Forty Shades of Green or a Handful of Greys
In my home country of Ireland, known for its forty shades of green, a shadow is looming—reducing the vibrant greens to dull greys. As we seek to feed our rising hunger for energy, we risk watching familiar fields and pastures transform into lifeless, industrial gas pads.
Since “The Quiet Man” was shot in colour in Ireland in 1952, tourists have flocked to our country to marvel at its greenness. Bed and breakfasts opened all over the island to give these visitors a rich cultural experience and thousands of welcomes, feeding them local food from grassy pastures.
But Ireland will change beyond recognition if we do not free it from the shadow that is now being cast by the oil and gas industry. Ireland’s green pastures are being compromised. It’s up to us to decide whether we will allow ourselves to be talked into fracking through the false promises of new jobs and a quick buck to alleviate our budget deficit.
Ireland has been lured into a property boom that is already turning much of the landscape to grey, leaving us financially devastated and vulnerable. The new lure of fracking will turn even more green into grey and will, like the property boom, eventually fade away as the gas reserves prove too limited to feed our endless greed for energy. It’s hard to imagine what Ireland will look like after the gas boom, but one lesson we have already learned: booms go bust and leave devastation.
What is truly limitless are our great green resources, and it is up to us whether we want to put these at stake for a short-term energy solution. It is greed that will make us black and white, and the forty greens of Ireland will exist only in a distant film of the past. We might bring them quietly back to memory by watching John Ford’s movie on our large plasma screens, powered by electricity generated from shale gas, thinking, “That’s how Ireland once looked—something has gone terribly wrong.”
The Irish people love their green country and heritage, and resistance is rising to fight this fracking doom scenario. Groups and networks have popped up all over the island of Ireland to successfully ’fight the frack’. The decision to issue exploration licenses in the Republic of Ireland has been postponed until 2015, as Minister of State Fergus O’Dowd confirmed in March: “[N]o decision will be made on these applications until there has been time to consider the outcome of further research to be commissioned by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on the use of this technology.”
In Northern Ireland, Agricultural Minister Michelle O’Neill has outlined her intention to block any plans for fracking on land owned by her department. She stated last month that she is both “personally and politically” concerned about fracking, claiming that its potential impact on the environment would force herto stop any planning applications for the process to be carried out on her department’s land.
On October 19, people concerned about the effects of fracking in Ireland will attend events around the country for the Global Frackdown to call for a ban on fracking on the island of Ireland. With combined efforts, we can keep this country as green as John Ford’s camera saw it.
Ineke Scholte has been involved in the anti-fracking campaign from its conception in spring, 2011.
She set up the website Fracking Free Ireland and issues the Fracking Matters Newsletter on a weekly basis. Her aim is to maintain an information platform, to inform and to connect people nationally and internationally.
“Live simply so that others may simply live “
Celebrating two years of campaigning
by Ineke Scholte
It is now two years ago that the campaign kick-started in Drumshanbo. In September 2011 Tamboran (Richard Moorman) held public information meetings in the Bush hotel in Carrick-on-Shannon to inform the people about their fracking plans.
Since then the campaign has evolved into a network spreading across Ireland, where groups and individuals contributed – on their own accords – towards the common aim: Ban Fracking on the Island of Ireland.
The distant rumbling of fracking crossed the Atlantic and is gaining a foothold in Europe.
The threat of fracking is now firmly put on the map of Ireland and campaigners from overseas held presentations which inspired, supported and encouraged our campaign to keep the spirit high. Numerous websites and face book pages have sprung up supplying a wealth on information. Direct actions, contacting and lobbying local, national and european politicians have become a regular occurence in our diaries. Campaign materials ranging from posters, flyers, leaflets, postcards, car stickers, buttons, T-shirts, ban-fracking- signs to (animation) fracking films invaded Ireland to broaden awareness to fight the frack.
