Fracking is a practice that involves removing underground rocks to release oil and natural gases. It is a major driver behind climate change. Fracking in the U.S. directly impacts the health and livelihoods in front-line communities. These communities are disproportionately poor and comprise a large number of people of color. For years, affected citizens protested the lack of respect for their rights.
On May 14, 2018, a respected international human-rights court, the Rome-based Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal, began a week-long hearing on the impacts of fracking and climate change on human and Earth rights. The Tribunal’s advisory opinion stated that fracking violates both substantive and procedural rights. It also stated that governments are complicit in rights violations. Fracking should be banned to protect the climate and human rights.
The case is now history. It invalidates the social license for extreme-extraction industries and links environmental destruction with human-rights violations. It declares that climate change and the extraction techniques that fuel its growth directly violate the universally accepted moral norms enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Bearing Witness: The Human Rights Case Against Fracking & Climate Change maps a promising new direction in the ongoing struggle to protect the planet from climate chaos. It tells the story of this landmark case through carefully curated court materials, including searing eye-witness testimony, groundbreaking legal testimony, and the Tribunal’s advisory opinion. Leading climate writers, such as Winona LeDuke, Robin Wall Kimmerer and Sandra Steingraber, as well as legal experts such John Knox, Mary Wood, Anna Grear, provide context for the controversy. Experts on climate ethics, human rights and framing essays by editors demonstrate that a human rights focus is a powerful and transformative new tool to address global climate crisis.