Keeping fossil prospecting at bay - at home and away

Isle of Man Friends of the Earth held an anti-fracking demonstation outside Tynwald on Saturday afternoon

Isle of Man Friends of the Earth held an anti-fracking demonstation outside Tynwald on Saturday afternoon

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Friends of the Earth’s Cat Turner explains how the Isle of Man joined in with groups across the United Kingdom to celebrate five years of no fracking...

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Groups across the United Kingdom joined together on Saturday to celebrate the fact that it has remained fracking-free for the past five years .

This despite the best efforts of their government to get this damaging practice under way, seemingly wherever it can and at whatever cost to human and environmental health, as well as local economies.

In the Isle of Man, Friends of the Earth and other Green Centre colleagues chose to celebrate this great news, in particular lending support to their friends at Frack Free Lancashire, wearing T-shirts sent to the island by local organiser Jasber Singh.

Yorkshireman George Fincher, still smarting from the after-effects of the War of the Roses, couldn’t be winched into a FFL T-shirt but nevertheless lent vocal support: these Yorkshiremen have long memories.

Even a free T-shirt couldn’t sway him!

Nick Rice, event organiser, said: ‘Today we’re celebrating the success of local campaigners across the UK - who together have so far successfully stopped their government in its tracks, in its attempt to go “all out” for fracking.’

The demonstration, held at 2pm outside Tynwald on Saturday, also marked IoMFoE’s concern at the Manx Government’s own commitment to fossil fuel exploration, with the Department of Economic Development having made a number of announcements about the potential awarding of licenses to prospect for fossil fuels in the Irish Sea.

Such activity would fly completely in the face of Manx government commitments to help cut CO2 emissions, and in addition entails a range of additional environmental, economic and human risks.

It was great to be joined on the day by FoE Northern Ireland’s Philip Allen, who was over on one of his regular visits to the island.

Philip is well known to many Manx people, following his well-received and absorbing talk on permaculture, economics and human wellbeing two years ago – and his engaging explanation of the economic and agricultural benefits of the hemp-growing industry in Ireland.

There hemp is becoming a profitable crop for manufacturing the building material hempcrete, making animal fodder, fabrics, paper, biomass, cosmetic and medicinal products, as well as a number of other purposes.

Just as terrific was the fact that on our march to Tynwald, we gathered a couple of new supporters. Byron and Declan were intrigued by the posters, and asked what it was all about; on learning the answer, they immediately offered to join in and lend some youth support – great to see and much appreciated.

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