Reclaim The Power

Peter Jacobson
Wednesday, 7th August 2013

Peter Jacobson found permaculture and Reclaim the Power had the solutions he needed to the fight against government investments in fossil fuels.

Your Government has started building new fossil fuel infrastructure. Over 30 new gas fired power stations. The opportunity cost? Renewable infrastructure and a safe climate future. Is this earth care? No! People care? No! Fair share? No! What can you do? Come with us and reclaim the power!

Direct action. Questioning the power structures within our society. How have I come to this?

I was unwittingly raised on a permaculture inspired small-holding just outside of Wellington, New Zealand. I had no particular interest in the creation and maintenance of the various farm systems, which was mainly the prerogative of my Dad. I was busy playing with Lego and mountain biking on a path that led me to, and through, a degree in mechanical engineering. I met my partner Sadie in a Peruvian permaculture project, Sembrando Semillas con Yoga, in another unintentional brush with something meaningful. On our return to New Zealand we inadvertently moved into the headquarters of climate change campaigners Generation Zero. They kicked off a series of painful revelations about climate change, food systems and our societies. I went looking for solutions. And there, right under my nose, was permaculture. I had finally come to fully appreciate the beauty of the permaculture system as a viable alternative to the ruinous status quo.

Permaculture massively reduces our carbon footprint and keeps us in touch with our mother earth. Transition towns expand on this, offering entire communities lower carbon infrastructure and greater resilience. Great!

Reclaim the Power bought my attention to the massive new government investments in fossil fuel infrastructure and fracking subsidies. What?! There is no positive political leadership on climate change. The government is beholden to oil and gas lobby. The media are still refusing to bring the full implications of climate change to the eyes and hearts of the public. There is no change of direction on the political horizon and the whole system has us headed straight for climate catastrophe. It mitigates our good work, commits the majority of society to high carbon lives and guarantees us all a devastating future. It will take more than one vote every four years and local lifestyle changes to bring the radical transformations we urgently need to avert the crisis.

I once again set out for solutions.

The political system needs a powerful external forcing to bring about the necessary reforms that will put people and planet before profit in the UK. We need strict regulation and transparency of lobbying, a binding framework for converting fossil fuel infrastructure to renewable infrastructure and effective legal protection of the environment to start with.

And so I find myself in Oxford, WWOOFing on a permaculture project and working with a lovely, professional and dedicated team of volunteers to bring about these systemic changes. Reclaim the Power is the direct continuation of the No Dash for Gas protest, where 21 brave activists shut down EDF's West Burton power station for eight days. At Reclaim the Power we will be carrying the momentum from this, the Occupy movement and Climate Camps, and building solidarity across social and environmental campaigns. We will be camping for four days, having talks, music, skill shares and expressing our opposition and alternative positive solutions through non-violent direct action and civil disobedience.

We need your voice, your creativity, and your presence to oppose the moneyed corporate lobby groups and bring the changes we all need. It will take persistence, and it will take time. We do it for the oppressed, for the future generations, for our future and we do it for fun! So please make a little time in your busy lives and add your voice to the chorus. Reclaim the Power is one opportunity. There will be many more on our journey. I hope to see you there!

Reclaim the Power Action Camp will be held from the evening of Friday 16th until the morning of Wednesday 21st of August, 2013 at Balcome, West Sussex. The decision to move from West Burton Power Station, Nottinghamshire is in response to the call for support from the Balcome community who are on the front lines of the Dash for Gas. All ages, stages and abilities are welcome! For more information please visit 

Further resources

The truth about fracking - 8 fracking myths debunked

Frack-free February in Somerset: the county saying no to fracking

How to design more resilient, food producing systems (without money and fossil fuels)

Is transition the Trojan horse for permaculture?