We’ve grown into an anti-fracking family, bound by the threat of fracking that looms over this Island.
Various scientific reports have highlighted the dangers of fracking and it’s detrimental effects. Every plain thinking person realises that fracking can never be a solution for our growing energy demand.
Fracking would not be in the world if there is no need to. Fight fracking implies fighting our growing energy demand fed by the fossil fuel industry. We have to fight against our energy hunger and need to switch to a lighter diet, a diet of renewables. There is a varied choice in which every country can offer it’s own distinctive renewable on the energy menu.
But fighting (the hype of) fracking, changing to another energy diet and more efficiency is not enough.We have to accept what the earth can sustainably offer us and let’s be humble with the intake of our energy. May we live simply so that others may simply live.
5 July 2013 (fmn 24)
Forty shades of green or a handful of grays?
In the land known of its forty shades of green a shadow is looming reducing the greens to grays. From green pastures to gray gas pads and this all in a frenzy craze to still our energy hunger.
Since ‘The Quiet Man’ was shot in colour in Ireland in 1952, tourists discovered our country for its greenness. B&B’s all over the country opened up to give the visitors thousands of welcomes to its forty shades of green feeding them local food from the pastures of forty shades of green.
Since then Ireland has changed and will change beyond recognition if we do not free it from the shadow that is already being cast by the so called need for gas drilling.
Ireland’s hallmark of green and friendly is being compromised.
Its up to us whether we will let us talk into it with promised job prospects and a quick buck to alleviate our budget deficit.
Ireland has been lured into a property boom turning already a lot of greens into grays leaving us financially devastated and vulnerable. This new lure will turn even more green into gray and will, like the property boom, eventually fade away as the gas reserves are too limited to feed our limitless energy greed. It will be hard to imagine what Ireland will look like after the gas boom, but one lesson we have already learned: booms go bust and leave devastation.
What is truly limitless is our great green resource and it is up to us whether we want to put this at stake for a short term energy solution.
It is greed that makes us eventually black and white and the forty greens of Ireland will only be in a distant film of the past. We then might bring it quietly back in our memory by watching John Fords movie on our large plasma screens, powered by shale gas generated electricity, thinking: ‘that’s how Ireland once looked like. Something has gone terribly wrong…’
Nomen Nescio, 11th September 2011
For EVERY SPECIES ON THIS PLANET there are four basic requirements for a sustainable living:
3. Living space
4. Homeostasis (stable internal conditions, environment)
Hydraulic fracturing does not seem to support any of these four basic living requirements.
Is this short term gain worth the long term loss??
Our addiction to fossil fuels is detrimental to the earth’s climate, although it might not be obvious now, it will be later. Any postponement to implement renewables is disastrous in the long term.
Fracking is just that: a postponement to kick off our fossil fuel addiction. It’s the very psychology of a smoke addict: ‘Ah, I’ll quit tomorrow’. But after tomorrow there is a next tomorrow and endless tomorrows until all the wells have run dry and the earth is a far cry from the hospitable place it is now.
Forget all the pro’s and con’s on the fracking debate, the discussions, the many academic reports and simply reflect on ourselves. We have grown so accustomed to fossil energy that it’s hard to let go from it. Just try not to use it for a week, no electricity, no petrol, no home heating oil, and We get terrible withdrawal symptoms. Let’s face it, honestly, we are energy junkies.
The oil companies know this. They are our dealers getting a big cut from the money we spend on our addiction and as dealers do, they want to feed our addiction. They’re happy, we’re happy, but are we? If we, however, face up to our addiction we face up to the fact that we are not in control anymore. We have become habituated to the warm and cosy world that fossil fuels have given us. Habituated to a shower every morning, the thermostat at 20 degrees or even more…
It is not enough to say: we don’t want fracking. It is better to say: we don’t need it and act accordingly by lowering our personal needs for energy and steering ourselves towards sustainable energy.
We owe it to our species and our planets future.
