesburg on the 4th of October. We need more such robust farsighted environmental legislation but we won't get it if we stay silent.

Copyright INNATE 2014