From ‘Frack Off’ to ‘Hello Sun’?

anti fracking protestors

They are probably not demonstrating against AGLs solar business!

photo credit: flickr – kateausburn

Unless you’ve been living a hermit’s existence with no access to news outlets, the Internet or NSW premier Barry “Bumper” O’Farrell’s rants you’ll have heard the constant chorus “Frack Off!” being directed at the (not-so-green) gas industry led by AGL. The choice insult refers of course to the gas industry’s latest controversial method of extracting gas by fracturing deeply buried rock using a pressurised fluid.

The very legitimate concerns from ordinary folk — you know the ones who have to breathe the fumes and drink the poisoned water — occur when the so-called harmless “fracturing” causes vast environmental damage such as contamination of groundwater supplies and health problems caused by escaping gas. Over the last year or so opponents have ramped up their campaign to combat the gas industry’s propaganda that fracking is safe.

Hence the unofficial “Frack Off” campaign.

Perhaps the real question though is: why are we having this debate at all. Gas, as a fossil fuel, is probably mildly less damaging to the environment than our good mate coal but is nonetheless polluting and, as the reports show, the fracking version of extraction is an environmental nightmare.

So why not go a step further. How’s “Frack Off fossil fuels and Hello Sun” sound? The chant has a nice ring to it, suited nicely to marches and protests and easy enough for folks to absorb. Even News Ltd journos could get the gist? Or is that asking too much? Importantly though it encapsulates where our thinking for our energy sources should be.

Instead of even considering fracking as a new form of fossil fuel extraction (the technology is actually quite a few decades old, but its use has grown in the past few years) surely we should be looking at, and encouraging, more investment in renewable sources such as solar and wind energy?

One of the key drawbacks of fracking for gas (other than of course a whole laundry list of environmental nasties) is the fact that it will bring more cheap fossil fuel available on the energy market. Without trying to generalise here, many major polluters couldn’t give a frack about water contamination, peoples’ health, global warming or the environment so long as they get access to cheap electricity. Consequently the demand for renewables such as solar energy will drop.

And of course with the blinkered thinking of many of our elected representatives on both sides of the political fence in both state and federal parliaments, we may see them tripping over themselves to extend current fossil fuel subsidies to fracking.

Doesn’t bear thinking about does it?

So start organising with like-minded friends and tell your MP to “Frack Off Fossil Fuel” and “Hello Sun”. And tell them SQHQ sent you.

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