Passing thoughts through Midland/Odessa: Trip Journal Tuesday, 26 Dec 2017

As I’m driving out to the Guadalupe Mountains I passed through the Midland/Odessa area. It was early morning when I set out and a heavy fog had been blocking my view from all angles. The sun came out and cleared it up quickly. As I drove here I passed windmills, gentle hills, and a green landscape. Here? Hundreds of oil wells constantly extracting. Dozens of fracking pipes jutting from the ground burning off their gas. Every couple hundred feet there was another one and another one and another one.

We know oil and fracking are bad for the environment. We can argue that one is better than the other, but when both create drastic changes to the landscape can we really say either is good? We have changed the landscape in the pursuit of energy so readily and so massively that the land we exploited is no longer worth protecting. It is ugly. It is scarred. It has forever been changed by the pitch black paintbrush of human exploitation. How can anyone respect this land? How can anyone appreciate this land?

The people who work on this land are doing just that. Working. Providing a livelihood for their family. When we tell them fracking is bad, when we tell them oil is polluting our planet, when we tell them the landscape has been forever changed, what do you think they hear? They don’t hear the ecological concerns or the environment woes. They hear someone who has never been in their shoes telling them how to live their lives. We are attacking their livelihood, their families, and their homes without offering real solutions.

We tell them solar and the wind is better. How does that feed their family? We tell them that their work is ruining the landscape. How can you tell someone that they are ruining their home when you yourself have never lived it? We tell them to move, change industries, or extract less. How can you demand that someone changes their entire life?

I agree that it should be stopped. I agree that we need massive change fast, but if we do not stop to acknowledge that these are people. Not fracking monsters, not planet polluters, not idiotic extractors, how can we ever hope to make a change?

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