What exactly is fracking? If you’ve got a red, white, and blue passport and you can’t answer this question, don’t feel all that bad: you’re not alone.
According to a University of Texas poll of 2,400 Americans (a very good sample size, btw), 28 percent of Americans were “not familiar” with fracking. Even more eye-opening, 35 percent said they had “never heard” the process.
So…28 + 35…carry the one…63 percent of Americans are clueless about an energy-grabbing process that is killing our ecology!
If only those in the progressive movement, the media, or teenage rap circles had conceived of some way to explain a) what fracking is and b) how and why its an ecological atom bomb…oh, they had.
See Josh Fox’s Oscar-nominated documentary Gasland. See this fantastic piece from Vanity Fair. See Mark Ruffalo’s awareness campaign. See any one of these light-your-faucet-on-fire YouTube videos. See this catchy rap video.
Fracking, also known in eco-dobadding circles by its more official-sounding aliases (“hydraulic fracking, hydrofracking, hydraulic fracturing”) is not good at all for our ecological present and future, says Treehugger.
It has fundamentally transformed the energy debate—and energy production—around the world. It has helped create the glut of natural gas we're currently sitting on, and that in turn is helping to drive coal out of business. It also poses numerous health and environmental risks that everyone—especially those who live in fracking-impacted areas—should be aware of. It can contaminate groundwater, spur small earthquakes, blast methane emissions into the sky, etc.
As for my definition, here goes…
Fracking is an energy-extraction process by which a NSFE (not safe for Earth) liquid cocktail—part water, part chemical, part sand—is blasted into hard rock, thereby fracturing it to allow natural gas and/or oil to flow to the surface.
(Photo: Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)