TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY

Editorials

August 13, 2012

Fracking or quaking the earth?

CORBIN — “Look before you leap” is being overlooked. Today’s avaricious quest for energy overshadows caution and even rational behavior. Due to the probability that the fracking procedure for accessing natural gas and oil causes earthquakes and pollutes the earth’s aquifers, France and Bulgaria have already banned fracking.

However the industrial countries of the world, with the U.S. leading the pack, are in hot pursuit of this shortcut to energy. Setting off explosions deep within the earth’s crust in areas where there are gas and oil deposits, is found to gush forth this coveted fuel. Our Mother Earth is being penetrated, punctured and violated in every way that proves to squeeze out energy. It compares to being held up in an alleyway at gunpoint; the robber taking our wallet, watch and everything else of value — and hopefully not our life. Some geologist feel we are at the point of having the gun’s trigger pulled on Planet Earth.

The terms ruthless, careless and greedy are all needed to describe the present “Gold rush” for the earth’s limited deposits of precious energy.  Perfecting the fracking procedure has released an avalanche of entrepreneurial efforts to quench the insatiable energy thirst of the world. A big-buck opportunity has dawned.

This headlong and headstrong frenzy to be on the sub-ground floor of a new monetary bonanza, reminds me of the shameful scars of our American industrial revolution. Millions of impoverished immigrants fresh off the boats from Europe, desperate for employment, were promptly enslaved. These abused millions literally lost their lives seeking life — “I sold my soul to the company store.” These millions purchased millionaire status for a few.

Similarly, fracking may well bring permanent devastation to earth and its billions of residents, and thereby billions of dollars to a few.   

As I look back on the greed-driven atrocity of a hundred-plus years ago (the industrial revolution) hopefully some people will still be standing a hundred years from now and will be able to appraise the suspected atrocity of today’s fracking.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the correlation and projections  of geologists as written above are wrong; that fracking is found harmless to earth and its inhabitants? Let’s pray that it be so and also that leaping happens after looking.

“Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” [Luke 12; 15]

The Rev. John Burkhart Ph.D, is a retired Episcopal priest and professor of psychology

jandmburkhart@yahoo.com blog at inspirationsandideas

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