Jerry Silberman from Protecting Our Waters spoke to a group of students at Arcadia University about hydraulic fracturing (also known as fracking). Students had recently watched Gasland, a film covering the impact this drilling process has on residents.
Fossil fuels are really just fossilized sunlight, harnessed by prehistoric plants and stored underground — until people started mining and drilling within the last few centuries. These fossil fuels are a finite resource, as it takes millions of years and precise conditions underground to create more. As a society, we are rapidly running out of easily accessible oil and gas deposits, pushing the extraction industry to drill deeper and to employ riskier methods of extraction. Even fracking, one of the newest technologies, may only provide another 10 to 15 years worth of gas.
Frack water, a solution used in the fracking process, includes water, lubricants, corrosive chemicals to dissolve bedrock, and substances to hold open the pipes. Frack water may leak out through fissures in the rock, contaminating peoples’ well water and the sources of our drinking water. The effects of fracking are not well studied or understood.
So, what can we do if we don’t support fracking? The first step is to use less. Use less electricity, drive less, and purchase fewer consumer goods. We can learn to live within the current solar budget of our planet, using only energy that is clean and renewable. Additionally, we can be politically active and encourage changes we support. Lastly, we can recognize that we can’t have our cake and eat it, too.
Learn more about natural gas drilling with these resources.