A rapidly growing list of business and environmental leaders, non-profits and entertainers are joining forces to fight against hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” in Colorado. On Oct. 23, at Civic Park on Capitol Hill in Denver, a coalition called Frack Free Colorado will draw attention to the dangers of fracking and call for a concrete plan to move the state of Colorado away from natural gas and other dirty extractive industries and toward a renewable energy economy.
“As Coloradans, we feel that it’s imperative to assess the environmental and health impacts of the fracking process,” says Allison Wolff, CEO of Vibrant Planet and co-organizer of Frack Free Colorado. “The collective goal of everyone involved in Frack Free Colorado is to open up a dialogue regarding the effects of fracking on our communities, families and environment. We want to educate the public on the dangers of this process and discuss clean energy alternatives.”
Fracking is a technique used to extract gas and oil from rocks that are 2,000 to 10,000 feet below the earth’s surface. Deep wells are drilled through the aquifer to reach shale rock formations and then millions of gallons of chemicals, sand and water are injected at high pressure into the soft, sedimentary rock, breaking it apart and releasing stores of methane and oil. The natural gas industry enjoys special exemption from the Safe Drinking Water Act, Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act and the National Environmental Policy Act for this dangerous fracking process. A single fracked well requires an access road, 2-8 million gallons of fresh water, between 10,000 and 40,000 gallons of chemicals—many of them known carcinogens and endocrine disrupters—and at least 1,000 diesel truck trips. There are more than 45,000 fracked wells in Colorado, with plans to triple that number in the next decade. The enduring effects of fracking are unknown.
The Frack Free Colorado event on Oct. 23, is modeled after the successful New York event Songs Against Drilling earlier this year blending education with entertainment as celebrities and experts take the stage to voice their concerns about fracking and celebrate our opportunity to move to renewable energy today. Celebrities in attendance will include Daryl Hannah, Mariel Hemmingway and Leilani Munter (car racing’s Carbon Free Girl). Jakob Dylan and Rami Jaffee of The Wallflowers and Colorado band, Elephant Revival will perform along with other to be announced musicians. Fracking experts like acclaimed ecologist and author Sandra Steingraber and Sam Schabacker from Food & Water Watch will help educate the public about fracking.
“The natural gas industry, which has been mistakenly touted as a clean energy provider, is polluting our rivers, aquifers, wildlife and citizens,” explains Tara Sheahan, founder of Conscious Global Leadership. “In addtion, oil and gas companies estimate that they will use approximately 6.5 billion gallons of water in Colorado this year. Our state does not have enough water to support this growing industry. Frack Free Colorado’s goal is to help people take action to lessen their dependence on natural gas and move everything from their consumer spending to investments to businesses that support a sustainable future—we need to start living like First Nation people who view the earth as a relative versus a resource to exploit. Post event, we are organizing a number of meetings with leaders across government, business and nonprofit sectors to design a plan for speeding Colorado’s economy toward one based on renewable energy and sustainable food systems.”
Yvon Chouinard, the founder of Patagonia, explains, “clean water is the most important element on the planet. According to environmental futurists such as Lester Brown, we will run out of water well before we run out of oil or topsoil. Hydraulic fracturing is a process that further accelerates the decline of our clean water supplies.”
Visit EcoWatch’s FRACKING page for more related news on this topic.
Frack Free Colorado is sponsored by Patagonia, Prana, Black Diamond, New Belgium Brewing Company, Backpacker’s Pantry, Vibrant Planet, Conscious Global Leadership, The Invisible Spark, 1% for the Planet and Backbone Media. The event’s co-organizers include actor Mark Ruffalo’s Water Defense, Food & Water Watch, Clean Water Action, CREDO, Sierra Club, etown, Fractivist, Rock the Earth, East Boulder County United, Wilderness Workshop, Erie Rising, The Mothers Project, Adams County Unite Now, Boulder County Citizens for Community Rights, Our Health Our Future Our Longmont What the Frack?! Arapahoe and Earth Guardians.
A "trash tsunami" has washed ashore on the beaches of Honduras, endangering both wildlife and the local economy.
