Fracking, also known as hydraulic fracturing, is a technique used in the extraction of petroleum from deep underground rocks. Gas extracted using this technique contributes substantially to satisfying local demand for the product, therefore, minimizing the USA’s dependence on foreign oil. There are those who believe that fracking has improved the economy of the nation. However, fracking procedures appear to be a greater menace to the environment than had been anticipated. Its effects on the environment include water pollution and minor earthquakes which are a threat to human life. Fracking is beneficial to the economy yet it is potentially disastrous to the environment especially when companies fail to be socially responsible making it a controversial issue.
Benefits of Fracking
The US has been less reliant on foreign oil because of fracking showing the importance of this process to the nation. At the same time, the energy prices are relatively low while the US is becoming more independent in regard to energy generation. This has made it the second leading nation in the world in regard to natural gas production after Russia. Many of the low-income towns have benefited in terms of their economy due to fracking because of the fact that the process leads to the creation of jobs which generates money for the economy and community at large. Towns such as North Dakota are perfect examples of those that have benefited from fracking especially because of the low level of unemployment in the nation.
Problems Associated with Fracking
Fracking has been found to be a great threat to the environment. Chemicals used and produced in the process can mix with sand and water causing water contamination while increasing the methane level in water from the wells. At the same time, the oil which has been extracted through the process of fracking is more risky and difficult to transport (Roosevelt Institute, 2011).
Political and Ethical Issues Related to Fracking
Fracking has been a debatable issue, especially in the US. Many are worried about its effects on the environment. However, there are fears that politics may cause these possible threats to be overlooked. This is because of the fear of an energy crisis coupled with the fact that many people benefit financially from fracking making it the industry indispensable in the USA’s quest not to be dependent on oil imports. Natural gas is a component that is critical to the government especially its plan to use clean energy by the year 2035 (Vignette, n.d). Nevertheless, there are some states which are more concerned and would rather have sustainability than economic profits. States such as New York and Quebec banned all fracking activities.
The majority of people believe that if fracking is practiced in an ethical manner, it will remain to be the best thing to ever happen to America. They believe that the dangers posed by the natural gas extraction process can be minimized by safety precautions. For instance, the wells should be built properly and cemented in a way that prevents chemicals from infiltrating the groundwater. At the same time, any potential leaks discovered during transportation of the natural gas should be fixed immediately to minimize the potential dangers. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has also taken the initiative to ensure that pollution is minimized by regulating the emission of volatile organic compounds (Vignette, n.d). At the same time, oil and gas companies are encouraged to be socially responsible when extracting natural gas. For instance, they can conduct hydraulic fracking without using chemicals that would cause water pollution.
In conclusion, fracking remains a controversial issue in the US because of the benefits that it has brought to the nation. However, the resultant destruction of the environment makes many questions about whether it is justifiable to continue using the process. It is high time that people, organizations, governments, and companies take initiative to ensure that those who conduct fracking do it in a socially responsible manner. If no proper action is not taken, then the environment is in danger –and so is human life.
In The Right is Right, Klein has made a thought-provoking regarding climate change caused by carbon emissions from various industries. “… the US Chamber of Commerce, in its bid to prevent the EPA from regulating carbon emissions, argued in a petition that in the event of global warming, populations can acclimatize to warmer climates via a range of behavioral, physiological, and technological adaptations (Klein, 2014).” This is a serious action that the US Chamber of Commerce is trying to make which no one can agree with them. For a long period of time, the world has been working towards maintaining sustainability and fighting against global warming by advising companies, organizations, and people who are in the manufacturing industry to embrace environment-friendly methods in their industries. The statement by the US Chamber of Commerce is contrary to the ideals of sustainable development.
It is high time that the US Chamber of Commerce rethinks its position on carbon emissions. People cannot adapt peacefully in an environment that is damaged or which does not bring/add any form of value to them (Alexander-Kearns & Cassady, 2015). There is a possibility of the world being a place of confusion. Many people may end up as refugees in their own nation, which would result in more damage than good. At the same time, it is impossible that people will adapt to the lack of fresh water and food because of the poor climate.
The government cannot make promises that it will protect its citizens and the immigrants from the harsh conditions of lack of food and water. It may succeed in building mega-ports industrial farms and luxury resorts but that would not change the lives of everyone because people are not at the same level in life (Klein, 2014). Those who will suffer the most are the poor because they will not properly adapt in a nation where there is drought and famine, harsh climate, bad food (genetically modified food), and no safe water for them to drink. To make matters worse, the citizens of America may end up starting conflicts over water, arable land, and oil because of this bad move by the US Chambers of Commerce in promoting carbon emissions on the environment.
