Dr. Anthony Ingraffea

Dr. Anthony Ingraffea is a Professor of engineering at Cornell University and a member of the Cornell Fracture Group. As an expert in the field of fracture mechanics, he travels around the U.S. to inform citizens about unconventional hydraulic fracturing, the new practice that has quickly gained momentum in states like Pennsylvania and Ohio. Dr. Ingraffea approaches his audiences factually in an effort to help landowners make smarter decisions when confronted by natural gas companies. He works to dispel myths propagated by these companies that may otherwise misinform.

Dr. Ingraffea knows the technology well and is an affable, well-versed speaker. His main points are that:

  1. Unconventional shale gas development (the new “fracking”) is a relatively recent enterprise, fewer than 15 years old, and is the result of 4 new combined technologies that did not become available until the time period of 1996-2007.
  2. The new fracking technology is still being invented and much of the research studying the process and its effects has not yet been done.
  3. This new unconventional fracturing technology takes a lot longer than conventional fracturing and results in much greater amounts of air, light, and noise pollution.
  4. The new technology has a higher risk to the environment and human health and has higher fugitive emissions of methane, which is 20x more powerful a greenhouse gas than CO2. It’s possible that the total footprint of the natural gas drilling process is not better than coal or oil’s.
  5. The cumulative effect of purposeful ground and air releases that occur in the fracking process are still unknown.
  6. The industry does not have complete control of the technology; they rely on imperfect models.
  7. Natural gas cannot solve our energy crisis– it’s nowhere near production levels to drastically decrease the US’ current dependence on foreign oil.

Just from watching even one of Dr. Ingraffea’s community lectures, I learned a lot. What impresses me most about Dr. Ingraffea is that he’s aware that it is ultimately the landowner’s decision whether or not they want unconventional fracing done on their property and he tries to empower them in the process.  He attempts to leave his opinion out of his lectures until it’s asked, and leave the “Is it worth it?” question largely up to the citizen. He believes that “forewarned is forearmed” and wants listeners to be aware of the risks involved, such as the probability that 1 in 20 wells will leak immediately (which is a great number when you consider the 400,000 wells drillers have planned). He really tries to encourage a thorough understanding in the average American of this new phenomenon that may otherwise seem confusing and unclear. In the process, I think he probably causes a lot of people (even initial skeptics) to reach much more environmentally sound conclusions!

To listen to Dr. Ingraffea yourself, here is his presentation “The Facts on Fracking”, Luzerne County, 2010:

Categories: Dr. Anthony Ingraffea, New York | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Beth Shea

Beth Shea is a “green” mom and blogger and founder of the website Petite Planet. Formerly a beauty writer, she changed gears after discovering the myriad of toxins prevalent in the items she was featuring. Worried about the toxins’ harmful effects on her pregnancy and health, she resolved to make her home and daughter’s life as pure and chemical-free as possible. She started writing Petite Planet so that other parents could benefit from everything she learned along the way, believing that every “baby step” counts.

Beth’s top tips for moms to green the home are:

  1. Keep chemicals out of your baby’s feeding routine and out of your household cleaning regimen (breastfeed or use BPA-free baby bottles with silicone nipples and organic formula; use non-toxic utensils and dinnerware; and use all-natural cleaners or chemical-free, non-toxic cleaners such as Seventh Generation).
  2. Use cloth diapers and reusable baby wipes (such as gDiapers, which contain flushable inserts).
  3. Buy wooden, non-toxic, handmade toys instead of plastic ones.
  4. Use chemical-free bath products, bath tubs and bath toys (phthalate-free, BPA-free, and PVC-free).
  5. Remove your shoes at the door to avoid bringing in pesticides, lead dust and pollutants.

Beth has also taken on other changes in her household to attain more eco-friendly, healthy living, such as eating organic, locally-grown, non-GMO foods, limiting meat intake, recycling, walking instead of driving, using reusable bags, and limiting her family’s consumerism. She says that:

“from the moment I got pregnant, I had an awakening that it is every individual’s responsibility to tread lightly on this planet so future generations may inherit a better tomorrow. I think green design should become the rule as opposed to the exception.”

She believes that eventually, living “green” will become the norm, but until that point, she is happy to continue educating and helping families make changes to their lifestyles. Beth is confident that “all the little things we do add up to make a huge difference in improving health on an individual and global level, and that we’re all capable of taking baby steps to go green!

Categories: Beth Shea, Oregon | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

One World One Ocean

Our actions toward the ocean in the next 10 years will define the next 10,000.
-Sylvia Earle, oceanographer

When documentary filmmaker Greg MacGillivray heard Sylvia Earle utter that warning, he decided he must use his skills in whatever way he could to help the ocean. So in 2007, he and his wife formed the One World One Ocean Foundation, with the mission to use storytelling and great filmmaking to connect people to ocean preservation. The MacGillivrays are using film, television, and educational campaigns to reach a wide audience and influence the public to:

  1. Buy sustainable seafood
  2. Reduce plastic pollution
  3. Expand the ocean’s protected areas to 10%

The MacGillivrays believe that great storytelling has the power to change the world and that all great movements start from the bottom up, so they hope that showing people new, exciting views of the ocean will encourage them to get active. Many people aren’t aware of facts like:

  • The oceans are responsible for 50-70% of the oxygen we breathe
  • 90% of the oceans’ big fish are gone from overfishing and the remaining big fish are half as large
  • Massive floating plastic material is collecting in 5 places around the world, getting into marine life (causing illness and death) and entering our diets when we eat seafood
  • There are 405 dead zones in the oceans, where life cannot exist

As One World One Ocean says,

The ocean is our life support. It generates most of the oxygen we breathe. It regulates our climate. It provides us with food. It is the largest, most diverse reservoir of natural resources on the planet. Simply put, it is our lifeline.

Over the next 20 years, we can expect One World One Ocean to visit all 5 oceans and create: 3 IMAX movies, 1 feature film, 8 TV specials and 1,000 online videos (quite a commitment)! I am hoping, however, that their work will inspire the necessary change before they’re even halfway there. So, let’s ALL check out their website and start learning! We can (& should) all be a part of keeping our oceans healthy. After all, truly, everyone, everywhere depends on a healthy sea.

Categories: California, One World One Ocean | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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