Today Richard Loizou my beautiful friend & co-founder of Unusually Brave was sentenced, along with three others, to 15 months in prison for a peaceful protest against fracking in Lancashire.
These four brave souls who spent up to four days on top of a convoy of lorries carrying drilling equipment into a nearby fracking site have been convicted for being a public nuisance.
They are the first environmental activists to receive jail sentences since 1932.
The judge said he thought they posed a risk of reoffending and could not be rehabilitated as “each of them remains motivated by an unswerving confidence that they are right.”
They ARE right.
Right to defend our earth against fracking which has been proven a risky and harmful process to the environment and surrounding communities. Right to stand up for the Lancashire community that have spent 7 years campaigning against fracking. Right to be concerned that not enough has been done to take fracking seriously. Right to send a peaceful message to the fracking company that we will not stand for this destruction. Right to act on behalf of more than short term interest. Right to care enough about our earth to get out of bed and do something about it.
Rich is a kind, gentle, generous, emotionally intelligent person who grows his own vegetables and has a magic way with kids. He is an awesome teacher and nature connection facilitator, an important role model, a non-violent communication enthusiast and a boundaries and consent extraordinaire. He is also a dear dear friend and valued colleague. We need MORE people like him in the world. Not less.
Sentencing Rich to prison feels like the opposite of where we need to be heading. Today the injustice stings and I am feeling the grief.
In the next weeks and months these four will need our support and love as they navigate the way forward.
You can support with messages of solidarity and donations for legal fees at:frackfreefoursupporters.or
Update: 17th October 16.49 EEST
Richard, Rich and Simon have now been freed after a Court of Appeal decided to release the 3 and impose a conditional discharge. The fourth person remains in prison, the ruling and any updates will be blogged about at a later time when information has been received.