Tag Archives: fracking

Fracking Ireland…here it comes.

1 Jun

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Earlier this week we heard the dreaded news that fracking is to go ahead in Ireland. Tamboran is to drill 3 test wells near Belcoo in County Fermanagh starting sometime this month.  This is in Northern Ireland which is under the jurisdiction of the UK government but I’m afraid pollution and destruction of our lands and water do not recognise political boundaries on a solid land mass. Isn’t it a sad situation that we have to fight our governments to try and protect our environment. Surely it is the job of government to protect the people it is meant to be serving rather than kow towing to the will of corporations.

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Our beautiful Ireland is to be offered up on the altar of greed and money and damn the consequences. We must try and defend her otherwise we are complicit in these acts of vandalism.

In the words of Theodore Roosevelt:

“Here is your country. Cherish those natural wonders, cherish the natural resources, cherish the history and romance as a sacred heritage, for your children and your children’s children. Do not let selfish men or greedy interests skin your country of it’s beauty, it’s riches or it’s romance.”

It seems we will soon have to try and protect our cherished land.

Water, water everywhere…for now.

26 Jul

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After a great stretch of good weather Ireland is back to it’s more usual Summer weather.  Rain showers interspersed with sunny periods. Life is back to normal…gardens are watered from the sky and all is fresh and green again. It did amuse me that after 15 days without rain a drought was declared. In a country with such high rainfall I find that odd. How come we have such low reserves of water?

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I lived the first 10 years of my life living in a house that didn’t have piped water. We had a pump in the yard which supplied all our water. Beautiful clear spring water came from the pump after a few up and downs of the handle. As children it was our job to bring water into the house in buckets.  Most of our neighbours at that time would have been the same so we saw nothing wrong with it. It did however give me a deep appreciation of water. It is something I do not waste. It is a treasure without which life on this planet could not continue.

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Listening to the radio a few days ago Duncan Stewart…eco archicect, environmentalist and broadcaster…presented a few interesting statistics about water:

Ireland imports 4.5 billion cubic metres of bottled water every year. In a land of rivers and springs I find that very strange. Think of all the plastic bottles required. Of course plastic comes from oil so that’s a huge contribution to oil consumption.

70% of Irish food is imported. This has huge implications for water consumption as a lot of food is produced in water stressed regions of the world such as the Middle East and North Africa. Israeli food crops are often produced on settled territories  using water which  rightly belongs to Palestine. An ethical dilemma we must all judge with our buying choices.

A power shower uses 150 litres of water in 5 minutes. No comparison was given with an ordinary shower but I assume the difference would be substantial.

40% of our piped water is lost through leaks in the system. Surely it would make sense to rectify that before looking to other solutions?

There was a lot more in the discussion but those were the main ones that struck me.

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Something which has struck me recently is how the rain in Ireland has changed. From mostly soft light showers it has changed to heavy, monsoon like downpours. Climate change has given us even more rain! For me the irony is what happens to this large amount of water? Of course a certain amount falls on land and bodies of water but rain that falls on buildings is usually directed into the sewerage systems. What a waste! All that lovely water from the sky is immediately contaminated in the sewers. Surely it would make sense to collect this water for use in the public supply systems?

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Two nights ago in Dublin there was torrential rain. Houses and businesses were flooded because the sewer couldn’t cope with the extra water. At present there is a plan to build a huge water reservoir in the Midlands to supply our capital city with water.  There’s also been murmurings about bringing water from the Shannon. Meanwhile untold amounts of water are flowing into the sewers. Surely it would be more cost effective to divert this water into reservoirs or other storage systems.?

We are lucky enough to have our own well supplying the house here in Lurgan. However we also collect water from the roof in a series of barrels at every corner of the house. This water is used to water the garden and polytunnel. Washing up is only done once a day. Dishes are piled neatly and all washed up in one go in the evening.  I hate to see people washing a cup under a running tap. Wasteful!

In the middle of all this water dilemna we have our government debating whether they will allow hydraulic fracking to proceed in Ireland. A process that uses millions of litres of water for every frack.  Not to mention what to do with all the resulting polluted water. Crazy!!

Water is a finite resource…all the water that will ever be is already on the planet.

“I believe water will be the defining crisis of our century, the main vehicle through which climate change will be felt…from droughts, storms, and floods to degrading water quality. We’ll see major conflicts over water; water refugees. We inhabit a water planet, and unless we protect, manage, and restore that resource, the future will be a very different place from the one we imagine today.”

Alexandra Cousteau

“Water is the driving force in nature.” Leonardo da Vinci.

“We never know the worth of water till the well runs dry.” Thomas Fuller.

Are we past the tipping point?

23 Apr

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What is the tipping point  you may well ask? The tipping point is the point at which 50% of the world’s ecosystems have been interfered with. Research published by Anthony D Bannosky et al, University of California in 2012, says that in that year the figure was 43%. So yes, with the way exploitation of the Earth has escalated it is likely that we are now beyond the 50% point.

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To me that is a rather shocking thing. What does it really mean though? Are we on the road to doom and destruction?  The Earth is a powerful living entity, not solely for the benefit of the humans being allowed to live there. It is for all the living creatures. Each have full entitlement to live peacefully and breathe clean fresh air. Perhaps even that very air is under threat. So many trees being felled on the Planet right now. Even here in Ireland the Government is debating whether or not to sell off our publicly owned forests.

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Such a crazy idea! Humans and  Trees share an important resource…oxygen. Now I know that trees aren’t the only source of oxygen on our Planet but they do create a huge amount of it. Opinions differ as to exactly how much. It’s simple….Trees breathe in carbon dioxide and breathe out oxygen. Humans breathe out carbon dioxide and breathe in oxygen. Seems pretty fatal for the human race then to be cutting Trees at a time when the Planet’s population is growing rapidly.

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Water is another resource that is being abused on our Planet. Hydraulic fracturing is seen as the saviour of our fuel shortage situation. However fracking  as well as rupturing the Earth in the search for gas uses vast amounts of water. This water is made toxic by chemicals used in the process as well as naturally occuring chemicals from the Earth. Water is not a renewable resource….All the water that will ever be is already on our Planet. Should be a no brainer that we protect and cherish it.

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However it seems that corporations are now more powerful than our governments…and to them profit is the only endgame. It is a well known truth that there are now more lobbyists than politicians in Washington. I’m sure it is similar here in Ireland now.

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So what are we to do? Are we to flow along helplessly on this tide of greed and exploitation? No!! We have the power to make a difference. We need to become passionate about our Earth. Stand up against what you believe to be wrong. No, you don’t have to go on the streets protesting. We each need to start in our own homes and gardens/farms/balconies/ growbags. Whatever we can each do may seem very little but if we all work together we can surely turn the tide. Grow what you can in whatever space you have. If you must buy everything try and buy organic, go to independent shops instead of corporation owned supermarkets. Use your money as a weapon. It’s what the corporations understand. That’s the only hurt they feel…the financial kind.  Don’t let shopping be your pastime, even here in Ireland now the shopping centres thrive at the expense of independent retailers. Let Nature be your recreation. Go to the Woods, the fields, the allottments, the parks. It’s healthier than the malls… cheaper too. We need Nature, Nature needs us. Lets get to know her…love her…defend her…before we are tipped into the abyss of no return.

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