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Frack Nowhere: US Gas Fracked At The Expense Of Communities

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On Tuesday 27th September, ethane from US fracking will arrive in Scotland for the first time. Campaigners from both continents attacked bosses at INEOS for their financial gain from the destructive shale gas extraction in Pennsylvania.

Almost 10,000 gas wells have been drilled in Pennsylvania, with a devastating effect on local communities and the environment. One of the companies supplying INEOS with ethane from the Marcellus shale, Range Resources, has been fined millions of dollars for environmental violations and is implicated in a gagging order which involves 2 children. [2]

INEOS benefitted from millions of pounds of public money in grant and loan funding to help build a storage tank for the fracked ethane at Grangemouth. The chemicals corporation also want to frack for shale gas in the central belt of Scotland and large parts of Northern England. [3]

Ron Gulla, a former resident of Hickory, Pennsylvania who signed a lease for fracking on his land in 2002 said:

“I have witnessed first hand how the fracking industry has brought permanent damage across the Pennsylvania region, polluted our air, land and water and is destroying our livelihoods. Those living near drilling, infrastructure or waste sites have suffered water contamination, spills, wastewater dumping and gas leaks, as well as multiple health impacts.

My property and life have been destroyed by this industry.

“I don’t know how the harm the fracking industry has caused can ever be corrected or how these injured places will get back their clean water. We must never lose sight of the fact that water is more important than gas.

Karen Feridun, founding member of Pennsylvanians Against Fracking said:

“The 9900 unconventional wells already in the ground in Pennsylvania represent less than a tenth of the number the industry would like to drill. The impacts to the environment, human and animal health, safety, property value, and quality of life have been profound, yet our state government has chosen to put the interests of the industry over those of the people at every turn.

“Every bad idea, from wells placed next to public schools to radioactive drilling waste being used as a road paving material to the construction of ethane crackers, gets its day in the sun. By the time the industry has finished with Pennsylvania, the state will be unrecognisable. Much of what we are losing is irreplaceable, but even that which can be replaced will be the taxpayer’s burden to bear.”

Friends of the Earth Scotland’s Head of Campaigns, Mary Church, said:

“It is completely unacceptable to attempt to prop up INEOS’s petrochemicals plants on the back of human suffering and environmental destruction across the Atlantic. The fact that Scottish public money is tied up in this project is disgraceful.

“Setting aside the devastating local impacts of fracking, the climate consequences of extracting yet more fossil fuels are utterly disastrous. If Jim Ratcliffe was really concerned about the future of the Grangemouth plant and its workers he would be planning for its transition to a low carbon model.

“We urge the Scottish Government to act swiftly to ban fracking and start planning seriously for a fair transition to a low carbon economy across all sectors. Fracking should not happen here in Scotland, or anywhere.”

Billionaire INEOS owner Jim Ratcliffe has made clear the company’s plans to become the biggest frackers in the UK. INEOS owns or has a majority stake in all onshore oil and gas licenses in the central belt of Scotland, covering an area of over 700km2, and has over 4,000km2 of license area across the whole of the UK. It was revealed recently that the company’s plans to apply for 30 fracking planning permissions in England this year have suffered a setback, with revised plans to submit 5 applications. The moratorium in Scotland prevents INEOS from fracking in its central belt licenses. The company has called the Scottish Government’s moratorium ‘absurd’. [4]

Range Resources, one of the companies supplying INEOS with ethane from fracked Marcellus shale gas has a chequered recent history. The company is implicated in gagging orders against children in Pennsylvania (2013); was pursued for a record $8.9 million fine for failing to fix a gas well that polluted groundwater and a stream in Lycoming County, Pennsylvania (2015); was fined $4.15 million for violations at six wastewater impoundments in Washington County, Pennsylvania (2014); has suggested it avoids drilling in rich neighbourhoods (2016); and is alleged to have doctored water test results (2016). [2]

Environment

Want to Connect With Nature? Start by Disconnecting From Busyness

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Connect With Nature

Have you ever found yourself staring at one of your (many) devices and feeling slightly disgusted with how much time you waste on technology? If so, you aren’t alone. We all have moments like these and it’s important that we use them as motivation to change – especially if we want to be more connected with nature.

How Busyness Impacts Your Connection With Nature

Whether you realize it or not, you live an ultra connected life. Between smart phones, tablets, computers, and wearable devices, you’re never very far from some sort of technology that can connect you to the internet or put you in touch with other people. That’s just the world we live in.

While it could be argued that this sort of omnipresent connectivity is a positive thing, it’s also pretty clear that being permanently tethered to technology impacts our ability to strip away distractions and connect with nature.

When you’re always within arm’s reach of a device, you feel a sense of busyness.  Whether it’s browsing your social media feed, uploading a picture, reading the news, or responding to an email, there’s always something to do. As someone who wants to spend more time in nature, this is problematic.

