As the presidential election draws near in the United States, both candidates Obama and Romney advocate for energy independence at the president debates. Natural gas was presented as the clean, green energy source and our solution to our dependence of foreign oil, what they don't say is that the unregulated extraction process of the gas is anything but "green".
"Director Josh Fox interviews people around the country who have seen the effects of fracking first hand, after the process was used on or near their own land. Effects reported range from horrific physical ailments, such as cancer and brain lesions, to at least one guy who can light his home's tap water on fracking fire."
—Gasland Movie Review - HBO Documentary Gasland Review - Esquire
"Gasland" is a documentary film that shows the environmental impacts of hydraulic fracturing, a method currently being used to extract the natural gas trapped in shale rocks.
This is a very interesting film that I recommend everyone to watch, especially those living in California and New York as there are already plans for gas extraction underway near our farms. While these effects may not necessarily happen to us, it's still good to keep in mind of what could happen if something goes wrong.
Related articles on the matter:
Gasland - The Facts
Department of California's Information on Hydraulic Fracturing
The Truth About Gasland - America's Natural Gas Alliance
What is the "Halliburton Loophole?"
The Next Drilling Disaster? - The Nation
We learned about this in Geography class last semester.....I guess people just like money more than their own lives or something =_=;
This is a very interesting issue that is also being debated in Australia at this moment. The farmers really do not like it.
My opinion goes something like this. Every form of energy is bad for the environment in some way or another.
Coal supposedly heats the planet up; acidifies the oceans and causes crazy weather.
Nuclear: we need to dig this Uranium stuff up to begin with (same with coal) and then work out how to get rid of this waste stuff.
Solar: These take energy to make; whether it be solar panels or mirrors focusing sun into water. I was talking to someone who was developing some type of solar panel for his PhD; I forget what was special about it though.
Wind: Concrete to hold the things in place requires a lot of energy to make.
Geothermal: you need to dig a hole in the ground to begin with.
Biofuels: i find this one more of an ethical issue than an environmental. You are growing corn and then using it to power a car... when there are so many people in world going hungry.
Anyways, I believe that safety regulations need to be tightened. If America is able to sustain itself in power, I think it is a good thing. I think however, people over their are currently more worried about their financial security than the environment (I may be wrong).
It is true that energy with our current technology cannot be produced with absolutely zero emission, and so we must seek ways to minimize the effects on the environment to a sustainable level.
The degree of environmental damage varies depending on the method being used, but most of them involve carbon emission that contribute to climate change over a long period of time. The business involved all have some sort of regulations in place effective or not, and with public acknowledgement they have to be conscious of what they do, unlike fracking. (you don't see power plants dumping nuclear waste out in the open, they do it behind the scenes)
The problem with fracking is that they literally pump millions of gallons of water mixed with hazardous chemicals underground, and if you pump water underground, there's no way you'll be recovering 100% of it back. So where does all the unrecoverable used water go? They flow to the underground streams and come back up through evaporation, rivers, plant life, and wells.
A shocking thing that you will see in the film is what they do with the recovered part of the used water, they unload them in "pits" and use sprinklers to spread them into the air as smaller particles to make them evaporate faster. It's also very disturbing that this not only adds damage to the air, but those vapors could potentially be carried by the wind, spreading to other areas where people live.
Solar panels and wind turbines are long term investments, while they are costly and are not zero emission, they can reduce the overall level of carbon emission in the future. They are also not the only alternative "sustainable" energy out there, there are others that we can tap into with further technological advancement. Such as lightning harvesting/emulating and revamping the methods to harness heat from nuclear reactions.
I'm not trying to say that natural gas is should not be considered as an alternative energy source, it's just that the current methods being used cause so much damage that it needs to be stopped. The problem now is that a lot of people in the U.S. does not even know these details due to low publicity and misleading information from companies.
Unless more people educate themselves of the dangers of hydraulic fracturing, there won't be a big enough force to make companies to rethink their actions.
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