Home Opinion Opinion: Frack off, the water’s ablaze!

Opinion: Frack off, the water’s ablaze!

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On October 11, 2013, the highest court in France upheld a government ban on hydraulic fracturing, according to reports by The New York Times. The challenge to the ban was brought before the court by Schuepbach Energy, an American energy company who wishes to frack in France. David Jolly of the Times also reports: “France is thought to have two major deposits of ‘unconventional’ hydrocarbons: major oil deposits in the Paris basin and gas deposits in the southeastern part of the country.”

But despite the potential monetary and energy benefits that fracking will provide France, the country has consistently been against it, along with the whole of Europe. Although Britain allows some modest experiments, the general public has stood against those experiments.

Elsewhere in Europe the hatred of fracking is more obvious. In Bulgaria, it is outright banned. Attempts to implement fracking in Germany have also been met with major opposition. On October 9, 2013 the European Union voted to, “…force energy companies to carry out in-depth environmental audits before they deploy a technique known as fracking to recover natural gas from shale rock,” according to reports from James Kanter of The New York Times. This inhibits energy companies from implementing fracking and adds additional regulation.

What’s going on in Europe is important to what is happening here in the United States because fracking is starting to take hold in the Midwest as the “new savior” for the energy and job crisis.

In the United States, hydraulic fracking creates around 300,000 barrels of natural gas a day. It has increased the profits of energy companies and has created many new jobs in a region that has been struggling economically. Although the current economic and energy impacts fracking has created have been largely beneficial, the long term economic, environmental, and societal health impacts have been negative. The fracking process contaminates the drinking water for nearby human populations. Over 1,000 documented cases of water contamination next to areas of gas drilling have been filed which has caused sensory, respiratory, and neurological damage due to ingesting contaminated water. Also, there are hundreds of videos on Youtube of people lighting their tap water on fire because of the methane gas that has gotten into the drinking water. According to Charles Choi of NBC News, Youngstown, Ohio has experienced over 100 earthquakes of varying degrees a year after fracking was implemented. Youngstown has experienced major unemployment rises in the last decade due to the decline of manufacturing businesses that used to boom in the town. Fracking has helped to mediate that damage. But there is a larger problem, one of a long term economy.

Our current economy focuses on growth and money. It’s purpose is to perpetuate the current situation of growth where we increase our production of energy and try to find new energies but no one ever questions the idea of growth for the sake of growth. This kind of growth is cancerous and doesn’t represent the ideal of progress. It takes no account for the human impact except the production and monetary value that humans have to offer to this growth, but it has no concern for humanity’s well being or the larger environmental well being. We need to shift our understanding of economy from that of progress through growth instead of an economy that is sufficient to provide for our basic needs and allow for other human passions to be pursued. An economy based on sustainability is more important than increasing corporate profit. We need to cut back on our consumption of energy in general and change our interests. Our main interests should not be money but rather people. We should be more concerned in building a civilization that lasts and exists within our natural limits instead of thinking that those limits are inherently inhibitive to progress. Progress inhibits the potential for human greatness and sustainability. We need a shift of our perspective from that where economic growth is more important than people and the environment in which they exist and depend.

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