Who should bend?

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We’ve been drilling and mining for fossil fuel in the United States for over 150 years. Now, we’re facing environmental catastrophe at the same time petroleum sources wane and demand increases. There are those who lobby for an increased use of more abundant natural gas, which almost certainly means more hydraulic fracturing (fracking) and more polluted groundwater, all to extract a fossil fuel that is, like oil, eventually finite.

Considering that fracking, the use of which to extract natural gas has increased from 1 to 20 percent between 2000 and 2010, produces serious environmental hazards, we wonder, as many do, why natural gas is being touted as a “clean” energy source. But there’s something else we wonder about even more:

Why, when it clearly doesn’t work in the long term, do we continue to try to bend the earth’s resources to meet our needs? Since we need the planet much more than it needs us, shouldn’t we be stretching ourselves as much and as quickly as possible to create energy that is infinitely renewable? The sun, the wind, subterranean heat, the tides — whether or not we decide, finally, to harness their power, they will continue to exist. This is truly clean tech. And this is where we should be placing our time, or efforts, our ingenuity, and our money.

As long as we keep attempting to bend the earth to our will, we’ll continue to head in the direction of our own extinction. The good news is that we have a choice. Instead of exhausting our resources, we can refocus on extending our options through conservation and innovation. We can learn to bend to accommodate nature. And we must.

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