Nomen Nescio, 19 January 2012
That is always the question mark that comes up in me and that I find very difficult to reconcile when we are, and rightfully so, against fracking. We have to leave the cosey comfort zone that these fuels have given us now that its conventional sources are being depleted.
Fossil fuels are everywhere. They power our cars, our homes, the internet. Plastics are made of them, even the printing inks of our flyers or the candlesticks that we light in our churches are made of them.
They have invaded every nook and cranny of our modern society, our lifestyle is built on it. Escaping them is hard, very hard and the oil companies know this and will happily keep on fuelling our lifestyle that we have come accustomed to and that we take for granted.It is now more then ever time to turn down our fossil fuel consumption to give fracking less incentive to happen. We won’t stop it by saying no and consuming yes or carrying on as usual anticipating that renewables will soon free us from our fossil fuel dependence…Try going in the dark, going in the cold, walking and cycling through hail, sleet and rain. Try it for one day…Just one day…One global frackdown day.Benjamin van de Wetering
18 September 2012
_________________________________________________________________________________________My debt to Ireland – http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/12/magazine/john-jeremiah-sullivan-ireland.html?_r=2&scp=4&sq=voyages&st=cse (10 February 2012)
THE IRISH ROUND TOWERS
the good energy from the towers of powerTowers of Power are paramagnetic antennas which collect and focus beneficial cosmic energies and direct them into surrounding soil. The spherical paramagnetic energy field around them stimulates biological processes in the vicinity, enhancing the health, vitality and well-being of plants and animals. Topsoil production is accelerated and bumper crops are often the result. Plants have increased sugar levels, which makes them taste sweeter, while they become more resilient, and less pest and frost prone.Irish Round Towers and Professor Phil Callahan
The unique round towers in Ireland have long proved enigmatic. The American professor Phil Callahan PhD has been investigating round towers for several decades. The local Irish farmers, he discovered, appreciate them for their fertile surroundings. He observed farmers ferry their cows in row boats to Devenish Island so they could eat the lush grass growing around the tower there.
Constructed of paramagnetic stone (that is – stone which is weakly attracted to a magnet), these ancient towers act like giant magnetic antennae, drawing down energies beneficial to soil, says Callahan, well known for his studies of insect ‘antennae’. Soils around round towers are highly paramagnetic and enjoy great fertility.
Callahan believes that the Irish towers act as wave-guides or aerials for extra-low-frequency (ELF) radiation from high above Earth ( Schumann radiation) and the sun . Vital to our health, ELF waves are able to penetrate water and soil, unlike higher frequencies of radiation. To amplify incoming ELF, towers must be paramagnetic, and the effect is enhanced even more when paramagnetic and diamagnetic (i.e. weakly repelled by a magnet) materials are sandwiched together. The Irish towers, often made from granite or basalt stone with wooden floors, were perfect for the task.The Irish round towers were constructed by monks towards the end of the great period of monastic expansion, between the fifth and the seventh centuries. When they were built they would have been the only stone structure in the monastery. Today 25 or more towers stand upright in more or less perfect form, whilst the remains of another 43 dot the countryside.
Discovering the star map
One day, Callahan had bought Professor Barrow’s Irish Heritage pamphlet on round towers which included a fine map of the still-standing towers. “I was lying on a couch looking at the map. There was something very familiar about it – apart from it being a map of Ireland! After about five or ten minutes, it suddenly flashed into my mind – insight I believe it is called – exactly why the map appeared so familiar. The towers formed a star map of the northern night sky. I have used that sky map dozens and dozens of times hiking around in the deserts of the world. It is gouged like a carved woodblock in my brain.”
One of the best preserved monasteries is Clonmacnoise in the centre of the great plain of Ireland. It is on the Shannon River and is widely assumed to have been the centre for the entire monastic movement.
