Story telling from Australia
Warning. This is a rant.
I live in Australia but I regularly log onto the BBC website to check the news. Today’s was alarming.
The UK government has announced that half the country is now open to exploration for the highly controversial process of fracking. They’re inviting bids, offering tax breaks and financial incentives, and enticing communities to participate in return for a percentage of the profits.
Cleaner than coal, they shout! Cheaper too! Come join the party!
Absolute bloody madness, in my humble opinion, and as controversial in England as it’s proving to be in Australia.
Fracking involves mixing water, chemicals and sand then blasting the mix deep underground at intense pressure, in order to shatter the rock and extract the shale gas.
I’m not a scientist, I’m not even a researcher so I’m hazy on the exact details, and maybe my reaction is over emotional but dammit every instinct in my body tells me this is WRONG. What about the long-term environmental impacts? What if those chemicals find their way into rivers and lakes or out into the ocean, what then? Oops, sorry? What about the risk of earthquakes? What numbskull short sighted policy-makers have decided that pumping yet more chemicals into our environment is a better option than investing in renewable energy??
Ah yes, of course. It’s cheaper.
There were earth tremors in Blackpool in 2011 and the energy firm Cuadrilla was forced to admit that it was “highly probable” their tests had been the cause. This wasn’t actual fracking mind, this was just test drilling. “Unlikely to occur again,” the company said. Unlikely??
Here’s what I think. I think we already pump far too many chemicals into the environment and we slap way too many chemicals onto our bodies. That complex mix can’t be good for us. Nano particles in sunscreen, which were thought to be safe, have been found to interact with common surfactants found in shampoo and detergent, making them potentially unsafe.
And what’s behind the dwindling bee population? Common pesticides. Studies now suggest birds are suffering too. The incidence of cancer is rising all the time yet we continue to flood our homes, drench our environment and spray our bodies with chemicals.
My pet hate is fragrance. Any product with a chemical fragrance gives me a runny nose, painful eyes, fizzy tongue, headache and, if I’m exposed for too long, heart palpitations. I dug around to find out why and discovered that the word ‘fragrance’ in any product – be that shampoo, washing powder, floor cleaner, fabric softener or those hideous plug in air fresheners – can be a cover for hundreds of chemical ingredients that go into making it.
‘Fragrance’ can contain a derivative of benzene, yep, you heard right, benzene, which is known to be carcinogenic or it might contain ethylene oxide, another ingredient proven to increase the risk of cancer in humans. And all the manufacturer has to say is ‘contains fragrance.’
I started this rant about fracking and ended up writing about fragrance; both set me off because of their chemical content.
In a perverse way I’m glad I get such a strong reaction to chemical fragrance; it forces me to steer clear of all chemicals. I stick to essential oils now, and I read product labels very, very carefully.
The articles below are for anyone who wants to find out more. I’ll shut up now.