By Anya Sherriff-Norton
Every year thousands of oil spills occur in the US alone. The wildlife is greatly affected by the spills which cause damage to their habitat. According to the Office Response and Respiration (a government organization), “even relatively small oil spills can cause major environmental and economic harm”(ORR). On April 20 2010 the largest US oil spill in history occurred. I was 6 at the time and do not remember it well however growing up I would hear of disastrous effects of different oil spills. The effects of some of the worst lasted years (or at least felt like years to a young me).
Fracking, one of the main ways to extract oil from the earth, spills 16% of the oil harvested. It can be linked to causing minor earthquakes. Oil spills can be contained and fracking is considered necessary to get resources and economic profit by many. Yet the US government has banned it in state parks, many environmentalists push to end fracking and it can cost us to pay for “health care…workplace absenteeism, and reduced productivity” (Environment America). Towns of people who rely on fracking for jobs are in favor of it however the support is based on a need for work. However in actuality fracking is not the economically beneficial option.
Fracking negatively impacts everyone except for natural gas corporations and harms the economy and environment. It would benefit the general population to stop fracking and help nature thrive.
To begin with, the economy can be harmed by fracking as it is costly to clean up oil spills and is both more expensive and more dangerous than renewable energy. While those who rely on it for a job may argue it is beneficial, those nearby are actually found to be more likely to get sick. A study published in Environmental Health Perspectives found that people who live near fracking sites have more health problems than those who don’t. Water can become contaminated easily and citizens can gain respiratory problems. The biggest push to me is the horrific effects on the environment that this has. Without oil spills it is already an invasive process that disrupts wildlife and uses up water to work. It only gets worse when oil does get spilled and can lead to the death of thousands of living beings, hazardous clean up conditions, and long lasting problems. The images of ducks, turtles, etc slowly dying from suffocation because of oil are terrifying and appalling. Endangered species can be killed and your favorite animal has probably suffered losses to its species due to oil spills and fracking.
The amount of times I have seen a news report of an oil spill where the animals are trapped in the water and try to surface but can’t because of a coating of oil astounds me. In Free Willy 2, a popular movie, Willy has to swim under burning oil that caused a massive fire on the water. I saw this movie as a child and without knowing of the worldwide consequences felt immense sadness. How can someone do that? How can they take such a drastic risk to get energy that is not sustainable? It baffles me. Anyone with empathy should be ashamed of such a terrible thing. Sadly the leaders of oil companies continue forward in order to profit no matter the costs. But are the companies wrong?
It is true we need resources to propel our country. Yet renewable resources are drastically better. Solar power can be used to create electricity and can power everything from cars to lights.Estimated savings for solar would be 13,000 dollars after just 20 years and with 21,250 square miles are all that is needed to power the entire United States of America (Freeing Energy). Wind power has been developing, can easily be harnessed and even put out on the ocean. Hydroelectric power can be gathered from any flowing water. It is even possible to use waves to gather energy. In the long run these will be cheaper for the individual and provide a resource that can be reused. Dams can become tourist attractions and bring in revenue for the county while creating a safer energy source. To sustain our ecosystem we must work together to replace fracking, and other nonrenewable resources with environmentally friendly alternatives.