Two people were peacefully sitting in a boat on the river, when one of them began to drill under his seat, making a small hole in the boat. “Why are you drilling a hole?” the other person asked.
“What do you care?” the first person replied. “Am I drilling under you? I’m drilling under my part of the boat!”
“Fool!” said the first. “Wherever you drill, both of us will be lost along with the boat.”
This story comes from a teaching in the Midrash (Vayikra Rabba, chapter 4), and it’s quoted by Rav Ashlag in his teaching on Mutual Responsibility to illustrate the matter of mutual obligation in each society.
I couldn’t help thinking about this story when I began to learn of the dangers inherent in our use of fossil fuels, most notably the recent desire to add poisonous chemicals to water, and then force this water underground to obtain the natural gas deposits that exist there in the shale.
This process, called hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” drills a hole for a pipe deep into the ground, below the water table, and then extends this pipe a great distance sideways, so that it can allow poisonous water to be forced through it, fracturing the shale rock, which causes the gas to be released.
Drinking water in the surrounding areas of this process have been found to be contaminated, so people living in the houses there can no longer even shower in the water that’s coming out of their own faucets. The air and the soil in those areas contain contaminates so strong that it is sickening and sometimes killing the livestock in the farms — livestock that usually provides milk and meat for the whole country.
Research data concludes that fracking leads to damage to the local environment through contamination and negatively impacts the earth’s biosphere.
The Tyndall Center, http://www.tyndall.ac.uk/shalegasreport, a Collaborative working with the research and scientific community to advise business leaders, policy advisors and influence the mainstream media and public in general, has revealed through analysis that fracking chemical mixtures used are known and suspected carcinogens that are not only toxic but mutagenic. When the chemicals return to the surface after injection, they carry with them heavy metals, radioactive materials and methane gas.
Ground water and aquifers are damaged by fracking and those effects are impossible to reverse.
In another study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences , the current method of carbon capture by storing the gas underground is directly causational to earthquakes.The damaging results of this activity can clearly be seen in Pennsylvania and other parts of the country where this method of extracting gas has been happening for some time.
We can often see commercials on TV and in the newspapers about the potential profits that can be reaped from this supposed windfall of abundant fossil fuels beneath the surface of the earth, when some lives have already been irreparably damaged by this activity, experiencing painful sickness and loss of livestock in various parts of the US.
There appears to be a complete denial of the damage being done to our naturally clean water supply. The only solution is for as many of us as possible to insist to our lawmakers that following through with these efforts is a very short-sighted venture. Our lives, and the lives of our children, are far more important than any amount of fossil fuel the earth can provide.
In response to all those who ask where our energy can come from, there is an unlimited supply of energy that causes no damage to the earth: it comes from the sun and the wind. Some forward thinking countries, including Israel, are already creating new ways to harness the sun’s power. It’s here for the taking, without harming our land, our air, or our water supply. When we care about the quality of life in this way, we create a healthier existence for the world’s population. Our children, and our children’s children, deserve nothing less.