I spent yesterday at the 'Protection Camp' near Leith Hill, Surrey to observe the eviction of protesters from a site designated for the exploration of oil by Europa Oil & Gas. The protesters have been camped out in a 'fortress' since October trying to prevent oil drilling on Leith Hill. The eviction was granted by the High Court after a 7 year planning application battle. Europa have been granted permission to carry out up to 18 weeks of exploratory drilling.
I was allowed on to the edge of the Protection Camp where barriers had been erected around the camp the previous day. On site were the Bailiffs, Europa Security, Surrey Police and Specialist Group International; recognised experts in 'protester removal'. There were also a group of protesters outside the barriers, as well as those still in the camp, and allegedly some in a network of underground tunnels.
These photos tell the story of a conflict between man and the environment we will continue to see until we are willing to see the world and all it's living beings as one, and accept that what man does to other living things he ultimately does to himself. Arne Nass, one of the most influential environmental thinkers of the 20th Century, known as the 'father of deep ecology' championed ecological wisdom. Deep ecology seeks to develop wisdom through a self-realisation that we are all part of one interconnected system and only once we realise this can we feel empathy for other living things and feel a desire to protect non-human life. The events at Leith Hill are part of a wider capitalist desire for more. In this case, the 'more' is gained at the expense of other living things. The question we should be asking is do we need more? In the case of oil, this is a complex question but the solution may lie with the individual. The oil here is unlikely to be used to power our homes; the demand will be for use in cars, planes and plastic. We need to look within to ask what do we really need and how we can provide for our needs without excessive and what is currently a catastrophic over reliance on the natural world. #leithhill #oil #environment #conservationphotography #visitsurrey #conservation #cleanenergy