Saturday, February 11, 2012

America the Ugly

Last night, we watched the documentary, "Gasland." It was filmed by a young man who lives in the woods of Pennsylvania and whose very way of life, the woods and streams he loves, may be destroyed if the gas and oil companies have their way. He set off on a journey across America, visiting others who have had to deal with the threats to health and home, the devastation of the environment, the ugliness and pollution of gas extraction. I knew that fracking was a terrible problem, but I didn't know how widespread that damage already is. It is a heart-breaking story -- and the images of America the beautiful being transformed into America the ugly and toxic are really hard to take.

It's not just fracking that is destroying the few pristine places we have left and leaving a polluted mess in their wake. It's mountain top removal in the Appalachian mountains.

And it's laying waste to the ancient boreal forests of Canada to squeeze oil out of the tar sands.

It's thousands of miles of vulnerable pipeline across the heartland of our country and risky oil drilling thousands of feet below the waters of our oceans. It's putting people and nations at risk with dangerously lethal nuclear power plants. We are making changes to this world that can never be undone and we are leaving an incredibly toxic, impoverished world for generations to come. We are like the drug addict who is so hooked that he will do anything -- lie, cheat, steal, murder his own children if he has to -- to support his habit. People are literally dying now to support our energy habit and yet we show no signs of remorse, no inclination to enter rehab.

I don't understand it. I really, really don't. We are turning our earth into an ugly, toxic wasteland. Dick Cheney, who engineered an exemption for gas and oil companies from the clean water and clean air acts, is a human being, and a reasonably intelligent one. Gas and oil executives have to live on this planet, too and I assume they all love their children and grandchildren. Can they not see what they are doing? Have they no concerns for the death and destruction that is their legacy?

I feel like we are living in a bad sci fi movie and there's no way out.


darius said...

Good post, Bravo!

darius said...

I meant to add that I live just a few miles down from the ridges of coal mining. It's a pitiful sight to drive up that way...