Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Problems We Are Leaving For Our Grandchildren Will Get Us Too

Mark Twain said that there are three kinds of lies. "There are lies. There are damned lies and there are statistics." 

Every time there is major news coverage of a new scientific discovery that tells us that we are destroying the earth with our stupidity, government officials solemnly tell us everything is ok. They  find "scientists" who claim the majority of scientists are wrong about global warming, climate change, polar ice caps melting, and the dependence on petroleum and gas of our whole civilization. They often trot out experts to tell us that we have plenty of gas and oil to continue our wasteful use of it indefinitely.

How much gas and oil is left in the world is not as important as how much oil and gas is left that we can use. At some point it takes more energy to pump out the oil and gas than it does to leave it there. 

There is a new technology that allows cheaper oil and gas extraction. This means that old, formerly defunct oil fields can now allow extraction of more oil and gas.

The name for this type of gas and oil extraction is "fracking". 

Fracking involves pumping steam into the old oil well to force more oil and gas out. Steam under pressure is what runs a lot of power plants. It is powerful stuff. 

People who live near fracking operations complain of problems that it causes them. One of these is having their water aquifers polluted.

An aquifer is like a giant sponge made of rock that holds water in tiny holes all through it. Most wells get water from aquifers. Some aquifers are very old and so is the water in them. Once an aquifer is polluted nobody knows how to fix it. That means bad water forever.

Another problem that people complain about from fracking operations is seismic activity. That means earthquakes. The world is getting more and bigger earthquakes than ever before. The same applies to the tsunamis that go with a lot of them. It is pretty hard to pin increased earthquakes and tsunamis on fracking from oil extraction, but that does not mean there is no connection. 

If I was Japanese, I think I would be pretty teed off at fracking operations. I am not happy about it and I live in Alaska. We just got the first radioactive debris washing up on our seashores from Japan. This stuff does not stay put in one place. The world is connected, like it or not.

There is a lot of sanctimonious stuff going around about not leaving problems for our grandchildren. It is a lot of talk but little action. 

We don't get off that easy. We get to enjoy those problems in our lifetimes too. They will be worse for our grandchildren, but it is only fair that we get at least some of them. That is already starting. Our grandchildren are really going to hate us when they realize what we did to them.

You may hate yourself too. You need to get ready for the swarms of natural disasters that are going to be the new normal. 

Do whatever you can to go easier on the planet. You will have the rest of your life to regret not doing so.

No comments:

Post a Comment