First of all, earthquakes are the least of the problems we face in this whole fracking/ injection well mess.
Secondly, kudos to State Representative Bob Hagan calling for the injection well moratorium before it was politically popular. This is not the first time Hagan’s guts to stand up for what is right, despite the myths and disinformation deluged on the public, would prove correct. In fact this was the case when I first met and grew to respect Rep. Hagan in 2003, as a YSU student organizing protests against the war in Iraq. It was inconceivable to me that an elected official could not only question the power structure’s decree, but would actually march out in the streets at a time when everyone else was too scared by Bush’s jingoist “you are either with us or against us.” His ability to stand up for justice at a time of great political peril was what first made me think that it may be possible to make a positive impact through electoral politics.
Thirdly, our objections to fracking should not be purely “anti.” We need to highlight the positive alternative paths for our community’s economic, environmental cultural sustainability. Supporting anyone of these paths would lead to greater wealth for our community, supporting all of them will make us a beacon of light for the world.
Investment in arts, culture, and technological innovation are key, but what is most essential, in stark contrast and threatened by fracking, is regional food production.
Urban/ Regional Agricultural & Meat: While I can’t think of a downside, the environmental, economic, and culture benefits are immense. Jobs and financial resources would be produced and would stay locally. Independent food production is healthier for us to ingest and less creepy than the megafarm factorized genetically modified food production: Listen to Dr. Sherry Linkon’s WYSU Lincoln Avenue interview with Eric Schlosser.
Urban agriculture beautifies, increases the safety, and tightens the bonds of our neighborhoods. Our community’s need for food independence may very quickly become a matter of life or death. What do we do when the trucks of stop coming when gas goes up to $20 or some cataclysmic event interrupts transportation?
The role of food production in a community’s self reliant strength, political, and economic autonomy has been well documented. Look at how essential the cooperation was between farmers and city dwellers in the 1956 Hungarian Revolution against the U.S.S.R. and their food controls. Or how about when Ghandi made salt, an illegal act that sent shockwaves throughout the British empire.
This is why the slogan “Yes to Farms, No to Frack,” provides a nice simplification of the cross roads we stand at.
Fracking (summerizing the entire industry including the injection wells) is an ugly process which will create only a handful jobs, probably none for local residents. Resources from beneath our feet are sucked out and toxic waste spewed in. Those that truly profit off the exploitation will toss some chump change for a few area folks to play ball. When we are all fracked out they will skip town like its Black Monday 1977 again, leaving us with a toxic pit and economic instability.
The idea that fracking, or any other form of outsiders coming in to take natural resources of a community leads to economic strength is quite naive and against the lessons of history. Africa is an entire continent rich in natural resources. How have the people benefitted from them? Oh, and when some folks did stand up look what happened, Patrice Lumumba.
The argument that viable alternatives to fossil fuels do not exist, has been a well funded, fiercely, even violently defended myth since before even Tesla came around. If as much money was spent on research and development as was spent on suppression of advancements, policies and propaganda ensuring our dependence on nonrenewable resources, then we could have solved a whole slew of problems. The fact is, in the exploitation business model renewable resources do not make sense. If the resource can be renewed then how can the market quantify it? So much of our society’s understanding of value is tied to scarcity. It does not need to be this way, but a very small few make a bunch of loot off this system. The 100% needs to realize it is in our economic, environmental, and cultural best interests to challenge these antiquated fat cat robber baron mentalities. That’s hard to do as people get stuck in their thought patterns, even after it is no longer in their interests. Look how the 1% in the south fought an entire war to protect their slave system even though it was practically, economically, and technologically obsolete. Obviously the ethical dilema never mattered to them, but its especially interesting how desperately people will cling to their fallacies even when it is against their interests.
Education, Reform (prisons), Energy, Defense, and Healthcare.
Our problems and the misleading propaganda we face in the energy sector are part, parcel and indicative of our other failures in the essential components of society. Instead of focusing on how to best solve these problems as a society, we have allowed private greed to endanger our public needs. Government has been hijacked to serving not the will of the people, but the greed of the few. This is done through corporate welfare, tax loopholes, absence of regulation, and privatizing of public resources.
So how do we as a society move beyond this point? How do we effectively organize a just, economic, environment, cultural sustainable and flourishing society? There is no roadmap and even if there was it wouldn’t make a difference. Social movements that change the world, come out of nowhere and make the unimaginable real. Step one is always awareness. As legendary activist Staughton Lynd plainly put it at the Occupy Youngstown rally on October 15th, “we do have a concrete demand, a qualitatively different society.”
New York Times Article about fracking in PA: