Here it comes. I’m ready to give those scum-pumping, dirty-dealing, money-grubbing frackers what’s coming to them. I’ve been reading about what they do.
Don’t they know that I have a family to care for with the well water on my property? What do they expect me to do when I can no longer pump clean clear water into my home?
I like all that water. I like it cold. I like it hot. I like to drink it and cook with it and soak in it. I especially love to clean with it. I love clean dishes and clean laundry and clean floors and clean kids.
So what I do, for these various jobs, is mix some chemical or cleaner or soap or detergent or ‘wash’ or ‘cleanser’ with lots of clean water, warm or hot. Then, I use it liberally to either dump on dirty stuff or dump dirty stuff in it and when all the stuff I care about is clean, I release the nastiness back into the earth. And then I laugh maniacally at the power I have to corrupt and degrade the innocent environment. And they want to take that away from me!
No! I don’t laugh.
It’s more likely that I fall asleep, not from all that work, but because of my moral exhaustion. I’m deeply conflicted about how I misuse my power (however limited it feels.) But, the truth is, I don’t face the conflict. I’m in denial about how much I have and how poorly I use it. I don’t fight the status quo. I don’t challenge the rules that I know are sloppy and permissive and not rigorous enough. I really don’t want to. But that is precisely what I want from the fracking companies. I want them to raise the bar on the standards they follow. I want them to close the loopholes they sneak through. I want them to do their business safely and cleanly or not at all. Then I could go on sleeping. That would be nice.
But I have not earned a peaceful sleep. Nor have I earned the right to throw stones at the fat cats. I am not blameless. The only difference between us is the relative power. I represent one household, one property, one well. They represent much more. But are they any more evil than I am? Am I misinterpreting their ambivalence as something more intentionally sinister and destructive? Are they, like me, just abiding by standards that are not good enough for our planet or me or you?
I set out thinking I was against the big bad guys and it was time to stand up and fight for my rights. And I will. But not before I bow down and submit to my own conscience. Now please excuse me while I look up recipes for homemade laundry soap.
Karen Smith is on a quest for personal truth and boundless consciousness. She’s feels lucky to live with her family in Truemanville. Her column will appear bi-weekly in the Amherst News.