by Joris Rosse
It is our fate to be saddled with feeling our way to an honorable transition from the failed market states to a possible new culture to be nurtured by the exhilarating renewal of an earlier eco wisdom paradigm. There is no guarantee of success and the price of failure is boundless loss, suffering, and death of the planet.
The unenviable assignment is nature-given by the promise of hope of development that we find ourselves in, thrusting profound responsibility upon the self-evolved reluctant cultural creatives. During eons of Promethean churning of earth’s crust Nature squirreled away a vast storehouse of resources and evolved an extremely complex and finely tuned organism suspended in Gaia’s interdependent life-affirming dynamic balance. At this point along the path of destiny the corporate fiction of personhood is the genie that needs to be re-contained lest the caring citizens lack the tools to rebalance the ecosystems so mindlessly being pushed beyond the limits of sustainability.
Fictional corporate entities eager to cash in on Appalachian Marcellus shale gas would flagrantly exceed those limits. Once again the ‘system’ needs to be blessed with eyes, nose, tongue, skin and brains to remind it of the parameters within which the playing fields must be drawn, in light of the latest planetary developments. Hydro-fracking is the wrong and un-ecological process of capturing energy at this extremely sensitive ecological moment in history. Sound reasoning and compassionate hearts dictate that we stack the positive multipliers that beckon the soft ecological way forward. Relax the raptors’ conquering glare. Fine-tune the healing embrace of the nurturing Mother. There are better ways. Let us find our good fortune there.
Pennsylvanians are facing a new and pervasive eco-threat: A method has been devised to extract natural gas from Marcellus shale that underlies two-thirds of the whole state! Because of global warming we must end the use of all fossil fuels as soon as possible. The available method of extraction, called shale fracturing, is environmentally very destructive. Thousands of wells 5,000 feet deep are drilled. At that depth, several radial drills are then done of several thousand feet each. Each well is placed on a 5-acre concrete work slab.
Explosions are set off in the well hole. Then millions of gallons of water containing various toxic chemicals are pumped into the wells under tremendous pressures (3000 lbs or more per square inch). This allows the chemical release of the gas, profitable only if the cleanup, imperfect as it may be, is subsidized by the public. At the same time, the wells produce various intensities of toxic contaminations of the water.
No method is available to restore the water to its original degree of purity. This begins a long saga of unchecked and un-remediable environmental degradation detailed by the Alliance in a Marcellus Shale Statement submitted to DEP for consideration by the Environmental Quality Board. (The statement is available on the Alliance website.) This travesty must be stopped!
Instead of developing another toxic fossil fuel source we must nurture Nature. Demand use of available clean alternatives!
Conserve energy 1001 ways. We can reduce the need for energy by 90% while improving our health and standard of living. Vegetarianism can save up to 50%. Create thousands of green jobs! Grow your own garden. Convert to LED lighting.
Develop alternative non-fossil energy sources: wind, wave, micro-hydro, photovoltaic, geothermal, and biofuels. Create thousands more green jobs!
To sequester billions of tons of carbon, maximize Nature’s own methods with photosynthesis, revived topsoil, organic agriculture, permaculture, and fungi. Eat lower on the food chain.
Phase in a sturdy progressive carbon tax. Subsidize transition to sustainable energy sources and conservation. Phase out all fossil fuel use. Develop a minimal carbon footprint.
Minimize construction of large centralized power plants in favor of smaller community or regional plants eliminating inefficient long-distance power transmission. Save up to 60%. Create jobs, jobs, jobs while saving life on the planet.
Want to help? Come to Alliance meetings.
Joris is a member of the Alliance Steering Committee.
(Essays express the ideas of the individual authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the Alliance.)
(Published in the 2010 edition of Sustainable Lehigh Valley)