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“Ban fracking!” A creative call from young people in fracking affected communities

Posted by Jamie Gorman on September 26, 2016 at 11:07 AM

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A group of young activists aged 12-18 from fracking affected communities in the north-west of Ireland have highlighting the dangers of fracking through artworks created during the month long Eco/Art/Action summer programme.

The programme was a collaboration between Young Friends of the Earth, local anti-fracking group Love Leitrim and artists from the Leitrim Sculpture Centre.

Taking place over the course of two day workshops and a weekend residential, it aimed to explore fracking in its local and global context and create a space for young people to make their voices heard in debates around the issue.

The project was guided by an environmental justice approach which seeks to support those directly affected by environmental injustices to have their voices heard and take action for change. Development education methodologies were employed, inspired by the School of Sustainability model developed by Friends of the Earth Latin America. These methods are used to increase the ability of participants to take action, encouraging them to see the issue of fracking in both a local and global context, using their heads, hearts and hands to tackle problems.

It began with the young people creatively highlighting and discussing the issues they were most concerned about in their lives, their community and the world: from Brexit and LGBT discrimination to rural unemployment and the stresses of the Junior Cert.

Connections were made between the personal/political and local/global which put the threat of fracking in context for young people.

In a visit to the Organic Centre, the young people explored the possibilities of sustainable local food and farming, which contrasted sharply with fracking which threatens local agriculture as well as global food sovereignty by contributing to climate change.

On the weekend residential they created short plays, made t-shirts and used a variety of art materials, including recycled scrap, to express concerns about fracking and raise awareness of the drilling process through sculpture.

The sculptures created by the young people formed part of the larger “Fracktured Thinking” exhibition by Leitrim Sculpture Centre artist in residence Brian Connolly.

Art pieces

Eco/Art/Action group, Pin me down, paper and markers, 1.5 x 4 metres, July 2016.

Eco/Art/Action group, Above/below, papier mache, piping, sand and limestone gravel, July 2016.

Eco/Art/Action group, Fracking takes root, metal, soil and electric wiring, July 2016. 

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