Climate Change – No More, Not Here

It really is a small neck of the woods, the little town where I’ve been living for the past two years.  And only a short distance away is a spot called Leith Hill, situated in what is known as The Surrey Hills, Area Of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

As is happening in many places across the world, there is a small band of dedicated and brave souls who have taken on the David role, against the Goliath of government and the fossil fuel companies.  Because there is a plan to drill for oil on the top of Leith Hill, and they are opposed to it.  And I may not say that the process that they will be following, which is called fracking everywhere else in the world, is fracking, because government have changed the values of a few technical details thereby changing their definition of fracking, so that the fracking proposed for Leith Hill is not fracking, it’s drilling … and doing some other stuff as well, which sounds a lot like fracking but, oh right – there’s a little less pressure involved, got it.

Added to this is the fact, provided by the fossil fuel company themselves, that there is only a 30% chance of finding any hydrocarbons and then there might be anything from zero to 5 million barrels. This would equate to 3 minutes per year (for thirty years) of UK energy demand (0.0012% of UK energy demand).

As can be expected the logistics and infrastructure required to get all the machinery up into the woods on top of the hill, set up shop, drill, extract the oil into containers, transport these containers down a very narrow closely wooded, and in places residential lane is rather impactful.  Not to mention the impact upon water aquifers as a result of the “not fracking” process.

David and his team have been doing a pretty good job at keeping Goliath at bay by every possible means, and as I write this options are running out.  Today it is down to trying to block their Application for their Traffic Management Plan to be approved, relating to their massive oil tankers blocking the lane up the hill, destroying trees, clearing forest so that they can turn, parking overnight etc.

I was invited by the local government council to submit my view on the Traffic Management Plan, and I wanted to share my response with you – this is the purpose of this blog – because it’s important.  It is time that we stop doing this.  Now we know for a fact how wrong it is.  It is time.  Even if only to read this article and change our own thinking.  Here’s what I said:

Leith Hill

Good day (to the 3 people I addressed it to)

I have been invited by you to make representations about this application.  Thank you, for me this is an important issue and I’m pleased to be able to express my view.

The view that I am about to express does not focus solely upon the isolated detail of the Traffic Management Plan, but on the broader picture.  It might be difficult for some people to make a connection between flooding in Paris, snowfall of the century in Moscow, Cape Town the first city ever to run out of water, and many more extreme disasters happening worldwide, and this relatively insignificant traffic management plan in Dorking.  Many people would likewise struggle to connect the ever decreasing areas of Nature, of natural beauty, trees, wildlife, many gone forever, with this seemingly small “technical detail” of traffic management.

But this, the connecting of these dots, is what it’s really all about, and more.

Now you, in the carrying out of your roles and responsibilities as defined by your job description and title, may well be doing an excellent job in objectively collecting and analysing all the technical details, and all the applicable and relevant information, and hearing both sides of the story – for a traffic management plan.  And the local council and national government politicians may well feel, and believe, that they are performing their duties admirably, and doing what they believe is best for the economy of the country, their country, to get something out of the ground which will earn somebody some money.

As far as the contribution to the nation’s fossil fuel supplies is concerned, from what I have read it would seem that the contribution that could be offered by a successful Leith Hill project would be so minimal as to be completely insignificant to the overall national figure.  But perhaps too a discussion on this can be avoided since it is said that what has been approved is “only” an “exploratory” drilling site.

The preceding two paragraphs that I have written do not link to the broader picture that I mentioned.  The broader picture that I speak about is that which has been lost by the vast majority of people in the world that we live in today.  A world that the now older generations have created and have been pursuing for far too long, and so have forgotten what really counts in life.

When you claim a piece of land to be yours, and call it your country, you’re proud of it and call yourself a patriot, and are prepared to defend that piece of land, even give your life to defend it, then you need to know and understand why, surely?

There are only two things that count, that matter, in this whole picture – the land itself, and the people and beings that live on and off the land.  These are of equal importance but by far those that take first priority are the children.

The decision makers of the past few generations have already created a shocking world and style of living.  The decisions that people make today will likewise have the biggest impact in the future and specifically, especially, upon the children.  Our children are growing up, and will be living, in a world that is a mess, with ever decreasing areas of Nature, ever decreasing species of wildlife, ever increasing environmental disasters … and why?  Because Europa Oil & Gas, and many other companies like them across the world, have lost and forgotten the broader picture.

It is not about approving a traffic management plan.  It is not about Leith Hill.  It is about putting a stop to the direction that the world has been moving in for too long now.  It is about starting to redress the wrongs that we have committed to the land, to all living beings, and to our children.  It is about sending out the message to the rest of the world that says, “no more, not here, we will make a stand and start doing what’s right – why don’t you join us!”

Jon O’Hanlon