We use cookies on this website to analyse browsing, help enhance your experience, provide social media features and for you to view embedded content such as videos. Please click accept if you are happy with our use of cookies. You find out more about how we use cookies in our Cookie Statement.

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.


Talking Fracking

Vivienne Westwood

Vivienne Westwood

Fracking – the controversial process of blasting water, sand and chemicals deep underground to extract gas and oil – has encountered widespread resistance as exploratory wells spring up across the UK. Designer and activist Vivienne Westwood tells us why she has been in Lancashire protesting and why fracking is on the front line in the battle against climate change.

Fractured earth

Our government wants to impose fracking on this country. When you look into it, it is the most crazy thing. It’s bad for the economy and is certainly bad for the planet. Everybody knows that fossil fuel is the greatest contribution to global warming and pollution. We want governments throughout the world to start addressing climate change in a way that’s going to stop it, instead of just dabbling and pretending, doing bits and pieces while at the same time promoting fossil fuel.

“If I want to fight for the Arctic and fight for the rainforest and I don’t fight against fracking, then I’ve already lost.”

Vivienne Westwood

My latest visit to Lancashire was also about freedom to protest. We have seen here that if you are going to protest about government misrule of law like we have seen with fracking, then you are going to be put in prison. We have the Lancashire Nanas and the aunties protesting against fracking, the government is just anti: anti-people, anti-world and anti-lives. If we do not act now to cut greenhouse gases we are in danger of mass extinction, probably within a generation. Fracking is a part of that. Fracking is about powering the pockets of the people behind it. It is so heavily subsidised, it is just there for the investors.


The fight starts here

Everything’s connected to fracking. If I want to fight for the Arctic and fight for the rainforest and I don’t fight against fracking, then I’ve already lost. The point with fracking is that it’s happening near to me and it’s possible to win this fight; we have to win this fight.

Vivienne Westwood

I think this is the most important problem the British people will ever have to face, because we still hope that we’ve got a chance to stop runaway climate change. If we don’t fight this we’re one step closer to climate change and we’re still left with all the harder battles to win.

Get engaged

People need to inform themselves. You can do that on your own to some extent, but it’s better to do it with someone else. We need people to pull together and work together against this, and you’ve got to start somewhere.

“We’ve been trained to be consumers for so long and we have to rebel against that. Otherwise you’re just living a kind of virtual experience.”

Vivienne Westwood

We must do what we can to raise public protest. I’m putting my hopes in trying to get young people to know how they can protest, how they can get a life, how they can change things. Young people are really idealistic, so it’s my hope that we can get them against fracking. They should be as climate change is getting nearer and nearer to the danger point.

Everything you do to try and engage with the world we live in is important. To me, true culture is about people understanding what human beings are capable of doing, how wonderful they are, the great things we’ve done in the past, how we could become even more perfect if we had the right reasons and values. We’ve been trained to be consumers for so long and we have to rebel against that. Otherwise you’re just living a kind of virtual experience. You’re not yourself, you’re not who you could be, you’re just a cipher in the whole thing.


Vivienne Westwood

Dame Vivienne Westwood is one of the UK’s most individual and influential designers, playing a key role in shaping British fashion since she started designing in 1971. She is also a active campaigner for social and environmental causes, including being a being a trustee of human rights charity Liberty and an ambassador for Greenpeace. Vivienne launched the ‘Climate Revolution’ to rally charities, NGOs and individuals to join forces and fight the battle against climate change together. In 2014 she launched ‘We Need to Talk about Fracking’; a campaign and tour intended to raise awareness of government plans to introduce fracking and kickstart a wider debate around the issue.


Triodos Current Account

What is your bank is doing with your money? Triodos Bank believes we must transform the fossil fuel intensive economy into a low-carbon economy. Money doesn’t have to be invested in fossil fuels – it can be used to do good things that help build the society we want to live in.
The Triodos Current Account is an every-day account that’s far from everyday. Find out more: www.triodos.co.uk/change

What do you think of "Talking Fracking"

Please enter a comment

Please enter your name

+ Show all 24 comments

best read 2014 | The Colour Of Money | Triodos Bank 6 years ago

[…] Designer and activist Vivienne Westwood tells us why for her, fracking is on the front line in the b… […]

Reply to best read 2014 | The Colour Of Money | Triodos Bank
Bryn Elltyd eco Guesthouse. John Whitehead 2 years ago

We just do not need yhe risk of water course pollution. We are a tiny guesthouse that has been carbon zero for over 4 years. Not rich just choose to spend our money on non poluting things. Eg no dirty elec bought this century
If if fracking did eork it is still a dirty fuel.

fred flintstone 5 years ago

I’m no fan of Vivienne Westwood but fracking has to be one of the worst things conceived. We have no idea of the true damage that it can cause long term to the planet but those behind it are only interested in one thing and that is profit. They will invest £millions to get paid for experts to tell us it is safe. America and many other places have already discovered otherwise yet it is not banned here and it should be. Those behind fracking have much money and power which sadly, makes our government wary to intervene

Reply to fred flintstone
Bryn Elltyd eco Guesthouse 2 years ago

Great article. We are tiny zero carbon business. If we can go carbon zero 700ft up a Welsh mountain why do we need more polluting carbon fuels. Personally we have bought no carbon elec this century. Why take the risk fracking? If / When it goes wrong how do you clean up the water table? If we discover more cheap coal would the gov also bend the rules?

