Ideology, Nimbyism

“Dear Aunty, is there anything wrong with saying ‘no’ to fracking because I’m a NIMBY?”

Oh my, sweeties, no – not at all.

In fact, my dears, I rather think the ordinary people of Balcombe, Banks, Singleton and St Annes (and other towns and villages where fracking may take place, like Eccles) would be much better respected if they admitted that’s really why they’re fighting shale gas developments.

Lets face it, pumpkins, inside all of us hides a NIMBY.

Given the choice, none of us would honestly want any kind of industrial or energy development near the places we live and socialise, would we?

But the problem, my dears, is that to keep our homes and society functioning, we sometimes need those developments nearby – whether to provide the goods we need, to provide energy, or to provide jobs for local people.

And that’s why, as uncomfortable as it may sometimes seem, we need government to take a strong lead in areas like this with policies that, to some extent, take the decision away from us so that our NIMBY tendencies can’t get in the way of nationally important projects.

Because, like it or not, as the electorate we sometimes confuse what we want with what we need and we think selfishly about what’s important to us, not society as a whole sweeties.

I find it very frustrating when I hear residents of Balcombe saying that they’re opposed to shale gas on ‘green’ grounds, with claims that it will prevent us meeting our binding CO2 targets etc, darlings, meanwhile noticing that from satellite imagery viewed on Google Earth, it’s hard to see a single residence sporting solar panels.

If Vanessa Vine is really such a champion of green issues, then I’m sure we’d find her home festooned with solar panels, a Smart Car on the drive and electricity purchased expensively from a supplier that guarantees 100% is sourced from renewables.

In reality, my dears, I imagine the truth looks somewhat different at Vanessa’s home and that her objections are driven more by her inner NIMBY.

Which is sad, because dressing up NIMBY notions as something else denigrates the true argument and diminishes genuine environmentalists and their cause.

If you’re opposed to shale gas just because it’s happening where you live, be upfront and transparent about that – it’s OK to be a NIMBY, we all are.

Until next time xxx

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