With growing concerns in Europe over energy independence and sustainability, hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” has become a recent environmental controversy across Europe. While the wealthiest member states EU such as France and Germany have implemented bans or moratoriums, the pressure to drill concentrates on peripheral debt-burdened countries such as Ireland, Romania, and Spain. Starting in 2011, a globally-networked grassroots movement emerged in response to fracking exploratory permits across the Basque-Spanish border. In the spring and summer of 2015, I conducted ethnographic fieldwork in the city of Gasteiz, in the Basque Country, just as it became a hub of transnational anti-fracking activism. Drawing on insights from the fields of political ecology and science studies, this paper begins to explore how communities positioned at the frontlines of climate and environmental conflict are beginning invent, circulate, and mobilize new interpretations of capitalism, progress, and society’s relationship with the natural world.
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