The Energize West Virginia with Natural Gas town hall meeting at the Morgantown Ramada Inn Tuesday evening, July 10th, must have been amusing to anyone aware of plays with words. The world consists of an exterior reality, which we try to duplicate with words to communicate with others.
The dissonance between the shale gas industry and the people who experience shale gas drilling is preposterous. That is to say absurd, ridiculous, ludicrous, unbelievable. The industry is top down, like an army, or some churches, with “reality” emanating from the head. The people who experience shale drilling are diverse, disconnected from one another, seeing only what is in their area, and mad as “hades” at their losses.
When one draws back and looks at the matter, it is clear what is going on. Our (the world’s) reliance on a single source of energy, hydrocarbons, is reaching a limit. Where the bulk of our energy comes from can be written in two equations understandable to a high school chemistry student. Any kind of mining always takes the easy stuff first. By now the easy hydrocarbon stuff is gone. To get hydrocarbons, more and more difficult deposits must be exploited.
Voiceless people all over the world have been trounced on for oil, now it is time for the home folks. Listen here rural folks, you’re now it! If you hear people talking about the damage they sustain, there is no doubt about their pain. Diminished health, diminished values of property, diminished enjoyment of life, diminished prospects for their children.
Probably most people are still more or less indifferent, it is not their ox in the ditch. As long as they can enjoy plenty of food, security, air conditioning, amusement, it really doesn’t mean too much one way or the other. It only comes home to those who are affected.
When the long, hot summer is over and the crops don’t come in, we’ll hear a different story. Each hot week without significant rain makes global warming converts. When you can’t grow corn, many people are hurt. We live within a delicate shell on a planet too small for all its many people.
Next winter, even if it is warm, will be interesting, too. Maybe someone will come up with a way to eat the extra hydrocarbons.
S. Tom Bond, Farmer, Citizen, Lewis County, WV