Fracking: what is it and why

Fracking illustration

In recent times we’ve heard more and more about fracking.

Fracking itself is a fairly new word derived from fracturing and hydraulics.

It’s a way that enables oil companies to squeeze more gas and oil from the earth.

In the past, companies drilled down to find pockets of oil they were able to extract and of course, this oil, once refined became a vital part of our economies and lives.

Before this, natural oils such as whale oil constituted our supply and if you’ve ever read Moby Dick you can see that this method was far less than ideal.

It had already begun to take its toll on our whale population as well.

More recently, scientists discovered that vast amounts of gas and oil lie trapped inside shale rock.

But being “trapped” it can’t simply be pumped out the old-fashioned way.

Fracking, however, doesn’t work in the old-fashioned way. Companies drill down into what they believe is a rich source of trapped gas and oil.

Then they use a mixture of high-pressure water and sand as well as chemicals to force the rock open thus releasing the gas and oils inside.

In this way, the desired product is forced to the surface.

However, many scientists across the globe insist that fracking is unsafe and a danger to everyone.

Drilling for profit before environmental harm

At this moment, there remain two schools of thought.

The companies that take the short-term approach in insisting that fracking is not harmful (while in reality they don’t know this; they only know there is a great deal of profit to be derived from fracking).

Those who today, have awakened to realize that many of our modern methods, as well as population growth and lifestyle, are creating a great of potential harm to the earth and possible for our children and grandchildren.

In the past, unthinking and/or uncaring companies have already done a great deal of environmental damage to the earth and to its inhabitants while insisting this is all only “scare tactics” put forward by uninformed citizens who do not know the truth.

Many scientists, however, worry that the chemicals already being used in the fracking process in the United States may be causing a serious threat to our environment and to the health of our descendants.

It isn’t only the drilling and fracking that pose the great threat, but rather the waste fluids that have to be so carefully handled while we live under the constant threat of possible spills and pollution of our atmosphere and our drinking water.

Many documented cases of contaminated water in the vicinity of fracking areas have been reported.

Many also complain of respiratory and neurological damage caused by drinking this contaminated water.

Recent studies also indicate that homes in the area of fracking sites may have a concentration of radon that is nearly 40% higher than that to be found in non-fracking areas.

Some scientists insist that fracking may cause earthquakes.

And many scientists point out that natural gas consists mostly of methane.

Methane is a greenhouse gas that traps almost all of the atmosphere’s heat in the form of carbon dioxide.

This, worse than the burning of coal, contributes directly to global warming.

There is a viable alternative to deriving energy and power without the many undesirable side-effects of fracking.

Wind power is not often thought of, but it has quickly begun to overtake other energy sources with its clean and quiet operation.

This year alone has been an important and memorable turning point as far as concerns energy in the United States.

Considering the recent decline in costs, wind energy, as well as solar power, are clearly more cost effective than fracking.

They are also environmentally safe causing no known effect on our environment.

As an added perk, many believe that within twenty years, the cost of all this “free” energy will be just that: zero.

The takeaway here is that we have to pay much closer attention to the efforts of gas and oil companies as they continue their involvement in obviously less than safe operations that often may end up polluting entire neighborhoods as well as our atmosphere.

Our atmosphere is the very air we all breathe for life.

The CEOs of only too many companies consider their own jobs and income. Their motto may well by “Profit today, to hell with tomorrow.”

Our atmosphere is the very air we all breathe for life.

The CEOs of only too many companies consider their own jobs and income before anything else. Their motto may well be: “Profit today, to hell with tomorrow.”

There is too much at stake not just for us today, but for all those who follow.

Do we want to leave their world in chaos or do we want to leave this earth in better shape than it was when we came into it?