Good news first, I guess. Today, July 28 2010, the United Nations voted to make Fresh Water a basic human right. I think this is a grand statement, and although (the last I heard) the US was set to OPPOSE this measure, I think it recognizes the importance of fresh water to the sustenance of all life on earth, and the fragility of this particularly important resource.
Such recognition is surely due, since here in New York our state government seems completely unaware of how precious water really is and too incompetent to protect it.
It should be stated that Hydrofracking is something that's been going on for many years. Why haven't we heard of it before it got to New York? Because those who sign leases are under a gag order; legally bound to keep silent, no matter what. I'm not sure how Josh Fox got those people to demonstrate flames leaping from water in his movie Gasland, but I sure do hope that those citizens will not suffer too horribly for their bravery in standing up to the Hydrofracking corporations and all of their layers of minions. (read: Helliburton)
Hydrofracking has become an issue in NY State because we have all the resources of New York City. We have Pete Seeger. And, New York has people with money who can afford to say "Hell No!" and do everything possible to prevent this disaster from happening.
That's why, suddenly, people are beginning to pay attention. It's a kind of snowball effect.
Which is a good thing, because New York is not the end of the line, by any means. There is gas under Europe - and as soon as they're finished fracking us, they'll frack Paris, and Stuttgart, and Barcelona too. Then North Africa, then.....
All because we continue to demand fossil fuels for our energy, our transportation, and our barbeques.
Recently I took a trip to the Gulf to see how the Great Oil Spill was affecting people's lives down there (enough people are already talking about the marine life). I found a real sad story. The oil was hitting as we drove by - the Florida Panhandle, the Alabama cost, the Mississippi Delta, Lake Ponchartrain. It was the 4th of July weekend, and the very last hurrah of people enjoying watersports and the beaches. But, there just weren't that many people. A few waitresses I spoke to along the way said that tourism was down by half compared to last year. In New Orleans, the Essence Music Festival was happening over the weekend so there was some vibrant tourism going on - but on Monday, it was empty. Unbelievably, achingly, empty.
We had the great fortune to meet a couple in the French Quarter on the 4th of July, when my son befriended their dog. It turns out, the woman grew up just 10 miles from where I live, so they very graciously invited us in for drinks, and we talked for hours. Her husband is Cajun, he talked to us about how that lifestyle on the bayous is going to be destroyed by the oil spill. She told me that the people of New Orleans have a cast iron will - they'll get through anything - but this oil spill is so much worse than Katrina; it's a real test of that iron will. After Katrina, they could pick up a shovel and rebuild. But with the Oil Spill, they are at the mercy of multinational corporations who they just don't trust to get the job done right.
And that's exactly how I feel about hydrofracking in New York, or anywhere - these companies are getting away with murder. Literally. And we "little people" are so blindsided by their lies and manipulations that we don't know what's hit us until it's way, way WAY too late.
I'm making a movie now, about fresh water, which I hope to have finished in a month. Actually, it's a kind of public service message... but in any case, there needs to be a call to action that reaches the 4 corners of the Earth. We have to put pressure on our governments to say NO to these "too big to fail" companies who are destroying our habitat all in the name of profit.
I've heard a bit too much talk lately about moving to Mars, but I'm just not interested..... I love my rivers and streams, my lakes and ponds, my oceans and seas.... I love my fish and birds, salamanders and toads, deer and critters. I love Earth. I want to make Earth work; not throw it away like a used condom.
Ah well, at least the first biosphere on Mars won't be ready in my lifetime. But it sure would be nice to grow old without worrying about where the water is going to come from to brush my teeth and water my garden.