NI 468 - Fracking - the gathering storm - December, 2013

NI 468 - December, 2013

Subscribe from $15.00

Fracking - the gathering storm

A note from the editor

Dinyar Godrej

Ah December! Month when citizens of the Western world can feel under an absolute, sometimes despairing, obligation to ‘be festive’. And what do we offer our readers? Why, an edition on fracking, of course.

The subject of the December mag makes a brief appearance in editorial considerations as the end of the year looms into sight. Proposed topics are met with groans of ‘That’s really going to cheer them up!’ In the end, we just go with what we think is important, December or not.

In our lowdown on fracking, a controversial form of fossil fuel extraction, there are some glimmers of hope. Chief among them being the sheer number of campaigns against the practice wherever it is proposed. Where fracking is concerned, it seems that despite the disinformation peddled by the oil and gas industry and mouthpiece politicians, large numbers of people are quite capable of making up their own minds.

We had festivities of a different sort on 31 October, Halloween. We celebrated 40 years on the media landscape with a glittering panel of activists and thinkers who debated ‘What it means to be an internationalist today’ with an engaged and lively audience. Watch it at:

At times like these particularly I am reminded of our larger audience – you, our readers. Thank you for believing in us through the years and supporting us with your subscriptions. Thank you to those of you who have taken the further step of becoming a Friend of New Internationalist. We couldn’t do what we do without you.

This month our Worldbeater column features Mr European Austerity, also known as Olli Rehn. He may not have a high media profile himself but the campaign of cuts over which he has presided is front page news on an almost daily basis.

With the intractability of the Syrian conflict in mind, disillusion with the UN’s inability to find some way out is tempting. Our Argument on whether it is time to junk the UN Security Council gives pause for thought.

Dinyar Godrej for the New Internationalist co-operative.

The big story

The frack files

The lowdown on fracking and why communities around the world are so against it. The myths, the science, the history, the empty promises, the facts – all in this handy primer written by environmental researcher Danny Chivers.

Read this article

Some call it an energy revolution, others a toxic threat. It’s been hailed as the dawn of a new energy era and condemned as the final deadly fossil rush that will carry us over the climate cliff. Some governments have banned it, while others are offering tax breaks and eagerly rewriting local laws to smooth its arrival.

It’s not hard to see why horizontal high-volume slickwater hydraulic fracturing – or fracking – has hit the headlines around the world. It’s a new process (see


What the frack...?

The fracking process explained visually.

Read this article

Will fracking realign the world?

Will fracking realign the world?

Pundits foresee an altered world order brought on by fracked gas and oil. Dinyar Godrej thinks the changes could play out quite differently to the most common predictions.

Read this article

For Jamile, city life is a daily struggle to find food and shelter, and to avoid multiple dangers.Railway Children

The end of the line

Indian railway stations are a magnet for impoverished children looking for a better future. What usually awaits them is abuse and exploitation. Terina Keene on an initiative helping them find a way out.

Read this article



Three generations of a Tamil family internally displaced.Trokilinochchi Under a CC Licence

Crude triumphalism in Sri Lanka

On the eve of the Commonwealth summit in Colombo, Lewis Garland reports on the insidious disempowerment of the country's Tamil community.

Read this article


Sarah John

Letter from Botswana: The rule of nostalgia

What is the accommodation between tradition and modernity, wonders Wame Molefhe.

Read this article

Filip Horvat/AP Photo

Who is Olli Rehn?

Tough love, harsh truths, austerity cuts – it’s all in a day’s work for the European Commission's ‘archangel of fiscal sobriety’.

Read this article

Joel Ryan/PA Photos

Interview with Saleh Bakri

The Palestinian actor tells Frank Barat why fame will not change him - or his passion for justice for his people.

Read this article

Dean PeacockSonke Gender Justice Network

Making Waves: Dean Peacock

Dean Peacock , the director of Sonke Gender Justice Network, is determined to engage men and boys in women’s rights. By Janey Stephenson.

Read this article

Film, Book & Music Reviews