Fighting the frackers – locally and internationally

Frack free Lancashire

Frack free Lancashire

At the end of June, anti-fracking campaigners won a significant victory when Lancashire County Council rejected Cuadrilla’s applications to start fracking at two sites between Blackpool and Preston in Lancashire. The Roseacre Wood site application was rejected due to “impact on traffic” and the Little Plumpton application was rejected on the grounds of “unacceptable noise impact” and the “adverse urbanising effect on the landscape”. Since a crash-course on the pros and cons of fracking during several visits to the Balcombe anti-fracking protests in 2013, I have been convinced that these kind of basic and immediate environmental concerns will ultimately be the reasons that the shale gas industry will never become established in the UK. There are of course a ton of other reasons to be more than concerned about fracking – the danger of water pollution, the risk of earthquakes, more fossil fuel burning contributing to climate change and so on. David Cameron and the Conservative government are wrong.

Frack stops here

Frack stops here – and everywhere

Although the council’s decision has been described as winning round one, victory in Lancashire was important. An article in The Ecologist shows what a significant achievement this was, given the shockingly low and dishonest tactics they were up against.

“The Planning Officer bears a huge responsibility to evaluate the application, via a reasoned summary of the best available evidence, in an impartial and responsible manner. Unfortunately, in this case the planning officer reports fell so woefully short of such standards that they raise the obvious suspicion of undue political and/or industry pressure and influence.” Dr Damien Short, director of the Human Rights Consortium at the School of Advanced Study, University of London.

FrackOffCouncillor Paul Hayhurst:- “We were told we must vote for the application. If we didn’t we would be breaking the law and we would be deemed irresponsible members. If it went to appeal and we lost, costs would be awarded against the authority.” Hayhurst then insisted the DCC (Development Control Committee) publish the legal advice so that the public could see it. The meeting was then adjourned until the 29th June. But it wasn’t until 10 a.m. the next day when the legal advice, written by David Manley QC, was finally published on the Council’s website, and worse still it was toned down and expressly stated that rejecting the application would not break the law.

The Conservative government recently announced an end to subsidies for small-scale solar energy projects and a cancellation of home energy efficient schemes. Despite their occasional token green rhetoric, the government really couldn’t make it more obvious that they couldn’t care less about the environment. Earlier this month they made an outrageous U-turn on the promise to exclude fracking from Britain’s most important nature sites.

EnvironmentArticleMeanwhile, in the U.S. where thousands of wells have been drilled, the volume of waste produced is overwhelming the official disposal routes. It requires 5-8 million gallons of fresh water mixed with sand and chemicals to frack a single well. Some recent damming data comes from an Environmental Science & Technology article for ACS Publications: “Our findings indicate that discharge and accidental spills of OGW to waterways pose risks to both human health and the environment.” http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/es504654n

Fracking on international trial in 2017

FrackingTrialA coalition of human rights lawyers and academics have announced an international tribunal to put fracking on trial. More on this at New Internationalist and Oil Change International.

“The PPT will be inviting witness testimony from citizens all over the world who may wish to hold preliminary mini-tribunals in their own country. Evidence and findings from those early tribunals can then be submitted to the later plenary hearings in the US and UK.”

In the meantime, communities around the UK continue to organize and fight back. According to a recent survey by Frack Free Upton, of over 2,100 residents living within one mile of IGas and Dart Energy’s drilling site, 86% do not want unconventional drilling in Upton.

More information on fighting fracking in the UK at Frack Off or various facebook pages including B.I.F.F. (Britain and Ireland Frack Free) http://www.facebook.com/britainandirelandfrackfree

The astrology of rock and pop musicians

Birth chart for Elvis Presley

Birth chart for Elvis Presley

I recently gave a talk on “The Astrology of Rock and Pop Musicians” to the Brighton and Hove Astrology Circle, a very enjoyable evening. After a few questions (e.g. Why do we pay the top rock and pop stars so much? What is their role in society? Has the music business – as we know it – had its day?) I zipped through about forty different charts, beginning with Bill Haley and ending with Kanye West. I could have done the charts for Punishment of Luxury’s drummer or the singer from Other Lives but I figured that big names from the last sixty years or so were far more interesting for everyone, including me.

Mick Jagger, a lot of Leo!

