America needs gas in order to function. Every country does. There’s no viable way of producing a lot of energy for the world without some sort of environmental impact.
It’s a Catch-22 situation. We need gas in order to live modern and comfortable lives, but how we go about getting it can harm the environment dramatically. There’s also, of course, an enormous amount of money at stake. So my eyebrow was raised when I heard that director Josh Fox, environmental reporter Karl Grossman, as well as movie star Alec Baldwin hosted an event at Guild Hall for the screening of the documentary film, Gasland 2, which examines the method of extracting natural gas called hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” one of the most controversial environmental issues facing our country today.
Now besides the fact that a lot of people probably went to this screening because Alec Baldwin was there and it’s always exciting to be around him, the vibe will be, undoubtedly, that oil and natural gas and big corporate giants that produce them for consumption are in general, bad.
I can’t help but have an opinion on this issue, because I see the hypocrisy when it comes to energy.
Based on what I’ve read (and I’ve also watched the first Gasland), the movie demonstrates how the stakes have been raised when it comes to fracking natural gas in the United States and debunks prevailing myths about fracking by arguing how and why fracked wells inevitably leak over time. The iconic image of running water from a faucet catching on fire is reprised, as director Fox shows how methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, contaminates the water and air, hurts families and endangers the Earth’s climate.
Just an FYI, methane is also produced by cow farts.
I don’t know about you, but I’m just getting kind of tired of pretending that we don’t need oil or gas in order to live. I dare you to live a week without using it. I dare you to go camping without building a fire or bringing batteries with you.
If the answer was solar or wind, I’d be in favor of it. But in my experience, I can’t even get a simple room light to work reliably using solar power. I once bought a solar-powered fan for my sailboat in Sag Harbor and the damn thing was a joke, was made in China, and was probably shipped over in a massive container run by a massive diesel-powered ship. The fan worked for five minutes.
My point is, that there’s no guilt-free answer to our CO2 problem, much like there’s no guilt-free answer to anything in life. EVERYTHING produces some kind of waste.
How you manage it is what needs to be the focus in my opinion, not a direct attack on the actual product that’s producing the energy. I’m sorry, but in my opinion, discovering the ocean of natural gas in America is one of the best things that has ever happened to us. It provides jobs, energy that is domestic, energy that is cleaner than most and can help us get off of our reliance on foreign oil.
Do I like the process of fracking? Of course I don’t. I don’t like that it uses so much water, or that chemicals are used in order to extract the gas from the ground, or the giant companies who seem to do what they want. But I DO like natural gas, and there’s not a single one of you out there reading this who hasn’t benefited from it in some way, and if you didn’t have it you’d complain faster then you can say,
“It’s hot in here turn on the A/C.”