Protest stunts like Greenpeace's fracking operation keep politics alive

Greenpeace will soon put away its ‘fracking’ equipment – but its point will be made

Share

The villagers of Knutsford in Cheshire yesterday experienced at first-hand how national energy policy might affect their future.

Greenpeace activists had set up a fracking rig on the village green and renamed the Conservative local party office FRACK AND GO – a newly registered spoof company.

Knutsford – located in the heart of George Osborne’s constituency – is our very own extreme energy frontier. Osborne has spoken about his desire to exploit “the newly discovered gas reserves” that lie under our green and pleasant land, and Knutsford is just one such place. Hence Greenpeace’s stunt – one of the best I’ve come across in many years as a campaigner on environmental issues.

Greenpeace’s banners and fake surveying equipment will soon be packed away but the conversation that their actions have sparked – over beers in the Knutsford local – may lead to the creation of a resistance movement. At the very least, the council can expect letters from residents wondering why they hadn’t been made aware of the negative impact of fracking.

Stunts demonstrate political opposition and provide the public with a talking point, and, on occasions such as these – whether I’m lifting my hand to knock on Philip Hammond’s front door, or lugging discarded Christmas trees to the Department for Environment, Forestry and Rural Affairs, with no media watching and just five committed compadres – I think about a small group of women from Iowa who lost their sons early in the Vietnam war.

They called a protest outside the White House, and just six women turned up. But what they could not know was that childcare pioneer Benjamin Spock would be watching. He was inspired to do his bit – using his many platforms to speak out against the war.

Some stunts will electrify the world. Pictures of Plane Stupid occupying Parliament’s roof were on the front page of every newspaper for weeks. The protest led to the Conservative Party pledging not to expand Heathrow Airport. When Lush Cosmetics dramatised the cruelty of animal testing in their Regent Street shop window, the film they made was viewed by more than half a million people, and the EU’s Cosmetics Directive policy was finally implemented.

Stunts and protests are the visual expressions of any political movement. They exist in the moment – as testament to the fact of resistance. They are about communities of people who care trying to show other people why they should care – and no one can put a limit on the ripple effect of their action.

Tamsin Omond is an author and environmental activist

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Home Care / Support Workers

£7 - £10 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This care provider is looking for Home ...

Recruitment Genius: Web Team Leader

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's leading web des...

Recruitment Genius: Client Manager

£27000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A growing, successful, friendly...

Recruitment Genius: Property Negotiator - OTE £20,000+

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This family owned, independent ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Separate lives: Boston’s streets illustrate the divide between the town’s communities  

Migrants have far more to offer than hard work and wealth creation, yet too many exist in isolation from the rest of society

Emily Dugan
Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird has sold 40 million copies  

Go Set a Watchman: Harper Lee’s new novel is more than just a literary event

Joseph Charlton
Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate