The Global Gasdown Frackdown Day of Action
The Global Gasdown Frackdown Day of Action originated from the Global Frackdown, an international day of action against fracking. The aim of the Gasdown Frackdown is to continue the successful activities raising awareness about the struggle against fossil fuel extraction. The scope of this year’s day of action will be expanded to several aspects around so called natural gas. Across the globe, communities’ health, local environments, people’s livelihoods and our air and water are threatened by the global greed for gas. More and more individuals, grassroots groups, organizations and bigger NGOs start recognizing the manifold issues around fossil gas.
Why oppose gas and fracking?
Gas, and oil is often extracted using extreme extraction methods, for example hydraulic fracturing (fracking). This dangerous technique consists of drilling wells into which millions of liters of water, mixed with toxic chemicals and silica sand are pumped under great pressure to crack open rock formations to release the hydrocarbons trapped therein. Fracking and the infrastructure for related operations lead to the industrialisation of entire areas, produces toxic waste and uses masses of fresh water, as well as posing a serious security threat to affected communities. Most recently, the expansion of the fracking industry is more and more directly linked to the expansion of petrochemical facilities and the production of plastics, exacerbating the pollution of our climate, oceans, shores and food supply chain.
Gas extraction, be it by using fracking or not, is not only linked to growing inequality and environmental destruction, but also to climate change: Natural gas consists of methane, a greenhouse gas around 87 times more potent than CO2 during the next 2 decades and over a hundred times more potent during the 12 years it remains in the atmosphere.
Nevertheless, this fossil fuel is often wrongly portrayed as a clean and green solution and a so-called “bridge” into a post-fossil future.. This is why the Gasdown Frackdown aims at raising awareness about the reality of gas extraction against the backdrop of a heavy pro-gas lobby and extensive greenwashing efforts.
On top of that, gas transport, including the need for gas infrastructure, creates significant problems of its own. In Europe alone, millions of kilometers of gas transmission and distribution pipelines are criss-crossing most countries. Around the world, big pipelines often run through valuable natural areas, farmland or touristic regions. Terminals to import and export liquefied natural gas (LNG) are built on seashores, ready to accommodate LNG tankers shipping their potentially explosive cargo across the oceans. This expanding gas market and the long-distance transport of a climate-damaging fossil fuel is not only costly and inefficient but also opens the way for methane to escape during liquefaction, regasification, transmission and distribution of gas.
Stemming from and blending into the Global Frackdown, this day of action will still have a focus on the oil and gas extraction method of fracking. Fracking means much more than just the specific process of fracturing rock formations to extract hydrocarbons. It has become synonymous with the ways in which the oil and gas industry produces huge amounts of toxic and even radioactive waste, causes thousands of accidents, leaks and spills, pumps hazardous pollutants into the air and puts aquifers at risk, at the expense of local communities, families and farms, consumes gigantic amounts of water for each fracked well, competing with farmers for local water supplies and enjoys enormous profits padded by billions of subsidies, at everyone’s expense. The Permanent People's Tribunal judges in their recent Plenary Session on Human Rights, Fracking and Climate Change have concluded that the consistent evidence clearly demonstrates that fracking violates human rights and significantly contributes to climate change.
These and many more issues linked to fossil gas and its extraction are the reason why opposition against fossil fuels is necessary and growing. The Gasdown Frackdown wants to show this colourful opposition in all its facets and its strength.
History of the Global Frackdown
The Global Gasdown Frackdown has originated from a global day of action against fracking: The Global Frackdown.
Since 2012, the Global Frackdown – an international day of action initiated by Food & Water Watch to ban fracking – has helped connect activists across the globe and demonstrated the growing power of the movement to stop fracking, gas infrastructure, sand mining and other related extraction methods. This movement is fueled by increasing scientific evidence of the impact of fracking on water, air, health, seismic stability, communities, and the climate on which we all depend.
While the Global Frackdown originated as a single international day of action per year, in 2015 the Global Frackdown occurred during the entire month of November in the lead up to the United Nations Conference on Climate Change in Paris, France. The “Global Frackdown to Paris” served to highlight our growing movement and build pressure on national leaders to oppose fracking.
The oil and gas industry has spent millions of dollars on slick public relations campaigns and high-profile lobbying efforts to buy the ability to extract fossil fuels from our communities with as little government oversight as possible. Yet public opposition to fracking continues to grow.
While the industry is working hard to protect its profits and drown out the worldwide demand for clean, renewable fuels, there is a tremendous movement afoot around the world to protect our global resources from fracking.
Together as a movement, we have:
- Passed hundreds of measures against the establishment of fracking projects & shale development, wastewater injection and frac sand mining in communities across the globe (including bans, moratoria & the establishment of exclusion zones in the US, Canada, Latin America, Australia and Europe).
- Initiated/Launched & supported big successful networks against fracking & fossil fuel infrastructure in the United States, the British Isles and mainland Europe at EU level as well as the national level in many European countries.
- Supported local communities/groups in their fight against fracking in communities in the Maghreb countries (Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco) as well as South Africa.
- Linked up with climate scientists in order to make State and non-State actors understand that we urgently need a rapid and complete fossil fuels phase-out (including gas) if we want to fulfil the obligations under the Paris Agreement and avoid runaway climate chaos
- Linked up with the #BreakFreeFromPlastic movement in our joint fight against big multinational petrochemical and oil/gas giants.
In 2014, over 300 organizations joined the Global Frackdown. In 2015, over 1,200 groups from 64 countries, including over 700 organizations based in the United States, signed a letter urging world climate leaders to say “au revoir” to fracking. See photos from the 2016 Global Frackdown events held around the world.