Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A Letter to Environmental Activists

It seems the debate over hydraulic fracturing is finally starting to heat up. I say finally because up until now there hasn't been much of a debate at all. Mostly a one sided affair where anyone who might disagree with the given "consensus" were castigated, vilified, and called names.

The following letter was penned by a self proclaimed environmental activist who has become weary of the constant never ending mantra "no drill/no spill".


Dear Local Environmental Activists

You have taken the discussion way away. You have turned the subject of natural gas development into a monologue; where no-one is allowed to speak unless they speak the same rhetoric that you profess. If they disagree you call them greedy, ignorant or a shill. It is all about promoting your agenda for an entire populous (with or without a fair consensus) Even if you believe you have fair consensus, some of us know it is biased as it is based on half-truths and deceitfulness (I have been subject of you surveys; that include negative biased sentiment and many of us signed the petitions just to keep you off our front porches- Of course, I regret the decision now). It was originally about an issue but now, it doesn’t matter what the agenda is based on, as we have watched it change daily (from underground explosions (Chip Northrup) releasing natural gas to the attack of endocrine disruptor of an epic proportion (Dr. Amy Freeth)). Also, it really doesn’t matter to you that the majority of the populous have no idea about what you are doing or talking about as long as you inject enough fear in them to lay the ground work for your agenda. Of course it has become political and we all know what politicking means; empty promises and lies... lies… lies… anything to get ahead, anything to get heard, and anything to keep your life status quo. Doesn’t matter how much your decisions impact the “others” who live “over the hill” who now apparently need your help to keep the power lines away, the windmills away and now the gas wells away. These lies and deceit is something you have on numerous occasions accused the other side of doing. From where I sit here in the middle, there is NO difference between both extremes.

So, my question to you is; what do you perceive as our alternatives? I hear talk from you about sustainable and renewable energy solutions. All I have seen is the talk but not the walk. Tell me how I can live sustainably and wean myself off fossil fuels? My car runs on petroleum and I cannot afford an electric car. I do not have a large enough property to put up a wind mill nor can I afford solar panels on my roof. What can I do? What is your alternative to natural gas? What can we do to save our towns from an economic bust and uncertain economic future? I demand answers.

You are quick to shut down on hope but not quick to offer solutions.

I asked the same of those who support drilling. I did not get monologues of overplayed rhetoric, references to newspaper articles penned by everyday writers. Oh.. and TWO peer reviewed documents where the authors have been questioned about their methods. What I got was a discussion where my concerns were taken in account and addressed, complete with references to regulations, government agency authored white papers, several time tried peer reviewed papers about oil and gas extraction. I still may not be entirely convinced that natural gas development is the best way to go because I do not like fossil fuels but I enjoy the discussions about the potential changes that natural gas development can bring. I support the development if it can be done safely and I believe we are on our way to safe development.

So, where is your solution how to access the natural gas safely or as you just posturing for an all-out ban of natural gas development and then what? Most people resolve arguments through discussions but none of you has been willing to discuss anything with me since I left the ranks. So what do we do? Sit and wait while you steer us to destination that has not been defined? If you feel your fight is valuable then make something of it use it as a turning around point for our community. Use it to educate about how we can incorporate sustainable life choices into our everyday life and wean ourselves off fossil fuel based technology. Or else quit wasting our time.

Globally, the Oil and Gas Extraction processes are among our failures as a human race; when it comes to caring for each other (case and point Nigeria’s Oil field) and the way we have cared for our environment. What Shale gas exploration did has been phenomenon in drawing out the complexity of the industry varying levels of accountability on global scale. Now that the industry is knocking on our door, we come face to face with our consumerism and the cost that others have borne as a result of it. While we argue, community or monologue, we still continue to use fossil fuels at an alarming rate, we need to own up to our responsibility on a global scale. Let us work together to continue making the processes transparent.

Whether we like or not, environmentalist activists have become the type of people they detested; their own worst enemy, the day they adopted the “our way or the high way” attitude.

Thanks for reading,

A disgruntled environmental activist (I refuse to use my name because I do not want to be harassed or eco-bullied)Please bookmark!

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