Each year, the Nova Scotia Environment Network invites people to nominate Eco-Heroes of the Year, and a NOFRAC member wanted to nominate all who work on shale gas issues for this award. How nice! Here is her submission.
Protesters from the North Shore speaking with Minister of Energy, Charlie Parker
I would suggest that this year the group award be presented to a movement, the movement to stop shale gas and fracking.
There is no one group which did this work on its own, not even the NOFRAC coalition, which represents some, but not all, of the opposition. I believe this award should honor all the groups and individuals who realized the seriousness of the issue and quickly came together to oppose fracking and shale gas development in Nova Scotia. There are local groups and individuals in communities throughout the province, church groups, environmental groups, university and high school students, grassroots members of political parties, artists and more, all of whom worked in many different ways, sometimes together, sometimes separately, to put this issue front and centre on the political agenda.
Fantastic anti-fracking float from a North Shore parade
From March 2011, when few people in NS had even heard the word fracking to May 2012, just over a year, this movement has organized protests, petition campaigns, public education campaigns, media information, lobbying, several websites, newsletters, a province-wide conference and public events in communities around the province. A report has been prepared based on information obtained through freedom of information requests; fracking songs have been written and sung.
In one year, a groundswell of opinion has grown, the issue has gained broad public support, and there is the concrete result of a two-year extension to the review process. While this is not a full victory, it is very important progress. Initially, the government did not recognize any problems with fracking. Now the government is admitting that the issue is complex, and involves more problems than they realized. This is a major step in the right direction – to which many people and groups contributed.
Billboard in a Cape Breton community near Lake Ainslie
The shale gas industry is a broad environmental threat. It threatens climate, fresh water, fisheries, local food sustainability, renewable energy development and health. Pitted against one of the strongest and wealthiest industries in the world, with 12 full time lobbyists in Halifax, as well as company representatives all pushing the government to open the doors and allow shale gas development and fracking, this movement of anti-fracking volunteers has not one person paid to work on the issue. Many people worked long hours with great commitment and as a result have slowed down what could have been a devastating decision to allow shale gas and fracking in Nova Scotia. Every person who contributed to keeping fracking out of Nova Scotia, at least for now, has done a service to the entire province and has helped slow the progress of this industry, helping our neighbors in other provinces and states as well. We know this movement will continue towards a 10 year moratorium or a ban. Everyone in this movement should be honored for their work.