What the Frack?

I am not a scientist, but I believe in scientists. Not only do I believe they exist, but I also believe they know more about sciencey stuff than I do. So when a study is done, and conclusive scientific evidence points to a answer, I tend to lean towards that answer, the one provided by experts. Apparently I am crazy. With that in mind, let’s talk about fracking.
In case you are unfamiliar with fracking or hydraulic fracturing, it is a process where we drill into the Earth and blast a mixture of water, sand and chemicals directly into shale rock at a very high pressure. This process fractures the shale, releasing natural gas that is then captured. Fracking can also be used to push out oil. This is likely the most basic explanation you will ever hear.
There seem to be a lot of differing opinions about fracking, but here are a couple agreed upon facts.

1. Each job takes 1-8 million gallons of water to finish.

2. The chemicals in the solution contain know carcinogens, including mercury, radium and lead.

3. Only 30-50% of the water + solution is extracted after the fracking process.

Here is where I feel crazy. 50-70% of what is put in does not come out. So that has to go somewhere, right? All across this country we use water from underground aquifers, gravity is a thing, eventually this water will reach a water source and cause massive water contamination, I mean, right?
Well, it has.
Multiple studies have been done with alarming results, and people are now finally speaking out about it. The EPA actually did a report on fracking in 1984 and warned of this exact scenario.
But here is the thing, we still do it. The companies that continue to use this process, and make billions of dollars, tell everyone that the reports are “not substantial”. There is, of course, another side to this saying that the levels of contamination are minimal and not harmful to humans.
So, let’s look at another byproduct of fracking.
Guys, I am also not a mathematician, but I am at least an adequate reader of bar graphs. The state of Oklahoma gets fracked on the reg, with wells, almost literally, covering the entire state.
Along with getting fracked, Oklahoma has very inactive fault lines, at least historically speaking.
Sure, there have been earthquakes before, heck, in 1952 a 5.5 hit forcing a few Oklahomans to replace some broken windows. It was the states biggest rumble until 2010’s 5.6. But it’s not the size that is attention grabbing, it’s the frequency.
In 1977 there were 18 earthquakes in the entire state of Oklahoma. In 1990- 36, 2008- 25. These were all pretty standard years for the past 3 decades in the Sooner state, but things changed drastically at the turn of the decade.
Over 1,000 earthquakes were registered in Oklahoma in 2010, and in 2012 that number jumped up to 1,500.
Not only is the bar chart below pretty straightforward, but these quakes have been directly related to oil and gas exploration.
Soooo, what?
I don’t know. It seemed common sense enough to never start this process, and with the evidence provided it seems like it should stop. Common sense would also lead me to believe that if we continue we might really screw something up in horrific fashion, that is, if we already haven’t.
We build houses and buildings on top of our planet, fine, that’s plastic surgery. Some of it is terrible, some of it is good, but for the most part it is not going to kill us. When we shove things into the ground, we are messing with the innards of this precariously floating ball we live on, which is like eating blocks of Velvetta all day long. It will catch up.

Preemptive strike

Things fall apart, we scramble, attempt to fix, and repeat. This describes our financial system, our health care system, quite possibly our political system in the near future, and more importantly, the world. As in the entire physical world, Earth.
We fly by the seat of our pants and figure that whatever the outcome, we will find a way to land on our feet.
But here is the thing though, what if we can’t?
The average US household is in debt $7115, 35% of Americans are obese and underinsured, our corporations have little to no oversight/repercussions for wrecking the environment/financial systems, and all of this just reminds me of a 90’s anti drug commercial where a dad realizes that his own habits have rubbed off on his son: “From you alright? I learned it from watching you!”.

The US is currently in debt $17 trillion, and in spite of this horrifically irresponsible spending, our government seems to get very little done. We, as American individuals, follow suit.

Our government is not proactive with anything, literally anything, except war. Now I am not a fan of conflict, but under the Bush administration 4 elements were put into place to define the necessity of a preemptive strike. They were not necessarily followed, but in theory using these elements as a jumping off point would help you get to a logical conclusion.

They are:
1. The nature and magnitude of the threat involved;
2. The likelihood that the threat will be realized unless preemptive action is taken;
3. The availability and exhaustion of alternatives to using force; and
4. Whether using preemptive force is consistent with the terms and purposes of the U.N. Charter and other applicable international agreements.

Number 4 is pretty war specific, but wouldn’t it be great if the first 3 items were brought into topics like: healthcare and preventative medicine, oversight of corporations and political entities, energy and the environment, education, poverty….and when we realize there is a problem we hit it with a preemptive strike? Our current alternative seems to be waiting for a collapse and putting a band aid on it.
The Affordable Care Act, although not wildly popular and certainly far from perfect, at least made an attempt to fix something that would have only become worse, a “threat that would be realized”, but the number one thing on my mind currently is the environment.
In case you have not seen the newest report from the IPCC (The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change: a scientific intergovernmental body under the auspices of the United Nations, set up at the request of member governments) there are a lot of concerns, but there really shouldn’t be. I mean there should be because there are, but we have the science and ability to avoid fracking and building another pipeline, to grow crops without chemicals, to make a more efficient…… everything.
However, most, if not all, of the decisions in Washington are made with money, and money don’t give a fuck about the environment.
We currently live in a society where it is somehow easier to make plastic, pour that plastic into a mold, create a fork, ship that fork to thousands of different restaurants, eat with it once, toss it in the trash, get a truck to drive that trash to a bigger dump, and have that plastic utensil sit there for possibly literally ever than to just eat with a regular fork, wash it, and reuse it. I mean……right?
Not everything is disposable, waste is not inevitable. You don’t have to be a tree hugging hippy to believe this. More importantly if you want to leave this Earth a better place for your sons and daughters and have Earth be here for your grandsons and granddaughters, realize that something needs to be done. Obviously a lot needs to happen on a global level, but you can start on your own with something like this. Also, drive a reasonable car.