Shale gas: it’s not about fracking earthquakes!

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Posted Dec 15 2012 by Dave Darby of

With thanks to Paul Mobbs. On Dec 13th, Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey gave the green light to fracking in the UK to extract shale gas. See

Fracking involves the pumping of millions of litres of water mixed with toxic chemicals into the ground, but government and media focus only on earthquakes. Fracking can cause small seismic tremors, and so the government has carried out extensive research into potential seismic risks, and has concluded that those risks can be controlled. So that’s alright then? They’re confident that fracking is worth the risk of tiny earthquakes, and so never mind the fact that we’re poisoining our environment? Really?

The problem is not earthquakes. The focus on earthquakes is to distract us from the real issue – the contamination of nature. If you want to go out and tip acid into a river, you wouldn’t be allowed to do it, quite rightly. If you look into making biodiesel at home, or installing a compost toilet with a soakaway, or even organising a green burial on your land, you’ll see how stringent environmental legislation is when it comes to individuals potentially allowing toxic materials into the environment. But if you’re a corporation, then completely different rules apply.

Thousands of gallons of hydrochloric acid are pumped in first, then (in the US) over 350,000 litres of chemicals are used over the lifetime of a typical well. Here’s a list – And of course there is the profligate use and contamination of water, and the carbon emissions from the use of the gas itself.

The more we damage and pollute the environment, the unhealthier we become. If we continue to damage ecology and environment, we speed up the mass extinction event we’re already in, and put human survival at risk. Fracking is a massive step in the wrong direction. But it’s what large corporations want, and what they want, they get. What we should be doing instead is:

1. developing renewables: renewables can provide all of our energy, if we live within nature’s means. We need to make fossil fuels history – for the same reason we need to make GM crops history. They are for making corporations richer, not for meeting human needs. Corporate media ownership has fooled many people. Don’t be one of them.

2. using less energy: not only energy conservation measures, but also stabilising the economy instead of absurdly trying to grow it forever

3. living lives in harmony with nature: we can all start doing that straight away – here are lots of ideas for you.