Opinion: Don’t give a flying frack

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As anyone who’s ever been in a casino knows, sometimes the only way to dig yourself out of the hole is to roll again and dig a little deeper.

One of humanity’s current predicaments isn’t far from a night of gambling gone awry. Much like the gambler with pockets that feel deeper than they are, we’ve been hungrily harvesting oil from the Earth’s crust for the past century, under the impression that dinosaur bones will infinitely recycle themselves into fossil fuels. Oil companies act as the casino, eager to dole losing hands to a customer that has zero consideration of the consequences. On a global scale, the pit of indebtedness we’re digging is known as global warming.

Our overuse of fossil fuels is finally starting to catch up with us. Heat waves in the middle of winter are accentuated by severe snowstorms; sea levels are beginning to creep upward and displace entire communities; the quality of the air we breathe is steadily in decline. But we still refuse to turn toward renewable energy on a large scale.

So it makes perfect sense to explore yet another non-renewable energy source: fracking.

Fracking is the process of drilling shale deposits and garnering gas resources deep below the Earth’s crust using high-pressure drills to shoot a mixture of over 650 chemicals into a well. It has been exploding on a national scale, as energy companies promise cheap, reliable sources of power.

Opposition to fracking is also on the rise. Environmental interest groups claim that fracking can cause contamination of ground water and pose severe health consequences. They claim the process itself is dangerous, and that the mixture injected into the Earth often makes its way back onto the surface via industrial mishaps. Researchers confirmed that recent earthquakes in Ohio can be linked to fracking practices.

But this low-budget, high-risk drilling is exactly what we need to achieve total environmental dominance. First, what are a few chemical spills to a planet this big? BP has been proving for years that we can spew oil all over the ocean and the only consequence is to sea creatures that have never done anything for us anyway.

Additionally, there is no phenomenon more cleansing than a series of violent earthquakes. By shaking up the surface every few months, a fracking well may lead to new jobs, as the reconstruction process will call for more laborers and developers. Plus, people will have to uproot and leave their homes, given that they will no longer be able to drink their water. In this way, we can continue to develop previously untapped parts of the globe, paying mere cents on the dime to heat our homes with fossil fuels.

Yes, fracking might be the final nail in our environmental coffin, the one eye-opener to the fact that we’re destroying our planet. By damaging the very ground upon which our homes sit, domestic fracking will introduce new costs of living. Gas won’t seem so cheap when you have to exist on bottled water because your tap water is flammable, and solar panels will be far more appealing when you’re constructing a new home in the earthquake ruins of your old one.

But if you decide it’s finally time to investigate alternative energy for yourself, you’re too late. Most fracking companies and land developers already own the mineral rights beneath your feet. So get ready to spark up a stogie in your morning shower and avoid getting the water in your eyes, because we’re all fracked.

Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Sam Schanfarber at Samuel.schanfarber@colorado.edu.

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