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Design Cover Sheet
Title of Design Dates of Design Design Brief
Frack Free Somerset February – May 2012, Ongoing ever since
This design was undertaken to support the planning and implementation of a local campaign to prevent fracking and unconventional gas developments in Somerset. The necessity of the design came following a public meeting in Glastonbury in February 2012, when a small group came together to take action locally. We made the decision to contact other local groups who had hosted meetings and in May 2012 had our first coalition meeting, forming Frack Free Somerset. The design combined both group exercises during May as well as solo research time.
How this design meets the Assessment Criteria: Demonstrating Design Skills Overview of Design Process
• Survey – exploring what is fracking & unconventional gas, areas which are under threat & licensed for exploration in Somerset, local geology & how it may influence company intentions, examples of effective resistance worldwide, exploring power relationships in unconventional gas & surveying local groups in the UK. Analysis – Resources audit, skills audit, applying permaculture ethics & principles, spirals of erosion Design – Design decisions made Implementation – Starting the campaign & maintaining momentum Evaluation – Ongoing action learning & evaluation of impact
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Use of Permaculture Ethics, Principles & Theory
See full design report, in summary: Ethics: • Earth care – defence of landbase, prevention of pollution & exploitative resource extraction, promotion of appropriate technology and community self-determination over alternative energy • People care – fracking is a health justice issue, campaigning with awareness of self care and people care – burnout awareness, accessibility and so forth • Fairshares – economic justice, addressing power inequalities & over the long term working for the redistribution of power Principles • Observe & interact – planning, thinking, researching, strategizing, careful interaction before intervening/getting started • Catch & store energy – utilising episodic abundance in campaign, burnout awareness, capturing energy e.g. finances, contacts etc. • Obtain a yield – being effective! • Apply self-regulation & accept feedback – evaluating efforts, using feedback from public & others • Use & value renewable resources & services – people care, using opponents power against them • Produce no waste – not being ineffective or wasting precious time and resources, valuing everyone’s input
• • • • • • Design from patterns to details – Awareness of bigger picture and wider international patterns of resistance, while also working at local levels Integrate rather than segregate – spectrum of groups working to achieve goals (many elements supporting one function), working together/coalition working Use small & slow solutions – building coalition at sustainable pace, escalation of tactics Use & value diversity – accessibility, diverse local groups & supporting new groups to start as strategy, valuing diversity of tactics Use edges & value the marginal – building relationships, coalition structure creates most edge Creatively use & respond to change – re-evaluating tactics and approaches, working for long haul, utilising pioneers, placing campaign in wider context & history of social struggle
Design Tools & Techniques Used
• • • • • • Resources Audit Skills Audit Surveying Spirals of erosion Applying permaculture principles analysis SADI
How this design meets the Assessment Criteria: Learning from, and developing your permaculture practice Effectiveness of Design & Design Outcomes
In terms of evaluating the success of Frack Free Somerset so far, here are some key numbers and milestones in the campaign to date (May 2012-May 2013) Please note these have grown significantly following May 2013 due to the attention received following the blockade in Balcombe:
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Number of local groups, from 4 to 29. Number of facebook likes, from 0 to 857. Number of public meetings, from 3 to 21. Number of other public events such as workshops and benefit gigs, from 0 to 23. Number of newsletter and action alert subscribers, from 0 to 487.
Frack Free Somerset’s coalition structure (mainly an outcome of this design) has served to inspire other groups around the country. Personal & Professional outcomes: • Confidence in applying design to campaigns, resistance and social struggle • Developed my skills as a community organiser • Greater confidence in group design process • Article in Permaculture Magazine ‘Protesting with Permaculture’ • Greater integration of my passions
What went well: • Very cooperative and supportive group, some with previous experience of permaculture • Healthy communication and decision making processes used regularly
• Participation & support from people during the surveying process e.g. Frack Off interview, local groups survey
What I would have done differently: • If more time I would have researched the Australian examples in greater depths, certainly in terms of any criticism or other feedback • Designed for myself to become redundant – many in Frack Free Somerset are still too dependent on my input/contribution to the campaign and I need to work on sharing my skills more/supporting succession, especially around technical learning edges for people to decrease workload for myself and increase group resilience • Designed a record keeping system for myself and/or the group to better track our achievements and learnings
No cost for campaign design other than time and small amount for printing. In terms of Frack Free Somerset, we accessed a £6k grant in February 2013, the budgets and account for which can be shared on request. We have also undertaken a lot of grassroots fundraising to ensure we have more than one source of income.
Learning Pathway Reflections
• This design process made design as a tool come alive for me – I could really see its power and impact when I felt like I was applying it to something incredibly important – saving Somerset from becoming a gasfield! I have had some great action learning experience, both as an individual and from our group activities – this design has allowed me to introduce tools and ideas, try out different meeting structures, event designs and more. It has been very fertile ground for growth. This design has also allowed me to optimise my radical niche within the permaculture movement.
How this design meets the Assessment Criteria: Applying permaculture in your own life
• Through this design I have greater awareness of the impacts of the fossil fuels industry and as such definitely interact with my energy consumption differently – for example taking a greater interest in community energy and off grid options for Brook End I am now interacting more sustainably with my political projects now that I value people care more and see that I need to ‘capture and store’ my own energy to prevent burnout.
How this design meets the Assessment Criteria: Applying permaculture to your work and projects
Demonstrating design skills • I have documented a detailed design process, used a clear design framework, choose appropriate methods and above all produced an effective design that is working in the real world and supporting our group to be effective in resisting unconventional gas extraction Dissemination • ‘Protesting with Permaculture’ article published in Permaculture Magazine and read by thousands about how we applied design to Frack Free Somerset • Undertaken a huge amount of campaign outreach and solidarity work that has disseminated our design decisions – for example supporting Frack Free Wales with an Unconventional Gas Tour and doing a presentation at a meeting about the Frack Free Somerset model – which has been promoted by others to be an effective
model to learn from and imitate, as well as countless other workshops on extreme energy at which Frack Free Somerset has been referenced. • Disseminating the design via my WildHeartPermaculture website • Sharing the design tools and experiences via the Liberation Permaculture Course in the Summer 2014 Community Building • We have created a network of more than 30 groups around Somerset that are now working for self-determination over their energy in their villages and towns, and being empowered by resisting unconventional gas exploitation in their area • We have also supported in solidarity other groups to start and develop such as Frack Free Dorset and Frack Free Wales, as well as undertaking solidarity actions with groups in Balcombe and Lancashire, Australia and Romania – we are building UK and international networks!