Better late than never, now – but never would have been better, to begin with

I read a short article on Reuters, about a study done by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University, that shows an alarming correlation between well density in areas where fracking is taking place, and an increase in hospitalization rates. Perhaps, when enough of these kinds of studies show a strong enough correlation, the practice might be stopped. Perhaps. I’m also reminded of how, once upon a time, people smoked cigarettes like crazy; and only started to complain about how something should be done once enough studies correlated smoking with various diseases … as if the idea of inhaling smoke, tar and other poisons into the lungs being an unhealthy practice wasn’t a no-brainer before these studies came out.

We are raping the Earth, as it is. Our dependency on fossil fuels is wreaking havoc and chaos with our atmosphere, and is the root of more than one war in our history. Fracking is a way of squeezing just a little more blood out of the rocks, taking what our Earth would rather not yield. This practice is already known to stimulate seismic activity – wreaking havoc with the land we live upon, so we can sustain a habit that wreaks havoc with the air we breathe. The direct risks of other forms of environmental pollution are documented, even if they are contested by proponents of the practice (this is similar to the documented signals of global warming, that are also contested by similar groups of people).

I’m glad that people are studying the effects, and documenting their findings. I’m glad that this keeps the dialogue open, rather than allowing corporations and governments to simply sweep the arguments against this practice under the rug. What saddens me is that so many people in positions of power and influence seem to wait until more people get hurt before they make the kinds of decisions that should have been common sense, no-brainers in the first place. At the very best, this practice is nothing more than a bit of plaster, covering the deeper crack in our society that is represented by our continued dependence on fossil fuels. We are standing in a grave of our own making, asking for a more sophisticated shovel when we should be climbing the ladder of renewable energy with dedicated vigor.

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2 responses to “Better late than never, now – but never would have been better, to begin with

  1. The only real answer is a lower standard of living for all of us in the Western world, particularly here in America. And that’s the answer almost no one wants to hear, let alone put into practice. We have implemented a lot of reduced energy systems and appliances in our home. We heat with wood in winter (and cook on it as much as possible), cool with a swamp cooler in the summer, use a solar oven nearly year round, hang our clothes outside on a line, use a solar panel for electronics, do not have cable, and go to bed relatively early. We also garden, preserve, make do and mend, etc. In short, we mostly live a life that was considered pretty high standard in the 1970’s :) yes, it’s more work, but it’s also MUCH CHEAPER than most of our neighbors. And better, in many ways. The problem is convincing people that yes, if you in fact do a little more work, you don’t have to work as much and in the long run you will be better off.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think you make a good – actually very good – point: doing the right thing will lead to a life with less material convenience than what more than one generation was led to believe was our birth right as human beings. That was, to borrow from a fairly American expression, a check written by governments and corporations that our world simply cannot cash. Scientists have done a fairly good job at trying to demonstrate how inconvenient life might get if we don’t make some necessary changes; but I guess what frustrates me is the effort to discredit all of that work in the hopes of making short-term financial gains, trying to keep people mollified by confusing them into inaction. I’m reminded of the sinking of Atlantis scene, in “Erik the Viking.”

      Liked by 1 person

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