Tag Archives: fracking

What Pete Seeger Meant To Clean Water

Pete Seeger At Farm Aid 2013This week marked the passing of Pete Seeger, a folk-singer and activist, that reached the impressive age of 94.

In an obituary published by Bloomberg, Seeger’s influence on artists ranging from Bruce Springsteen to Bob Dylan – along with his overwhelming role in the emergence of folk music – are prominently cited.  Seeger’s life and accomplishments could, and have, stretched across several volumes – with his voice booming through more than 100 albums and thousands of concerts & hootenannies.  Seeger even performed at President Obama’s 2009 inauguration where he was joined in a performance of This Land Is Your Land by Bruce Springsteen.

When we at FridgeFilters.com remember Seeger, what will resonate most strongly is what he meant to the clean water movement.

In 1966, Seeger and his wife founded the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, an organization dedicated to protecting the Hudson River and surrounding wetlands.  Clearwater, known for its hard-to-miss boat and impromptu concerts by Seeger and his banjo, was instrumental in supporting the passage of the Clean Water Act in 1972.  Seeger was named a Clean Water Hero in 2002, in fact, for his efforts in support of this major initiative.

Seeger’s influence on the cleanliness of the Hudson River is difficult to sum up in just a few words, but this quote from writer Michelle Nijhuis perhaps comes the closest:

The river was dirty, and now it’s cleaner. What’s wrong is being righted. What’s impossible is possible.

As recently as this year, Seeger took on another clean water issue by becoming a vocal opponent against fracking – a controversial practice where thousands of gallons of highly pressured water are pumped into the ground to extract natural gas.  Seeger joined the likes of Neil Young and Dave Matthews to protest this practice at Willie Nelson’s Farm Aid just this September.

When we think of Pete Seeger going forward, we’ll remember the lifetime of music and activism dedicated to the well-being of so many that depend on clean drinking water.  Fortunately, the video below that will play out this post – a clip of Seeger well into his 90’s playing This Land Is Your Land at an anti-fracking protest – allow us to remember everything this man encompassed all at once.

An RIP and a thank you to Pete Seeger, a true clean water hero, on behalf of all of us at FridgeFilters.com.

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What the Frack is Fracking?

 Admit it. The first time you heard the term "fracking" you immediately pictured Yosemite Sam: 

Sounds like Yosemite Sam knew all along that fracking was bad!

In the natural gas business, fracking is slang for hydraulic fracturing.

What the rootin' tootin' heck is hydraulic fracturing? 

 In short, it's a way to get fuel out of rock by drilling deep into the earth and releasing natural gas by EXPLODING THE ROCKS IN THE SHALE LAYER. 

Boom
BOOM!

Are you picturing a full-on Michael Bay Transformers explosion? Oh. Well, it's not quite that awesome. There's no dynamite involved-just a mixture of water, sand, and toxic chemicals pumped underground with enough force to shatter shale rock. The process actually looks like this:

Shale_50833618_shale_extraction_diagram_464(image via the BBC)

 

So what's the big frackin' deal?

 Earthquakes. No, this is not a fangirl/film geek Michael Bay reference–turns out the fracking process can create small tremors. Man. Made. Earthquakes. Eleven in Ohio alone last year. Yeah, Ohio. (Not really an earthquake state.)

Methane Leaks. The process of extracting gas from shale also causes a good deal of methane leakage.  Methane leakage is problematic because a) stinky, b) major planet-warming greenhouse gas, and c) WATER! ON! FIRE!

 

Air Pollution. Those chemicals used in the fracking process? Turns out they're not so healthy to breathe… ok we're kidding they're totally poisonous. People who live near fracking sites are more likely to suffer from eye and skin irritation, headaches and nervous system damage, asthma, kidney and liver problems, and oh yeah-leukemia. 

Groundwater Contamination. How about a splash of benzine in your glass of water? No? Radioactive ice cubes? No?  Here in North Carolina (home of your favorite water filter company), our natural gas reserves are pretty frackin' close to our groundwater. That layer of rock between our water and our natural gas–it's not actually watertight. Which means those toxic fracking chemicals pumped deep underground could migrate upward and contaminate our water. The water we use for drinking, bathing, cooking, and growing food.

Say it with me: FREAKIN FRACKIN RACKAFRACKIN RASSAFRASSIN HAMMER HEADED HALIBUTS.

Waste. Today, nearly one billion people don't have access to clean water, while fracking injects trillions (repeat–trillions) of gallons of (now poisonous) fresh water in. To. The. Ground. 

Makes you want to go Megatron on somebody, right?

The Good News. Is there any? You bet your Shia LaBeouff there is. All across the country communities have banned fracking in response to grassroots groups committed to clean water.  A little education and a lot of passion go along way! Says activist Sandra Steingrabbler, "[My kids] are made of water. They are made of the food that is grown in the county that I live in. And they are made of air. We inhale a pint of atmosphere with every breath we take… And when you poison these things, you poison us."

 

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