Maureen walsh 4 years ago

Its got to be talked about ..this is a serous topic ……despite world wide opinion against this terrible assault on North Yorkshire ….Fracking ……they still did the deed despite warnings …and gave consent !!!!who will answer for it, the first time it goes wrong and things happen …..we will see ….the stock answer will come out .There Is no evidence ………

Brian Roberts 2 years ago

Good article but the profligate use of water ought to be stressed because we are being warned of a future water shortage and in making life for the frackers easier the government has not only taken away another democratic right but also given the right to use millions of gallons of water to the fracking firms.

E June Emberton 2 years ago

A subject which concerns me greatly and although I am in the older age bracket I would be pleased to be involved in some form of protest..

Reply to E June Emberton
Maureen Mills 2 years ago

Message us at @FrackFreeLancashire?

Netty 2 years ago

Fracking is the most dangerous threat to this planet at this present time. If Geo thermal fracking can cause a volcano to erupt and set off a chain reaction around the world, people must see how bad this is?
I have seen scientific reports that say global warming has increased 4 fold over the last decade as methane holds in heat.
We have been going on about methane for decades now and saying the cows produce too much but this government wants uncontrolled methane all over the North of England, as “All well leak eventually.”
It does not make sense. Methane in the air over the US has never been so high.
It is so high I heard a story that Trump was going to stop NASA recording it so we did not know.
Don’t know how true that is but would not surprise me.

Carol 2 years ago

Blind greed has to end. Sustainable energy now

cathy 2 years ago

Lots of Love X

Malcolm 2 years ago

I agree with what Vivienne says, but it does seem a little incongruous that Vivienne should condemn consumerism when she has built her profile and fortune on the back of consumerism and the fashion industry. The fashion industry is one of the biggest culprits of consumerism, and hence climate change, that we have.

Reply to Malcolm
P 2 years ago

Totally agree. In fact the hypocrisy of someone who made their money from getting people to buy clothes they don’t need but that a fashion industry brainwashed them into thinking they needed, makes me think that all the arguments are emotional and not rational at all. Check amount of water needed to make cotton. I wouldn’t be confident to argue there is no benefit in exploring this option in tender to exploring green energy. The future will depend upon a blend of both for some time no doubt.

Jean 2 years ago

I object all the time on behalf of my children, grandchildren and all future generations

P 2 years ago

I dont agree. Quitting fossil fuel tomorrow and attempting a 100 % green system would clearly incur huge risks. Real risks people could quickly die from in huge numbers, and fast. No unquantifiable risks with unknown probability. Accepting that, u gotta accept that we will continue to need fossil fuel and its best to explore new and better ways of getting it. No point in just ducking the tough question of how we do that, just seems like irritating virtue signalling. U can support two different things at once, accepting a compromise for a period of time. If the problem is about where the profit goes then I’m sorry but that’s another issue and we shouldn’t conflate it with questions about engineering and the environment.

Brian Paterson 2 years ago

We are well on the way to destroying this wonderful planet. Greed and stupid ‘heads in the sand’ of the avaricious ,rich and influential people ‘organizing’ consumers to their own ends, i.e. More wealth,influence and control. Spelling the ongoing degradation of the ecosystem. ‘Bravo’ to Vivienne Westwood

Maz 2 years ago

For goodness sake, what does Vivienne Westwood know about fracking, are you gullible or what? How about asking her about all the interns she employs in her multi million pound fashion business, all on no salary ‘because she’s giving them invaluable experience in her industry’. See what Private Eye has to say about that. Exploitation? Ha! Triodos I expect better from you.

Tessa Strickland 2 years ago

Inspiring and succinct; some specific stories about individuals joining the demonstrations would be a strong addition to this important topic

John Ellis 2 years ago

Fracking, and the way the government is trampling over any sort of protest, is nonsensical given the tardy progress with renewables.

Barbara weavers 2 years ago

Great! Let’s hav e more in that vein.



Jerry Harding 2 years ago

A practice that we do not need and which has many unknowns attached to the activity for which the companies and the Government do not take responsibility. It should be banned.

DT 2 years ago

Vivienne is right. The government’s support of this deperate measure for more fossil fuels is a disgrace. They care only for their friends in big business, choosing to override Lancashire County Council’s ban for profit. If we don’t move to non-greenhouse non-fossil power immediately, we and many more species will be in grave danger.

Sue Fisher 2 years ago

Great to have a celebrity on board yet it would be better if politicians couls be persuaded.. as they can influence law changes.

+ Show all 24 comments