Cheap Seats can’t help but wonder what happened to the enormous crowds that were supposed to turn out for last weekend’s Global Frackdown2.
The “worldwide” event was aimed at demonstrating beyond a doubt the public’s overwhelming opposition to hydraulic fracturing, the drilling technique that jump-started both an energy revolution and a new fundraising pitch for enviros.
Unfortunately for fracktivists, turnout at the frackdown wasn’t quite what they had hoped for. Most photos from the rallies show sparse crowds of a few dozen activists, despite the steady drumbeat of pre-frackdown publicity and the participation of hundreds of professional left-wing protest groups in 26 countries.
A photo from the protest in Columbus, Ohio, posted by Energy In Depth showed four people and what appeared to be giant toilet. A rally scheduled to be held at the University of Southern California drew no participants.
In Colorado, there was no discernible news coverage of what was supposed to be a half-dozen events from Denver to Fort Collins, despite the fracking moratoriums on the ballot in four municipalities.
“[E]ven events in that state yielded muted enthusiasm. An event in the city of Golden shows zero registrants, while only two people registered for an event in the largest city of Denver. Activists have called on the city of Greeley to place a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing, but only nine people registered for an event there – two of which registered as ‘Anonymous,’” reported Energy in Depth.
Photos of a march in Longmont—also known as Ground Zero for the anti-fracking movement in Colorado–show a couple dozen people walking in a field behind a man with a guitar. And that’s from Food and Water Watch, the anti-industry group behind the frackdown.
Still, turnout was slightly better than at last year’s inaugural rallies. The Denver Post headline from the September 2012 event: “Small protest groups take part in Global Frackdown.”
This year’s event did receive wall-to-wall coverage by one news outlet: Russia Today, which provided dozens of breathless updates and photos on the protests here and around the world.
Russia, of course, stands to lose billions if U.S. energy companies continue to develop untapped reserves of natural gas, oil and shale that were once inaccessible but made available as a result of fracking technology.
“We say no to shale gas’: World unites against fracking,” declared Sunday’s headline in Russia Today.
Judging from last weekend’s sparse crowds, we’re reasonably certain the world hasn’t united against fracking, which holds the key to low-cost and abundant oil and natural gas. On the other hand, the frackdown provided another example of how U.S environmentalists and Russian President Vladimir Putin are uniting against global consumers in an effort to limit access to affordable energy.
That increasingly cozy relationship may be the real takeaway from last weekend’s otherwise forgettable protests.