Does anyone else find it ironic that so many people Ė the vast majority of whom rely on modern science and technology on a daily basis Ė believe theyíre justified, in some strange sense, to cast aside decades, even centuries, of accumulated scientific knowledge whenever it suits their needs, wants or personal agenda?
Even as a firm believer in man-made climate change, Iíll admit that Iím no exception to this. And before you non-believers out there start slinging your typical accusations at me yes, I do drive a car, but only when doing so is absolutely necessary (usually on my way to the store so I can make that random Made in China/Tiawan/Indonesia purchase). Do I rely, like we all do, on oil (often foreign in nature), natural gas, coal and other non-renewable resources to fuel my car, heat my home and cook my dinner? Of course I do, we all do, but that doesnít mean I have to like it.
Trust me, if someone were to offer me an emission-free car and a home which had zero impact on the Earthís environment, Iíd gladly take them up on it. I like to think that most people would, but Iím certainly not going to get my hopes up. Unfortunately, nothing comes cheap these days, even when youíre trying to save the planet.
Sometimes Iím afraid that we, as a nation, have become so entrenched in our current way of life Ė even if deep down we know that itís detrimental to our planet Ė that itís now impossible for us to consider any alternative, or the consequences of our continued ignorance.
Iíve always been more-than-a-little opinionated (if you hadnít noticed) and Iíve spent years debating the science behind climate change, which ranks right up there with religion and politics as one of those topics that should never be discussed in public. Unfortunately for me, I always seem to do that very thing, much to my dismay.
And that brings me to the recent debate on natural gas drilling and the dreaded (or beloved) process of hydraulic fracturing (a.k.a. fracking).
Now donít get me wrong, Iím completely aware of the potential benefits for drilling the Marcellus Shale here in Chenango County, yet , unlike far too many people, Iíve also taken the time to ponder the possible dangers. Iím not going to waste your time (or mine) going over the details of either argument, I think weíve all heard them enough by this time that itís completely unnecessary.
No, my problem with natural gas drilling, or any type of drilling, really, is simple. No matter how scientifically and technologically proficient weíve become as a species, there is, literally, nothing weíve created thatís fool-proof.
Cars break down, houses burn to the ground, airplanes crash, sneakers wear out and hey, accidents happen, right? Yet risking our plentiful supply of drinking water (which is priceless, may I remind you) for the sake of a few bucks is supposed to be OK? Not with me, sorry. Until someone can show me definitive proof that thereís absolutely nothing to worry about in regards to natural gas drilling, I simply cannot force myself to support it.
While I realize that the concept of ďsaving-our-planet-for-the-good-of-all-humankindĒ is one of those grand and noble aspirations which, most likely, is destined for failure, I canít help wondering what we might accomplish if we were to, once and for all, set aside our petty differences, our differing opinions, and work toward that very goal. It certainly canít hurt and, you never know, it might even work. Imagine that.