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Good Hard Try [Hippie Squared]

I understand that for President Obama’s climate change policy, natural gas seems to be a political necessity—a transitional energy source. However, here’s my question: Isn’t drinkable water a basic necessity for human life? How long can a human being live without water? On the other hand, is natural gas a basic necessity for human life? First things first.

Water that we drink is returned to the circulatory water system of the earth. Natural gas that we extract is burned as quickly as we can pull it out of the ground, and it’s gone forever.

Meanwhile, it has been widely discussed in recent years that clean water is the next great shortage that humans will face. Corporations are busily but quietly buying up sources of clean water. Whereas, the hot way of extracting natural gas right now is hydraulic fracturing, which pollutes drinking water by the millions of gallons per well, leaving it contaminated with such long-lasting pollutants as plutonium, among others. Anybody know the half-life of plutonium off the top of your head? A long time, right?

Some of that polluted water gets injected back deep into the earth, where it’s somehow supposed to lie dormant and safe, so that it won’t contaminate our groundwater. Let’s see. Water is the universal solvent. It bonds so easily with other molecules, due to its high polarity, that it pulls other substances apart. The Grand Canyon was created primarily by the force of water. The Taoists characterize water as the strongest force in nature. Stronger than mountains. Certainly stronger than the rock pockets in the earth where we inject it after we’ve polluted it.

Witness: “Over the past several decades, U.S. industries have injected more than 30 trillion gallons of toxic liquid deep into the earth, using broad expanses of the nation’s geology as an invisible dumping ground…In 2010, contaminants from such a well bubbled up in a west Los Angeles dog park… In South Florida, 20 of the nation’s most stringently regulated disposal wells failed in the early 1990s, releasing partly treated sewage into aquifers that may one day be needed to supply Miami’s drinking water.” —Scientific American

So if first things first holds true, does it really make sense to permanently contaminate precious water, the vital circulatory system for all life on earth, for a fleeting, flash-paper-bang fix of natural gas?

Water is a basic requirement of life on earth. Natural gas is not. Energy seems to be a basic requirement for our civilization, our human cultures as we have developed them. But how we make or procure that energy is not. Energy is equivalent to shelter, in a way. Like the campfire around which we huddle for warmth. In the ranking of priorities for life, water, oxygen, and even food come before shelter and fire. Certainly before complex shelters and deluxe fires.

Meanwhile, not enough drinkable water to go around could also have disastrous implications for our civilization, for our cultures. I would hate to see how the water wars would go. I have a feeling they’d involve a lot of collateral pollution of our water and our air, all to save our water for certain peoples, certain countries, and certain elites.

Unlike flash-in-the-pan natural gas, water that remains in the circulating water system is never truly used up. It only changes form as it passes through the filtering systems of rivers, streams, oceans, atmosphere, and down through the soil into the water table; the pools underground that rest in stone bowls and as spills on shelves of rock.

But if we inject water with mixes of chemicals that are terrifyingly poisonous to humans, and then stash it in holes in the earth, we are forever removing that water from the circulating system of drinkable water—at best. Worse is the risk that the poisoned water bleeds into the water table, which we read above it has already done in places. If it enters the water table it can and will pass almost anywhere on earth, into the rivers and the streams. We run the risk with such water of irrevocably poisoning our most precious resource for human life on earth. I’m not sure that as a species we can ultimately survive that. Unless our evolution outflanks the changes to our water. In which case, the human species takes the next great leap, and it won’t be your daddy’s homo sapiens anymore. If we even stay “sapiens” at all, and don’t just shuffle off to the next spot on the evolutionary dance floor.

And Speaking of Dance Floors: On a lighter note, I like to make up band names. I collect them. Does anyone else do that? My current favorites:

  • Waxing Gibbous—a punk band
  • The Tricky Propositions—a girl band
  • Vigorous Rubdown—alt rock?
  • Flesh Helmet—punk

Good Hard Try

We have one life.
We won’t be able to say we got it right.
But let’s live to say that we gave it a good hard try.