Callahan thought it logical to use it to represent the star Polaris. All the other star groups then fell in to place – Ursa Major, Draco, Cassiopeia, Camelopardalis and Lynx, far to the south.
What Callahan had drawn was an almost perfect sky for the December solstice. The imperfections in the round tower star plot lie mainly in the fact that the monks had to fix their towers to the lay of the land.
In 2600 B.C., when the great pyramid of Giza was being built, the star Thuban would have been the pole star. About 13,000 years into the future the Earth will have wobbled to the point where Vega will be the pole star.
What is astonishing about the round tower star map of Ireland is that there were two great ecclesiastical centres during the early days of Christianity in Ireland, one at Armagh in the north and one at Clonmacnoise in central Ireland. In relation to the round tower plot of Draco, Armagh is exactly at the point of the ecliptic centre. This demonstrates very clearly that the Celtic monks of Ireland knew not only that the Earth was round, but also about precession – the slow wobble of the Earth around a theoretical or ecliptic centre of the sky, a circular movement which takes 25,800 years to complete.
It is probable that the knowledge of astronomy, and especially of precession and the ecliptic centre demonstrated in Ireland originated in Ancient Egypt. The Denderah circular zodiac (300 B.C.), for example, proves they too had this knowledge.
“The technocrat, who is high-energy, inorganic-slanted, will of course scoff at my star map of round towers and say that the correlation is coincidental,” Callahan shrugs. “For the high-energy technocrat every phenomenon that does not hit one on the head with an inorganic hammer is a coincidence. Coincidence is the cop-out word of the century used to put low-energy organic researchers in their place.”
The enigma of the round towers – http://www.trcb.com/travel/destinations/the-enigma-of-the-irish-round-towers-part-two-5970.htm
Leave your desktop studies, get out for a walk, tune in into nature, open your eyes, be filled with wonder and then you know: this is not just rural Ireland, it is ‘Gods country’, (as one of our clients said when he visited our studio in the Ox Mountains) we should be a good steward of the earth.
Do not think that people who are involved in fracking could ever become our friends, despite their friendly smile! They have one goal – as father O’Shea (apologize for misspelling) said in a meeting in Manorhamilton – making money!
Do not be happy if the government postpones fracking until it is safe: no harm to the environment. This is not the question, fracking will destroy our culture heritage, unspoiled landscape and spirituality.
Keep Ireland Fracking Free, Keep Ireland Guaranteed Fracking Free! Full Stop!
The Descent – A Cautionary Short Story About Fracking
All characters appearing in this story are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living, dead, or awaiting judgement in heaven, is purely coincidental.
ather Jack Fracket surveyed the wintry scene from a distance. He checked his Timex “Celestial TimeMaster” watch – it was 2:30 pm on January 16th 2020 and he had not long since left the deathbed of Mrs Elsie Thornton – known to the world as Auntie Elsie. Elsie had survived the fuel poverty she had suffered as a result of successive UK government’s inept handling of energy policy, but her long slow death from cancer had been hard for her family. Father Jack, who had always been an ardent supporter of fracking, felt a special responsibility and a gnawing guilt for her suffering. Elsie’s doctor had laid the blame squarely on the pollution from the fracking wells which had been drilled just 100 yards from her home 4 years before, and even in her last days, as she faded away in her bed at home, she had had little peace as the 40 lateral pad was still in noisy operation all the day and all of the night.
The realisation that he was looking at the road from above came only slowly. There was the lorry, full of flowback water, that had come hurtling around the corner at him without warning and was now on its side in a ditch. It was slowly leaking its load into the stream that flowed alongside the narrow leafy lane that wound out of the village of Roseacre. His “Rambling Reverend” touring bike lay in a tangled, mangled heap under the bumper of the lorry and he could just make out a pale, scrawny-looking leg poking out onto the grey patched asphalt. The leg terminated in a black sock in a brown open toed sandal. His sock and his sandal.
