Activists from the anti-fracking fight came to the UK to meet major banks face to face. You might be wondering why they travelled thousands of miles to meet major banks. Well, it’s because the banks are pouring billions of dollars into fracking projects exactly like the ones the activists are fighting to stop.

The activists decided to bring their years of powerful resistance to the offices of Barclays, HSBC and Credit Suisse, in London. Barclays is the biggest funder of fracking in all of Europe. And the other two banks have their fingerprints on more than a few fracking projects around the world.

The activists from the US and Mexico had a simple message for the banks. Stop pouring billions into destructive fracking. It is destroying homes, lives and the climate. 

The activists were heard out by the banks but were amazed by the “wilful ignorance” they were showing:

Despite this, the activists held their ground and explained why they fight for their land against fracking. One senior staff member was visibly moved by the stories of the activists.

What kind of damage is being done?

Despite the activists talking about different fracking projects in different countries, the issues they would cause are very similar. Fracking typically contaminates and ruins ground water, making local drinking water unhealthy at best, completely toxic at worst. Just one Mexican project will contaminate the water, soil and air over more than 382,000 hectares. That means droughts, destruction of agriculture and devastation for the people living on those lands.

The projects in Texas are just as dangerous. The total terminals and pipelines would create as many greenhouse emissions as 40 million cars per year. They also completely ignore the rights of those already living on the land. Multiple Indigenous tribes are being ignored and projects are being given the green light without free, prior, and informed consent. The projects will degrade local fishing businesses and nature tourism, which the locals rely on. Some are also set to destroy the habitats of several endangered species.

But Indigenous groups are fighting back

The land defenders standing against the fossil fuel projects have got multiple wins, especially against gas projects:

  • Protests from activists, including Indigenous people, pushed the French bank, BNP Paribas, to withdraw from nearly all liquified natural gas terminals and pipelines.
  • Cork, Ireland, canceled their plans to import gas from Rio Grande LNG because of the impacts of fracking.
  • Annova LNG, another LNG terminal proposed for the Rio Grande Valley, canceled its export project because of the local opposition.
  • A major lawsuit victory forced the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to re-review the climate and environmental impacts of Texas LNG and Rio Grande LNG. The FERC is considering several other amendments to the proposed LNG terminals such as a new proposed pipeline design.
  • Texas LNG does not currently have its Clean Water Act Section 404 permit from the Army Corps of Engineers. This is required to move forward with the project.
  • Nearly four years behind schedule, the two remaining LNG terminals have been plagued with delays because of opposition, lawsuits, and the unstable gas market.

This is no small feat. This is decades of powerful, determined resistance to some of the world’s biggest fossil fuel companies.

Meet some of the activists:

Indigenous activists have been crucial in fighting fossil fuel companies in recent years. This goes way beyond the most famous projects in North America including the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline and the Atlantic Coast gas pipeline.

A report by the Indigenous Environmental Network and Oil Change International found that Indigenous communities resisting fossil fuel projects had stopped or delayed greenhouse gas pollution equivalent to at least 25 percent of annual U.S. and Canadian emissions. Here are some of the incredible activists on the frontline:

Oliveria Montès Lazcano

Oliveria Montes Lazcano is the Coordinator of the National Institute of Indigenous Peoples in the region of Huachinango Puebla in Mexico. Since 2016 she participated in the defence of her community territory against the Tuxpan-Tula gas pipeline, which is funded by HSBC, Credit Suisse, and Barclays. She has won major pipeline fights against huge corporations on behalf of her people. And now studies law.

Bekah Hinojosa

Bekah Hinojosa is an artist working with her community along the Texas coastline to stop oil & gas export projects that would harm people of color and Indigenous populations. Bekah is fighting against a large collection of projects including Rio Grande LNG (NextDecade), Rio Bravo Pipeline (Enbridge), Valley Crossing Pipeline (Enbridge) and Texas LNG (Glenfame Group, Texas LNG, Samsung Engineering Co.).

Christopher Basaldú

Dr. Basaldú is Esto’k Gna, a member of the Carrizo Comecrudo Tribe of Texas. He has participated in Indigenous movements against the oil & gas industries, among many other issues: