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No, Mr. Bond: I Expect You to Frack!

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Here’s a sort-of transcript:

Here’s a fun trivia question: which contiguous US state is the most seismically active? If you said California, congratulations! Not because you’re right, but because you’re about to learn something new: the answer is Oklahoma.

This may seem odd if you know that earthquakes tend to congregate around major fault lines like the one running through California, of which there are none anywhere near Oklahoma.

Before 2008, Oklahoma experienced an average of 1 to 3 earthquakes per year over 3.0 magnitude. Last year, there were 564.

Researchers believe that this is most likely due to an increase in fracking, the act of firing water and chemicals into shale rock, fracturing them and releasing fossil fuels. A recent study from geologists at Miami University found that last year, fracking led to a burst of more than 70 earthquakes in an area of Ohio that had previously never had an earthquake.

In other words, oil companies have graduated from being immoral agents of environmental disasters and global warming to being actual Bond villains. They have discovered the means of manmade earthquakes. That is literally what Max Zorin wanted to do in View to a Kill – create an earthquake so big that it would destroy silicon valley so he could control the microchip industry, which is today worth $249 billion. Of course, this made no sense, because he’d only be destroying the companies that create microchips, not his actual competitors, but nobody ever said Bond villains were ruled by logic and reason.

Admittedly, the fracking companies are a bit smarter – their earthquakes are just a side effect of controlling an industry worth several times what the microchip industry is worth. Exxon alone is worth $422 billion.

As absurd as manmade earthquakes are, they aren’t even the worst byproduct of fracking known thus far, since it can also lead to contaminated drinking water and the destruction of small-town economies the likes of which Walmart could only dream.

New York state has become the first state to ban fracking, but of course, if we really want to see the practice ended, we should all take steps to reduce our energy consumption. So here are a few tips for you, at home, to reduce our increasingly dangerous reliance upon fossil fuels:

Turn out lights when you leave the room.
Unplug electronics when they’re not in use.
Sell your car and buy a bike.
Don’t have children. If you already have children, hook them up to a Matrix-like energy harvesting machine.
Reject the capitalist imperative.

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca leads a team of skeptical female activists at Skepchick.org. She travels around the world delivering entertaining talks on science, atheism, feminism, and skepticism. There is currently an asteroid orbiting the sun with her name on it. You can follow her every fascinating move on Twitter or on Google+.

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2 Comments

  1. Fracking has another side: Hiring sex offenders, since the oil fields are far enough away from schools. And a lot of those oil fields are near reservations. They actually hire sex offenders before locals, for some reason.

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