Suddenly the world dissolved into a spinning green vortex and he felt himself tumbling upwards through space. When his vision cleared he found himself standing in a large area, that was furnished like a court house. Strangely though, it seemed to be suspended in the air. The space was full of onlookers and in the middle was what he thought looked like an archangel holding a gavel.
As Father Jack stood up the space went quiet. The archangel, looked sternly at him and intoned “Father Jack Fracket – I am the Archangel Raguel. I am the angel of Justice and Harmony. The boss is too busy to deal with small-fry like you Herself, so She has given me the job of sorting the sheep from the goats. Now, your life up until about 2010 was not a bad one and we would probably have let you stay up here if you’d arrived back then. It seems you took a wrong turning when this fracking thing started. You now stand before this celestial court accused of deliberately misleading people, scaremongering and intellectual vanity. How do you plead?”
Father Jack trembled – he had never thought that playing word games and showing off in 140 characters on Twitter could threaten his chances of eternal salvation. He thought of the lively theological debates he had expected to shine at, up here in what he’d always pictured as a sort of celestial college quadrangle. He’d always imagined the Lord (or as he now knew Her to be, the Lady) giving him an avuncular (or should that now be materteral) pat on the head afterwards and praising his incisive arguments. He thought of those heavenly bike rides he had looked forward to, wheeling though the cumulus with fellow priests on bicycles as they discussed teleology, and climbed the hills of fluffy clouds. They would have skittered down the cavernous halls of air with whoops of pleasure, like undergraduates drunk on fine wine and the burgeoning power of their own intellects. Back in the eternal present all of this suddenly seemed a very long way away.
Father Jack squeaked “But the anti-frackers were HORRID to me!”
But Raguel was speaking again ” Father Jack Fracket – you didn’t tell the truth – you misled people about where they got their gas from. You made up stories about what council officials really said. You misled people on Twitter and your blog. But the worst things you did were to scaremonger using the spectre of grandmothers dying of hypothermia because of fuel poverty and you made false promises of cheap energy from fracking. You did this to try to discredit the people who were simply trying to exercise proper stewardship of God’s earth. In fact your misleading stories were instrumental in bringing fracking to the Fylde. You aren’t the only person to have died in a traffic accident as a result, and the boss says that She believes the misery that has been inflicted on the people of the area can largely be blamed on those people who misrepresented the truth for so long. She gave you free will and you made the wrong choices.”
Father Jack tried to interrupt as was his wont, but Raguel was having none of it. In a Stentorian voice he proclaimed “Enough! You have said too much already. My judgement is that you should be cast out of this place. Take him down!”
Father Jack felt himself being manhandled towards a chute and suddenly he was falling downwards at such a great speed that he lost consciousness. When he came to again he found himself in a dark and flickering landscape. He was standing next to a network of pipes , with an infernal noise crashing about his ears. He took a deep breath. The acrid fumes made him gag and he stumbled forward, only to fall over onto a pile of slimy mud. He heard a banshee-like wail and threw himself back just in time to feel the wind of a huge black shape that hurtled past at great speed, narrowly missing his trembling, weeping form. Above his head in the darkness, he could see flames licking at the roiling boiling clouds.
Tears streamed down his upturned face and he groaned pitifully “Is this Hell?”. And then a voice from far away above boomed “No, Father Jack, you are on a fracking pad in the Fylde – we decided to send you back to give you a second chance.”
“Brrrrriiiing” – the alarm bell cut into Father Jack’s consciousness and as he awoke, covered in a film of sweat, he realised that this had all just been a horrible nightmare. Out of habit he reached for his iPad which lay on top of the Bible by his bed side and opened his Twitter App. He began to compose a Tweet and then paused.
“Perhaps not” he said to himself.
Within 20 minutes of this post going live the absurd @aunty_fracker (AKA Aunty Pants on Fire and no relation to Aunty Elsie) went ballistic on Twitter. Hilarious!