Fracking isn’t all that promising

As our population grows and our energy sources decrease so comes the time when we feel the need to find more energy – a more recent development globally is that of fracking. fracking is when water, sand and chemicals are blasted through drilled wells in the ground at high pressures in order to fracture (this is where the term ‘fracking’ comes from) the rocks underneath which in turn releases natural gases and in some cases, oil.

This may seem like a perfectly plausible way of obtaining new natural energy, and in some ways it does have it’s positives. It has the ability to create more jobs, the energy bills in the US (where fracking is big) have been substantially reduced and it can also provide sources of energy for long periods of time, but with any damage that is done to our planet it also comes with repercussions.

In 2011, when a fracking well was set up in Blackpool by a company called Cuadrilla, the process was halted due to small earth tremors as a result of fracking. Obviously this is extremely dangerous and, quite frankly, worrying to think about; definitely a good thing that Cuadrilla decided to suspend the process – although who’s to say they won’t give it another go, there is money to be made after all! On top of this man made natural disaster, there is potential that the cancer-causing chemicals that are used in the process could be released into the atmosphere and taint any nearby water reserves. So not only do we get minor earthquakes, it could also potentially cause cancer – fracking isn’t really sounding all that promising if I’m being perfectly honest!

Reports from a woman in North Texas, who lived close to drilling sites claimed she experienced nosebleeds, nausea and headaches when the drilling began. On top of this, a  town named Barnhart in Texas claimed that the fracking was the reason that their town ran out of water. The question we have to ask ourselves here is obvious, are cheap oil and gas prices and more jobs worth the health and potentially lives of some of the human population?

Speaking to a friend of mine, Reece Thornley, who has a degree in wildlife and conservation biology and who has always been an activist for environmental welfare; I wanted to know how his peaceful protest in the Lancashire fracking project had been received by both the company Cuadrilla and the police, he claimed:

“I myself have been victim of excessive police force when I was arrested by 2 police officers for refusing to give up my lawful right to peacefully protest in the central reservation of the road. As a result, I was dragged off the road in front of oncoming lorries  by force, where I was then shoved into a thorny hedge with my whole body and face pressed into vegetation cutting into my arms and cheeks, where one exclaimed ‘that will fucking teach you for not doing as your told you cunt’. When I pushed back because they were hurting me, they dragged me to the floor and double locked my arms using an illegal pressure point on my hand before kneeing me in my back to make me fall to the ground where they then pushed my face into the ground. All the time my fellow protesters, or protectors as they prefer to be called, screamed blue murder! They then had to ask their superior officer what offence I had committed (because I had done nothing wrong), to which I was done for with ‘obstruction of the highway’, spent hours in a squalid cell, an charged due to appear in court on may the 5th.”

Shocking to think that someone could be a victim of police brutality, simply for peacefully attempting to stop not only environmental damage, but also a potentially life threatening way of sourcing new energy. If you want to read the rest of Reece’s report, here it is: fracking-for-Georgia and as usual any relevant links I have found that may be of interest:

Can we trust what we know?

Many people might argue that the reason for the insane population growth of the past 50 years is due to extensive research in the health and dietary sectors. We now have extensive knowledge on what we should and shouldn’t eat and how most illnesses can be treated, dietary guidelines were set up in 1977 and any illnesses we face can be treated with various different drugs.

Yet taking into account how much research that goes into health and the sheer amount of drugs that are on the market for this, that and the other it seems incredible that there are still huge numbers of people with cancer, diabetes, heart disease and other life threatening problems. Obviously, everyone knows that eating fried chicken everyday is bad for you and that fruit and vegetables are good for you so why do people continue to do it? Yes, no one can deny, it tastes good. But it also makes you question whether or not people actually know the health implications of the food that they are eating.

So, who comes up with these food guidelines? And who prescribes us the drugs that treat our illnesses? And more importantly do these people have our best health interests at heart or is it simply a money making operation?

Well firstly lets look at the health guidelines that are being promoted, you may be under the impression that scientists come up with these facts, figures and advice yet in reality dietary guidelines are a lot more political than you may think. Not only is it scientists that contribute but also the agriculture department and food industry’s that help produce guidelines, and thinking about it if the food industry has a say in what is advised to eat or not eat then these industries will most likely advise their own products.  The ‘No red meat’ rule has been blatantly pushed out of the guidelines time and time again, even though red and processed meat is known to cause a 17-18% increased risk of colorectal cancers – so can we really trust these guidelines?

Lets hypothetically say yes, we trust these guidelines let’s eat the red meat. Then later on in life we develop breast cancer. But who provides our drugs? That big pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly, they will cure our breast cancer. What other drugs are they known to distribute though? A drug called Polisac which increases milk production in cows by 10-15%, but also causes an increase of white blood cells (or pus – yummy!) in the cows udders and is also known to be linked to breast cancer. So the same company that treats us for our condition, also produces the drugs that contributes towards it. And thinking about it, Eli Lilly would no doubt want the food industry to keep purchasing the drug as this would contribute to their profit, and so are probably quite content with the fact that dairy and red meat have not been added to the ‘Shouldn’t eat’ part of the dietary guidelines.

When thinking of ill health it’s important to remember one thing, there’s a lot of profit to be made from it. So who can we trust? Only our own judgements and our own research. I’m not saying never eat KFC again, maybe just consider a little more what it might be doing to your body and who really is wanting you to eat it. I’ll leave the relevant links underneath if you’re interested in learning more about what else big pharmaceutical companies do and what amount of control over dietary guidelines the food industry has.