Does the world need a cleaner source of energy that comes with the possibility of contaminating our water supplies and setting off earthquakes? Does America want to get rid of its foreign-oil addiction in exchange for local gas poisoning? Do energy companies have no other way of producing cleaner and more competitive energy than blasting the bedrocks of the earth to smithereens?
There are individuals among us that rise every now and then to speak of a noble idea and get people to sacrifice a little of our well-being for the sake of a better future. Some are great leaders and visionaries, others are mindless opportunists. Both have a plan, and it’s at least set up in proper sequence: if it works, great – if it doesn’t, too bad, the present suffers but, at least, the future is there for the taking.
Then there’s the other kind of individuals who have it all wrong, twisted and bent out of shape. They want to sacrifice the future for the sake of the present in the name of “noble” causes. Some are in feeding-frenzy mode, going for everything they can get their hands on with no regard for the future; others are prime examples of poorly-conceived setups, clutching at whatever little is left because the future is bleak, they say – because there will be “no future to speak of without seizing the present” (even if said seizing results in seizure down the line).
What am I talking about? Fracking! The hydraulic fracturing of rock shales with high-pressure, chemical-laced water that releases the natural gas trapped inside them, which we harvest for consumption. It’s all the rage in the energy industry and spreading across the globe. It’s the new oil rush, a fresh supply of energy coming our way, and hooray for us all – but there’s a catch: fracking is done through a series of explosions that work as mini earthquakes. When these mini-earthquakes take place near seismically-sensitive areas, they can cause bigger quakes.
Not only that, but fracking may be contaminating water supplies with carcinogenic chemicals that stay in the system for decades, if not longer. The data is inconclusive because most companies will not disclose the contents of their cocktail mixes.
The reactions are mixed. Some deem it a company’s right to secrecy (trademark), others a telltale sign of foul play.
Oh, by the way, fracking is setting water on fire (that much we can tell for sure) by lacing it with gas. The gas floods the water reservoirs and pipelines and creates flammable water (there’s a sentence in never expected to read, not outside a sci-fi horror novel). A great circus act, and fun to watch, if the circus is in town, performing controlled tricks on stage, but this is happening in people’s homes.
Try having a drink of that water, or a shower, try watering those plants and animals with it – you know, that kind of trivia.
So again, without mincing words: fracking is the apple of strife, an un-visionary concept that comes with damage, driven by a dis-informed approach. Something we pay a heavy price for.
In other words, it’s the wrong kind of enterprise. The wrong kind of sacrifice.
Josh Fox, filmmaker behind Gasland, explores fracking and its repercussions. His extensive research yielded some interesting data, making the unsettling revelations mentioned above, such as poisoned aquifers, explosions leading to earthquakes, and flammable water. His work illuminates a dodgy chunk of enterprise and the dodgy/murky/dubious interests that drive it, the exemptions that make it possible – how it’s exempt from the Clean Water Act – exposing the unsavory secrets to this new energy rush. His film got an award at Sundance Film Festival, ratifying his contribution to society.
What society actually does with Gasland‘s information remains to be seen.
Eyes open, mind sharp.