Birmingham Friends of the Earth campaigners were in town in force on Saturday for a stunt and a stall as part of Global Frackdown, the global day of action against fracking. Julien & James set up our stall in the Cathedral car parking spaces in Temple Row, a space we got with the kind permission of St Philips Cathedral. This is a relatively good spot and one Birmingham Friends of the Earth has used before for In Town Without My Car Day a few years ago.
Julien & James started talking to passers by about fracking and trying to get people to sign action cards telling their council leader to opposing fracking in Birmingham, or whatever area they were from. The campaigners also took pictures of themselves with a speech bubble saying no to fracking in Birmingham. As the afternoon continued James & Julien were joined by Adam, Leanna and then Rox, who all took the time to say no to fracking in between to talking to members of the public.
At about 3.15pm the campaigners took a break and were joined by Chris and Cheryl for a photo stunt in front of the Cathedral. The group held up a speech bubble saying they didn’t want fracking in Birmingham alongside a swear box that reminded everyone that fracking is a dirty word! After the stunt campaigners returned to the stall and continued to speak to members of the public who were passing by.
The public were a mixture of those who loved fracking and those who hated it. However, by far the majority were those who knew little or nothing about it, despite the big media splash on the issue in August during the protests at Balcombe. This shows how important it still is to use events and days of action to raise awareness of the issue. What’s also telling is the opinium polling for Carbon Brief on 19 August, which showed that 52% support wind turbines being built in their area but only 18% fracking rigs being built near where they live.
With the rain coming down late on Saturday afternoon, campaigners packed the stall away and took refuge. However fracking as an issue will be around for a while yet. For anyone who wants to do something on these issues in their area it’s currently the Global Month of Action on Energy, so there is plenty of time for people to do something close to where they live!