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.