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More long-finned pilot whales were found stranded today on beaches in Tasmania, Australia. About 500 whales have become stranded, including at least 380 that have died, the AP reported. It is the largest mass stranding in Australia's recorded history.
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By Harry Kretchmer
By 2030, almost a third of all the energy consumed in the European Union must come from renewable sources, according to binding targets agreed in 2018. Sweden is helping lead the way.
Sweden is a world leader in renewable energy consumption. Swedish Institute/World Bank
Naturally Warm<p>54% of Sweden's power comes from renewables, and is helped by its geography. With plenty of moving water and 63% forest cover, it's no surprise the <a href="https://sweden.se/nature/energy-use-in-sweden/#" target="_blank">two largest renewable power sources</a> are hydropower and biomass. And that biomass is helping support a local energy boom.</p><p>Heating is a key use of energy in a cold country like Sweden. In recent decades, as fuel oil taxes have increased, the country's power companies have turned to renewables, like biomass, to fuel local 'district heating' plants.</p><p>In Sweden these trace their <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360544217304140#fig3" target="_blank">origins back to 1948</a>, when a power station's excess heat was first used to heat nearby buildings: steam is <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/engineering/district-heating-system" target="_blank">forced along a network of pipes</a> to wherever it's needed. Today, there are around 500 district heating systems across the country, from major cities to small villages, providing heat to homes and businesses.</p><p>District heating used to be fueled mainly from the <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360544217304140" target="_blank">by-products of power plants</a>, waste-to-energy plants and industrial processes. These days, however, Sweden is bringing more renewable sources into the mix. And as a result of competition, this localized form of power is now the country's<a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360544217304140#fig3" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"> home-heating market leader.</a></p>
Sweden is using smart grids to turn buildings into energy producers. Huang et al/Elsevier
Energy ‘Prosumers’<p>But Sweden doesn't stop at village-level heating solutions. Its new breed of energy-generation takes hyper-local to the next level.</p><p>One example is in the city of Ludivika where 1970s flats <a href="https://www.buildup.eu/sites/default/files/content/transforming-a-residential-building-cluster-into-electricity-prosumers-in-sweden.pdf" target="_blank">have recently been retrofitted with the latest smart energy technology</a>.</p><p>48 family apartments spread across 3 buildings have been given photovoltaic solar panels, thermal energy storage and heat pump systems. A micro energy grid connects it all, and helps charge electric cars overnight.</p><p>The result is a cluster of 'prosumer' buildings, producing rather than consuming enough power for 77% of residents' needs. With <a href="http://www.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:1232060/FULLTEXT01.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">high levels of smart meter usage</a>, it's a model that looks set to spread across Sweden.</p>
<div id="d7bf9" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="8757b138d5570bec9d6aad18074a429a"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1273556364263071744" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">Read more about Western Harbour and book a visit: https://t.co/ujSmVs9rNK 🏡🌳🌊 https://t.co/C5PuPziqIM</div> — Smart City Sweden (@Smart City Sweden)<a href="https://twitter.com/SmartCitySweden/statuses/1273556364263071744">1592474473.0</a></blockquote></div>
Scaling Up<p>A recent development by E.ON in Hyllie, a district on the outskirts of Malmö, southern Sweden, <a href="https://www.eonenergy.com/blog/2019/February/sweden-smart-city" target="_blank">has scaled up the smart grid principle</a>. Energy generation comes from local wind, solar, biomass and waste sources.</p><p>Smart grids then balance the power, react to the weather, deploying extra power when it's colder or putting excess into battery storage when it's warm. The system is not only more efficient, but bills have fallen.</p><p>Smart energy developments like those in Hyllie, Ludivika, and renewable-driven district heating, offer a radical alternative to the centralized energy systems many countries rely on today.</p><p>The EU's leaders have a challenge: how to generate 32% of energy from renewables by 2030. Sweden offers a vision of how technology and local solutions can turn a goal into a reality.</p>
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By Jessica Corbett
In another win for climate campaigners, leaders of 12 major cities around the world — collectively home to about 36 million people — committed Tuesday to divesting from fossil fuel companies and investing in a green, just recovery from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
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