06/01/2011 01:35 pm ET | Updated Aug 01, 2011

All the Gas in Texas

Flying from El Paso to Atlanta, the ground below appears to be covered with a patchwork quilt of white squares with white connecting lines between them. Thousands upon thousands, continuing endlessly into infinity. All gas drilling pads. And why should I care what they do in Texas? The land of the Alamo and George Bush has always bordered on the irrational. The modern consumer world is predicated on disconnection -- the absence of knowledge about the origins of the things we enjoy. If those Texans want to waste the small amount of water they have on gas drilling, pumping up the profits of the carbon conglomerate, what business is it of mine? If they drank the kool-aid and swallowed the inane propaganda of the gas industry which claims that gas drilling is all about "jobs, and America's energy security," who am I to complain?

The misinformation being spread about natural gas boggles the imagination, and falls apart immediately upon examination. To wit: "it's clean fuel which we need to replace our dirty old energy sources." In actual fact, the tremendous amount of methane released during the capture and transport processes makes gas almost as large a climate change problem as coal. As the process is highly mechanized, few jobs are created, and the wells are actually productive for only a short time, so there must be constant drilling of replacements. The specious claims about the safety of the process are starting to crumble as well, with contaminated water supplies and waste pits of radioactive and chemical residues left in the open (exempt from clean air and water rules). And those dreams of saving the farm with the proceeds from drilling leases seem wishful when suddenly the bank will no longer lend on land with leases. The "decades of energy security" claim seems a joke when the facts are tabulated; how secure is no water and no farmland?

But the largest problem is the diversion of our attention and resources from the real solution: conversion to a non-carbon based economy, which either happens now, or in a few years after we have poisoned the water and the land with fracking.