My first view of the Atlantic Ocean.

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It is easy to believe we are each waves
And forget we are also the ocean…
    Jon J.Muth

I come from Belarus which is a land-locked country and last week, I saw the Atlantic ocean for the first time.

With the other new EVS volunteers working with GEAI we visited Sligo and saw the ocean at Strandhill. For some, the ocean is familiar but for me it was a unique experience.  However, the feeling for everybody was almost the same. The feeling of admiration and excitement with the big waves crashing on the shore.

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It was good weather, and we visited the shelly beach where thousands of shells lay on the sand.

 

People were walking along the shore with their dogs, surfers were out on the waves and all of this made a very special atmosphere.

 

The buildings – markets, restaurants and homes – have a style connected with the ocean especially with shells.

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Even the Irish name of the city of Sligo, “Sligeach”, means “abounding in shells” or “shelly place”.

So it was really a great time for us. And we are looking forward to another visit to the city and to the ocean again.

Katsiaryna

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Five years of Shale Gas: Public Health Impacts

The evidence is now clear

Five years ago, American Journal of Public Health  published an article discussing
the potential harm to the environment and human health from horizontal drilling and high volume hydraulic fracturing of shale. At that time the USA were importing oil and gas to meet their demands but the price at pump was high so the pressure to explore locally.

Since 2011, there has been not only a surge in drilling for natural gas and oil in the United
States (e.g., California, Colorado, Louisiana, North Dakota, Pennsylvania,
Texas) and in other countries (e.g., Australia), but also a huge increase in the number of published studies focused on environmental and public health impacts associated
with UGD (unconventional gas development).

After five years, the same journal published an update stating that the evidence is clear of the harmful effects on human health and environment from UGD and advises focusing on policies.

We again stress the importance, indeed urgency, to focus on fair and sensible energy
policies, and to be mindful of the implications that such policies have on our environment and on population health. Ignoring the body of evidence, to us, is not viable option anymore.

Read the entire article here.

EVS Volunteers at Hustings debate

Saturday 13th February GEAI attended a political debate organised by Love Leitrim. It was an opportunity for Sligo/Leitrim Constituency’s candidates to express their position on fracking. The Irish General election will take place in two weeks and the electorate hopes for an engagement from candidates to ban hydraulic fracturing once elected.

GEAI members was accompanied by three EVS volunteers: Olga, Lisandra and Cédric. A perfect occasion for them to follow the electoral campaign.

With this Election and the Vote Frack Free campaign I started my EVS in a very interesting time. Saturday’s meeting was amazing and now I follow its impact during this campaign” declared Lisandra. “It was my first time to a political debate in Ireland and it was a great opportunity for me. Last year in Azores I was a member of a political party and Saturday I could compare the Irish political system with the Portuguese”.

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Cédric, Olga, Lisandra and Aedin

 

SIGN THE PLEDGE – CALL TO ALL CANDIDATES

A new phase in our campaign

Following our successful Stop the Study campaign, the campaign against fracking in Ireland is now entering a new phase. All candidates throughout Ireland, in every constituency, are being asked to sign a pledge that they will support legislation “to ban unconventional exploration or extraction of shale oil or gas using high volume hydraulic fracturing (fracking)”.

To sign the pledge is made simple through the campaign website votefrackfree.org. The website includes a “name and shame” section that names those who have not signed. A publicity event on 19th February will highlight the support given to the campaign.

“The threat of fracking has still not gone away” said Aedín. “Applications for exploration licences are still on the Minister’s desk! We want all candidates of every party and none, to sign this pledge to express their opposition to this industry. Then we want the new government to pass new legislation that will ban fracking in Ireland forever.

We will continue to campaign until that legislation is passed. New studies of the environment and public health impacts of fracking in US are confirming that this is a high risk industry; the litany of harms in areas being fracked increases day by day – water contamination, earthquakes, air pollution and a range of public health impacts that include skin and respiratory illnesses, allergies and cancer.

We don’t want or need fracking in Ireland!”

The Sign the Pledge campaign is organised by Fracking Free Network, Friends of the Earth and GEAI. It is operating through the campaign website www.votefrackfree.org.

“STOP THE STUDY” CAMPAIGN HAS STOPPED THE STUDY!

Good news – it’s official!

The EPA Research Study on Fracking is now stopped. This study was targeted by the campaign against fracking as research showed the study was compromised – it was being led by companies with huge vested interests in the oil and gas industry. A statement from the Department (DCENR) yesterday (2nd) confirmed that the study has been stopped after its first phase, which included an overall look at regulations and legislation governing fracking. Phase 2, on-the-ground studies in Leitrim and Fermanagh which would have included some drilling, will not proceed and a report of Phase 1 will be published in Q3 of this year.

“GEAI is delighted with this news. Before Christmas, Minister Joe McHugh, who has responsibility for Natural Resources, said that he had requested an interim report from the EPA. It is great news that this has been confirmed. Basically, the study is stalled and, moreover, it is unlikely to proceed in the future – we understand that the contract with the lead research contractor – CDM Smith – finishes in August this year, two years from signing.

However, the campaign does not end. Now we will push for legislation that will ensure that fracking is never introduced into Ireland – the last hurdle. We are launching the “SIGN THE PLEDGE” campaign on Friday – asking all candidates to sign a pledge to support legislation to ban fracking in Ireland permanently.”

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