4 Practical Ways to Disconnect

If you want to truly connect with nature and live a greener lifestyle, you have to be proactive about finding ways to disconnect. Here are a few practical suggestions:

1. Switch to a New Phone Plan

It’s not always practical to totally unplug from the world. Family and work responsibilities mean you can’t go off the grid and continue to fulfill your responsibilities. Having said that, there are some ways to scale back.

One suggestion is to switch to a prepaid phone plan. When you have a prepaid phone plan, you’re far less likely to spend hours and hours of your time making phone calls, sending texts, and surfing the web. It forces you to be more conscious of what you’re doing.

2. Get Rid of Social Media

Social media is one of the biggest time wasters for most people. Whether you realize it or not, it’s also a huge stressor. You’re constantly being exposed to the best snapshots of everyone else’s lives, which makes you feel like you’re missing out on something (even when you aren’t).

If you want to feel a sense of relief and free yourself up to spend more time in nature, get rid of social media. Don’t just delete the apps off your phone – actually disable your accounts. It’s a bold, yet necessary step.

3. Create Quiet Hours

If you aren’t able to get rid of social media and disable various online accounts, the next best thing you can do is establish quiet hours each day where you totally detach from technology. You should do this for a minimum of three hours per day for best results.

4. Build Community

Do you know why we’re drawn to social media and our devices? Whether consciously or subconsciously, it’s because we all want to be connected to other people. But do you know what’s better than connecting with people online? Connecting with them in person.

As you build real life, person-to-person relationships, you’ll feel less of a need to constantly have your eyes glued to a screen. Connect with other people who have an appreciation for nature and bond over your mutual interests.

Untether Your Life

If you find yourself constantly connected to a device, then this is probably a clear indicator that you aren’t living your best life. You certainly aren’t enjoying any sort of meaningful connection with nature. Now’s as good a time as any to untether your life and explore what a world free from cords, screens, and batteries is really like.

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Environment

6 Tips for an Eco-Friendly Move

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Moving can be a stressful and challenging time. No matter how many times you’ve done it in the past, the process of packing up, transporting, and unpacking isn’t very fun. It’s also not very eco-friendly. As you prepare for your next move, there are things you can do to ensure you leave less of a footprint behind.

6 Tips for a Greener Move

Because of the stress and pressure felt when moving, it’s pretty common for people to rush through the process and focus on getting it done. In fact, a lot of people take an “at all costs” approach; they’ll do whatever it takes to make the process as cheap and fast as possible. Don’t be one of those people. It doesn’t take much effort to turn a standard move into an eco-friendly move.

1. Maximize Each Trip

When moving across town, it’s imperative that you make as few trips as possible. Each trip requires more gas, more emissions, and more waste, and more time.

If you’re taking your personal vehicle, consider pulling a trailer behind it. You’d be surprised how much stuff you can fit into a small trailer. Not only will it make your move greener, but it’ll also save you a lot of time.

2. Donate Things You Don’t Want to Keep

The longer you live somewhere, the more junk you accumulate. This isn’t always obvious until you start packing for a big move. Instead of bringing all of these things with you to your next home, get rid of the stuff you don’t need! If the items are useful, donate them. If the items don’t have much value, toss them.

3. Reuse Moving Boxes

Not only are moving boxes expensive, but they’re also wasteful. If you need a bunch of cardboard boxes, consider looking around on Craigslist, asking friends, or checking the dumpsters behind stores. You can usually find a bunch of recycled boxes of all different shapes and sizes. Here are 12 places you can get them for free.

4. Get Creative With Packing

Who says you need moving boxes? You may find that it’s possible to do most of your move without all that cardboard. Things like storage containers, trashcans, filing cabinets, buckets, and dressers can all store items. Blankets and sheets can be used in lieu of bubble wrap to prevent your items from getting damaged.

5. Use Green Cleaning Supplies

Once you arrive at your new place, resist the urge to pull out a bunch of harsh chemicals to clean the place. You can do yourself (and the planet) a favor by using green cleaning supplies instead. Ingredients like vinegar, baking soda, and ammonia are great to start with.

6. Forward Your Mail ASAP

Don’t delay in forwarding your mail from your previous address to your new one. Not only is it wasteful for the Postal Service to route your mail to a place where you don’t live, but the next owner is probably just going to toss your letters in the trash.

Moving Doesn’t Have to be Wasteful

Most people only move once every few years. Some people will go a decade or more without a move. As a result, the process of moving often feels strange and new. The less experience you have with it, the less likely it is that you’ll be as efficient as you should. But instead of just diving into the process blind, take some time to learn about what an eco-friendly move looks like. That way, you can leave behind the smallest footprint possible.

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