What the frack is going on?

I don’t tend towards exageration however I have to say that we are on the edge of environmental disaster here in the North West of Ireland. We are about to allow a few large shale gas mining corporations, using hydraulic fracturing drilling methods, to waltz in here and destroy our watertables, our aquifers – in fact we have given them licence to do just that, we have given them a licence to frack our local environment.

I know that we have been asleep, these licences were given some time ago and most of us never noticed. I know now that in many parts of the world ordinary people have had their lives disrupted, their farms destroyed, their livestock sickened and their own health damaged by shale gas extraction in their areas.

Rivers, streams, ponds and lakes have been damaged so that fish and other aquatic wildlife die. Watertables are damaged so that drinking water wells are now unusable, people are having to buy bottled water in order to cook, wash, water their vegetables, water their livestock etc. In some areas the tap water has become inflammeable – you can light it on fire!

The threat to our environment is overwhelming in scale and I am having great difficulty in coping with this new element in my life. In the past I was a very angry teenager and young woman, in my twenties and early thrities I was able channel that anger through involvement in certain environmental and community activism. To be an activist I found that the anger I felt was put to good use, it was useful to be angry, it gave me the energy to be commited in campaign work, it helped me to feel motivated and I was passionate about the issues in which I was involved.

Everything changed in my mid-thirties, my life was thrown upside down and I began to work on myself, I began to heal the anger. It was a long and hard journey at first and as anyone who has been on a recovery or healing path knows – nothing remains the same, the pain eased and the anger became explained, I could see why it was there and I could work on not needing or feeding it anymore. I am still on that path, I still work hard at being emtionally healthy, having healthy relationships with myself and others.

Now I have a life partner and we are making a home for ourselves in a beautiful unspoilt part of rural Ireland. We are building our home using our own hands and constantly learning new skills along the way, both life-skills and building skills. I am fortunate in having soul sisters (the word friends doesn’t quite cut it), with whom I have very good relationships and we support each other in very honest and gentle ways- that took hard work too. I have a life that I never dreamt possible, it’s a simple life, it’s not easy, we have very little money and face many challenges and I would not change it for all the money in the world.

It has changed now.

These changes are outside my control – as life is. I need to find a way to challenge what is happening to our environment without loosing myself. I don’t want to go back to living with anger in every cell in my body, I have to find a way to live with what is happening and how I feel about it without becoming lost in it.

I have a lot of work to do…

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  1. I struggle with this injustice as well. It seems that one must be perpetually charged up, as it were, to protect this lovely old world of ours. It’s very much the forces of good and evil. And yet, this “charging up” makes me ill, makes me die, too. Where is the balance?

  2. I know just how you feel. I live on the Gulf Coast of Southwest Florida in the United States. About this time last year, lives were lost and millions of barrels of oil per day were being pumped into the Gulf due to corporate greed and inadequate safety practices. It’s sad and disheartening, and then it puts a fire under us to do something about it. My best to you in the quest to find the balance, find the peace.


  3. My heart goes out to you and I would love to hear more about this. Has there been much coverage in the media? How close is all this to your lovely world that you have made there? Keep telling us. x Ca

  4. My thanks to Suzan, Erin and Caitriona for your lovely responses, straight from the heart.

    Yes, the area in question is quite near, the maps available for viewing are not very good so it’s hard to tell how close. There are plans for mining all along the western seaboard so many parts of the country are in danger.

    However a major concern is that the source of the river Shannon is in this area and so it is possible for serious water contamination to spread far and wide.

    I am sure this is something which I will come back to again…

  5. I really hope your wrong, but with the way previous governments – of all shades – in Ireland have rolled over for big oil and gas multi nationals, in particular with IMF/EU pressure to commercialise natural resources I am afraid that you are right.

    Frac drilling is the worst of all in terms of damage, leaving tons of toxic sludge behing it

    1. Hi Simon, thanks for taking the time to comment and yes, with our typical govt history it doesn’t bode well for a happy healthy environment.

      Your latest blog post on water security makes sobering reading – thanks for putting all that info together. The potential for disaster in this country with the possibility of privatising water supply is horrendous.

      I had just been reading this week about the almost unimaginable practice of charging people to collect rainwater in the States – I can feel our politicians rubbing their hands together in glee…

  6. This sounds absolutely horrid, and I see your challenge of trying to fight a battle without anger. Is it possible? Maybe righteous anger is not such a bad thing to feel, and maybe the body even craves the expression of it when unjust things happen to nature, of which we are so obviously (except to some) a part. I wonder if there might not be a different source for this kind of anger (i.e., in defense of the natural world), a different “well,” so to speak, as opposed to the well of anger that we draw from that leads to only a kind of spinning of our emotional wheels over more personal injustices.

    I had not heard about this criminal intent to privatize the water supply.Good Lord! Now I’m furious. And the rainwater collection–can you point me to a link about that?

    1. Hi Andrea, so glad you dropped by. I don’t think that it is possible to fight a battle against something like fracking without anger, what I need to find is the balance so that I don’t become consumed by the anger as I did in my youth. I seem to be doing ok so far, the battle is young yet.
      Yes, I agree with you about anger that is justified, that is in defence of nature, I think it does come from a different well.
      This is a link to an article that explains the different approaches to rain water harvesting in the USA, I can’t remember the original article that I was referring to earlier however this one is quite good – http://www.martenlaw.com/newsletter/20080723-rainwater-harvesting

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