A big Fracking Deal, flaming tap water, and Pronghorn Witnesses

The extensive report in the New York Times on fracking techniques in the huge growth in natural gas extraction and its impacts to wastewaster treatment, drinking water quality and public health concerns was quite frightening to read. 

What was really explosive within that report, was this simple quote from a Texas woman whose children are among the many new asthma sufferers clustered around a natural gas compressor station just set up two years ago:

“I’m not an activist, an alarmist, a Democrat, environmentalist or anything like that,” Ms. Gant said. “I’m just a person who isn’t able to manage the health of my family because of all this drilling.”

I, for one, don't care what Ms. Gant chooses to call herself. She understands in a truly sickening and visceral way how extractive energy dependence is literally strangling the future of our country. Her words help reframe this crisis away from any of those "labeled" groups from which she distinguishes herself. Yet there's still a bit of that Groucho Marx line in what she righteously insists--"I don't care to belong to a club that accepts people like me as members".

More, it reminds me of the power of images and stories to convey the gravity of such otherwise-dryly technical matters. Consider the kitchen sink's tap water lit aflame in the Oscar-nominated GasLand.

Or the multimedia Council of Pronghorn supported by Invoking the Pause, an interdisciplinary program exploring creative collaborations (including CityLab7) to address climate change challenges.

Stephen A