In the recent past, several multinational companies have expressed fear regarding the ways in which climatic change could affect their businesses (Klein, 2014). They foresee a major disaster ahead. Companies like Chipotle and Starbucks are worried that the extreme weather may make their ingredients hard to find. It shows that not only the citizens (poor and immigrants) would suffer but also bigger organizations will be affected. There is a possibility that the climatic change would negatively affect the economy of the nation. For instance, it may end up costing the US billions of dollars because of the rise in sea levels. This clearly indicates that the move by the US Chambers of Commerce to stop EAP is baseless and has not been thought of properly. At the same time, one might say that the move is selfish and only looks at one side instead of focusing on the bigger picture, especially the impact it may have on the citizens.
In conclusion, the US Chambers of Commerce’s statement on carbon emission and their attempt to prevent EAP from promoting sustainability is supported by weak arguments. There is no way in which the population can adapt technologically, physiologically, and behaviorally to the harsh climatic change caused by increased emission of carbon into the environment. If nothing is done, the nation at large and the citizens will face the repercussions of climatic change. The people, organizations, and companies should take the initiative to prevent this move and allow EAP to promote sustainability for the future of the nation and its generations.
In his essay “Think like a Mountain”, Aldo Leopold examines the interconnectedness of various elements in the ecosystem. It is rather absurd for people to think of those elements in the ecosystem exist in isolation. A mountain may seem to be a huge and tall stone covered in trees but there is a strong connection between living things, and mankind itself –thus the reason for its existence. In case of extinction, then it means that several things would die. Saving the mountains, the trees, or the wild animals living in them, is a way of saving nature itself.
When Leopold watched the wolf die, he knew that it did not deserve such kind of death and neither did the mountain. This is because, when there are fewer wolves in the mountain, it means that there would be more deer making the experience of hunting amazing and interesting (Leopold, 1994). However, this was not an excuse to kill the wolves because their lives also matter to the environment. They make the cycle of life in the mountain complete. The wolves help in trimming the large herds of deer in the mountain by killing and eating them enabling them to fit comfortably in the space where they all reside. If the wolves become extinct after being hunted down and killed by hunters, they are as well putting the lives of the deer at risk because as they continue to grow, the available space will not be enough to accommodate them. Man will also not also find a challenge in hunting because it will be easy to kill the deer because of the overpopulation.
One point that Leopold was trying to prove to the readers is the fact that removing or killing any of these species in the mountain, there is a negative impact on the ecosystem. It is, therefore, important for everyone to “think like the mountain” which is not bothered by the fact that it holds several species in it. Leopold believes that people should live harmoniously with nature in a similar manner as the mountain does with all the species inside it.
Leopold’s argument is important because it encourages sustainable development to preserve the environment which is currently being threatened by climate change. The only way the environment will thrive is if people take responsibility by caring about the environment (Rawsthorn, 2010). There have been cases of environmental pollution attributed to human activities. However, in the essay, Leopold encourages people to think about what will better their lives and make their lives more secure. He advises people to secure the environment, especially wildlife as a way to save the world. It is true that the environment can only be saved if people become more mindful of the ways in which they interact with nature. For instance, they should prevent polluting the environment knowingly in order to benefit economically. This kind of act can end up causing more damage to nature, wildlife, and also to humanity.
In conclusion, if Leopold’s advice is not taken into account, sustainability will not be achieved and just like the wolf, people will watch the environment die. If this happens, it will be too late to save mankind and also wildlife. In the end, people will be left scrambling for the little value that they are left within the environment. It is high time that people, the government, and organizations take action towards preserving the environment. This is the only way to secure the future of everyone including the plants, animals, and humans.
Alexander-Kearns, M., & Cassady, A. (2015). Cutting carbon pollution while promoting economic growth. Retrieved from https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/green/reports/2015/05/27/113865/cutting-carbon-pollution-while-promoting-economic-growth/
Klein, N. (2014). This Changes Everything. In The right is right: The revolutionary power of climate change. New York: Resilience Publishers
Leopold, A. (1994). Thinking Like a Mountain. Alaska: Libby Roderick.
Rawsthorn, A. (2010, Jan 31). Debating sustainability. New York Times.
Roosevelt Institute. (2011). Fracking mess: Natural gas is not the fuel of the future. Retrieved from http://rooseveltforward.org/fracking-mess-natural-gas-not-fuel-future/
Vignette, O. (n.d). Fracking for natural gas: Clean energy solution or environmental catastrophe? The Wall Street Journal.