Look who’s posing with anti-fracking activists


Francis, the Bishop of Rome, has been photographed with anti-fracking activists from Argentina. That’s not surprising. At the start of his ministry in the Vatican, Francis had mentioned his concern about our broken relationship with Creation. He is now believed to be preparing a major new encyclical on the environment.

Posing with Francis are anti-fracking activist Juan Pablo Olssen and Argentinian politician and environmental filmmaker Fernando Solanas – Photograph: Olssen

Likewise, the 13th century saint, Francis of Assisi, believed in the harmony of all things in creation, including Brother Sun, Sister Moon, Brothers Wind and Air, and Mother Earth. See St Francis’ Canticle.

The process of hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” involves “drilling and injecting fluid into the ground at a high pressure in order to fracture shale rocks to release natural gas inside”. As conventional sources of natural gas are depleted, oil and gas corporations are increasingly turning to non-conventional sources using processes like fracking.

According to Wikipedia, “opponents (of fracking) point to potential environmental impacts, including contamination of ground water, depletion of fresh water, risks to air quality, noise pollution, the migration of gases and hydraulic fracturing chemicals to the surface, surface contamination from spills and flow-back, and the health effects of these.[9] For these reasons hydraulic fracturing has come under international scrutiny, with some countries suspending or banning it.”

In October, The Guardian reported that “fracking in America generated 280bn US gallons of toxic waste water last year – enough to flood all of Washington DC beneath a 22ft deep toxic lagoon, a new report out on Thursday found”. The website added that “a study published … by researchers at Duke University found new evidence of radiation risks from drilling waste water”.

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