Mick Jagger, a lot of Leo

The Pluto in Leo generation (1940-1958) came into the world with the potential for powerful, larger than life, individualistic, creative self-expression. As Pluto entered the early degrees of Leo, the likes of The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Mick Jagger and Joni Mitchell were born. Neptune also entered Libra at about the same time, bringing ideals of love and peace, music being an obvious outlet for the transcendent Neptunian energy. Nearly all the great rock and pop stars of the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s had this combination of Pluto and Neptune in their astrological birth charts. Punk rockers such as John Lydon (Johnny Rotten) and Captain Sensible were born near the end of Pluto in Leo, helping to bring to a close the generational expression that The Beatles started.

Birth chart for Taylor Swift (time of birth not confirmed)

Birth chart for Taylor Swift (time of birth not confirmed)

Kurt Cobain

Kurt Cobain

Robbie Williams

Robbie Williams

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of course there have been a wide range of interesting characters in the rock and pop world who were born after 1958. Amongst others, I had a quick look at the charts of Kurt Cobain (sensitive and visionary Pisces with the explosive Uranus-Pluto famously on the Ascendant), Bono (the responsibility of a strong Saturn in Capricorn and lots of Earth), Robbie Williams (the eccentric and positive but inflated self-importance of a close Sun conjunct Jupiter in Aquarius, I confess to being a bit of a fan!). I wasn’t always able to find accurate birth data for the more recent stars such as Ed Sheeran, so I went with just the date of birth instead, which can still give considerable insight. Along with everyone born at the end of the eighties and the beginning of the nineties, Aquarian Ed has the potentially consciousness-raising Uranus-Neptune conjunction in ambitious Capricorn. One would expect that to be in some kind of prominent position in his whole astrological chart, if or when the time of birth is discovered.

Thanks to Phoebe Wyss, Julian Venables and everyone at the Brighton group. Another talk from me later this year.

Planets In Transit by Robert Hand

PlanetsInTransitI picked up a cheap second-hand copy of this classic 20th century text recently, my old heavily-used copy having fallen to pieces several years ago. Although most people relatively new to astrology now learn astrological basics from the internet, this book still remains one of the modern classics that no contemporary astrologer can afford to be without. Just about every serious astrologer I’ve ever met has got a copy of this on his or her shelf. For most of the book, Robert Hand explores the meaning of every possible combination of planets in transit to each other, this being one of the most commonly used techniques of astrological prediction. In addition to the planets, the ascendant and midheaven are also included but astrologers using Chiron will have to look elsewhere. The introductory chapters about the interpretation and timing of transits are well worth a read, and these are followed by a case study of Nixon and the Watergate scandals in the early 1970s. Then its on to a chapter for each planet and the transits it makes to all the others. RobertHandcolourHand’s interpretations are full of psychological insights, but the nature of specific events that may occur are also covered. For the first few years I had this book I tended to focus on the more obvious long-term transits of the outer planets (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto) but eventually I became just as intrigued by the uncanny accuracy of the “insignificant” daily or even hourly transits of the Sun, the Moon and Mercury. The smallest and the largest life cycles have their part to play. Buy this book and prove or disprove predictive astrology for yourself. A massive contribution to modern astrology, thank you Robert.

Disappearing facebook “likes” and “shares” on this blog

WordpressOne or two visitors to this blog might have noticed that the facebook “likes”, which have actually now become “shares”, have been going up and down over the last year or so. Although many WordPress “Happiness Engineers” have been helpful and done their best, I’ve finally given up on this one. The problem was fixed several times, only for it to happen again.

So, all the facebook likes/shares have gone from my astrology posts and several of the Sanctuary Housing posts. This is very frustrating as I’d spent quite a bit of time individually promoting several blogs and I now have nothing to show for that effort. Of course there are more important things in life but it’s still a downer 🙂 . If I remember correctly, Kate Bush’s astrology chart and the U.S.A. astrology for 2014-2015 both had over 70 likes, whereas now there are none showing. Apparently it’s all to do with “facebook tracking” and changes when the site became https rather than http.

Just thought I’d mention it, partly in case anyone had noticed and wondered what was going on, and partly to let any other bloggers with the same problem know that they are not alone. Cheers.

New arrivals

TheNewArrivals