Sunday, March 30, 2014

Historical justice, brought up-to-date

A big topic of conversation today (well, it’s a big topic among the people I talk to, anyway…) is that of climate justice. Roughly speaking, this means the need to take into account that some countries have a historical responsibility for the large amounts of pollution they have created, while other countries need help dealing with the effects of that pollution, and with ensuring that they do not create an equally large amount of pollution. Thus, the historically responsible countries should help the other countries. Simple, when you put it like that, but it’s actually quite complex to arrange in practice.
It does bring to mind another similar, but much older, issue that has also been in the news recently – that of reparations for slavery. The effects of the slave trade between Africa and North America and the Caribbean are still being felt sharply even today, 150 years after the American Civil War ended slavery on that continent (and even longer since it was ended in much of the rest of the world). We see the relative poverty and discrimination against black people in the US; the resource based economies of the Caribbean that keep them poor; and the conflicts and troubles of places in West Africa where slaves were taken from.
Whenever these issues are brought up, western nations tend to try and bury their heads in the sand and ignore the people asking the questions. They are scared that if they admit any wrongdoing in the slave trade, they will be expected to pay billions of dollars in compensation and reparations for the damage they did over the centuries. And although we might say that maybe they should pay that money, they rightfully point out that handing over huge amounts of money to governments in countries that have conflict and corruption problems may not be the wisest solution – unless we want to help boost the balances of a few secret Swiss bank accounts.
However, a recently announced plan by the heads of various Caribbean states provides a much better way of looking at the reparations issue. Rather than directly asking for money, they are asking for European nations to help with medical treatment and education on the islands, and to help forge cultural and political links between the Caribbean and the West African nations that most of their citizens originally came from. This could help these countries become less reliant on western money, rather than more so – as an educated, healthy population with strong trading links with others countries would be much more able to fend for itself.
Hopefully, this plan will prove more amenable than demands for monetary reparations have proven to be in the past, and the European states will help it to get off the ground. It could provide some excellent opportunities for communities that have been oppressed and exploited throughout history, but it could also provide a good example for how we can approach climate justice in the future. Rather than obsessing about money and figures, we can instead focus on working together to provide the skills and resources necessary for poorer communities to survive climate change – whether that be the ability to make their own solar panels or hydroelectricity, or to build houses in ways that will resist sea level changes, or anything else. This will take a lot of coordination, and, yes, will cost some money – but if we can manage to agree to do this kind of thing over the incredibly divisive topic of slavery, then we should be able to manage it when it comes to environmental issues that affect us all.

American Civil War, ana shell media, ana shell media press, Caribbean states, climate justice, conflicts in West Africa, corruption problems, demands for monetary reparations, discrimination against black people, effects of slave trade, environmental issues, European nations, healthy population, historical justice, historical responsibility, historically responsible countries, hydroelectricity, medical treatment, pollution effects, poorer communities, relative poverty, reliant on western money, reparations for slavery, reparations issue, resist sea level changes, resource based economies, secret Swiss bank accounts, slave trade, solar panels, strong trading links, survive climate change, western nations

Tuesday, March 25, 2014


在我写下这篇文章的同时,正好看到了来自英国西米德兰兹郡(West Midlands)的新闻,它报道了在过去两天里开展的一场重要又神秘低调的审判。去年,在两年一度的防卫与安全设备国际展(DSEI)武器贸易举办过程中,五名活动家封锁了伦敦艾克赛尔-多克兰展览中心(Excel Docklands)的主入口。这些活动家均为基督徒(其中包括一名部长),他们从始至终均未采取任何暴力活动,只是跪地祈祷唱圣歌。与此同时,数百家公司正在DSEI上向许多翘首以待的政府代表竞相出售武器、炸药、装甲车等。双方的差别再明显不过了,在这场非暴力和国家的特殊战斗中,活动家处于不利的位置——他们被捕之后被控犯有加重侵犯的罪行。

如今,在斯坦福德(Stafford)治安法庭上法官宣布他们无罪。诚然,让他们重获自由似乎是基于法律依据的决定——警方要求其离开的指示不够清楚或详细,因此,不能期望他们能完全遵守——但是,我们仍然能勉强将其称之为胜利。活动家们被允许在法庭上就其战术的合法性进行说明,而警察——一如既往地——看起来不是奸诈,就是愚蠢。 NRG Lab Ana Shell Fund 为这五位冒着最高将被监禁三个月的风险、勇敢地站出来表达自己观点的活动家鼓掌叫好。

但是,在这场审判中真正凸显的其实是在所谓自由共正的英国等国,所采取的双重标准和司法的虚伪。其中一名被告的论点紧密围绕着2013 DSEI期间一件有趣的会外事件。在那次展会中,法国麦格霍斯国际(Magforce International)和中国天津麦威(Tianjin Myway)因促销电击弹、眩晕警棍、加重脚链而触犯了英国法律的规定,进而被逐出了大会。但是,仅在绿党成员卡洛琳·卢卡斯(Caroline Lucas)在英国议会中就上述公司在展销会上销售此类武器的传闻提出质疑之后,DESI方才采取行动。



从英文版翻而来。原文于 225,

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Masa Depan Bahan Bakar Fosil

Beberapa tahun yang lalu teknologi pengumpulan dan penyimpanan karbon (carbon capture and storage – CCS) menjadi salah satu harapan baru dari industri pengumpulan bahan bakar fosil. Tujuannya secara sederhana dapat dipahami dari nama teknologi ini, yaitu mengumpulkan karbon yang dilepaskan oleh pabrik-pabrik penghasil polusi dan menyimpannya di dalam bebatuan di bawah tanah. Meski menjadi pusat perbincangan pada konferensi perubahan iklim di Kopenhagen pada tahun 2009, kepopuleran CCS telah menurun selama  beberapa tahun. Hal ini diakibatkan oleh kesibukan dunia untuk mencari energi yang dapat diperbarui sebagai pengganti bahan bakar fosil. Apalagi belakangan dunia juga terobsesi dengan jenis baru dari bahan bakar fosil yang lebih sulit diekstrak seperti, bitumen dan gas alam dari proses rekah hidrolik (fracking). Namun, sepertinya CCS akan kembali diperbincangkan. Sebuah laporan di The Guardian baru-baru ini menyatakan bahwa industri CCS di Inggris saja diperkirakan bernilai sekitar 35 milyar poundsterling pada tahun 2030. Bayangkan nilainya di negara seperti Amerika Serikat, China, dan negara-negara lain dengan tingkat emisi yang terus berkembang seperti Jerman, Jepang, Kanada, dan Australia.

Awalnya, CCS memang terlihat seperti ide yang bagus. Penalarannya, jika teknologi untuk mengumpulkan dan menyimpan emisi di tempat yang aman dan jauh dari atmosfer bumi yang telah rusak karena emisi karbon memang ada, mengapa tidak? Apalagi dunia tidak mungkin serta merta beralih dari perekonomian yang bergantung pada bahan bakar fosil ke sumber energi terbarukan, karena itulah untuk sementara waktu kita harus melakukan sesuatu, bukan? Sayangnya, ada beberapa masalah dengan solusi ini, baik dari sisi praktis maupun teoritis. Pertama dari sisi praktis. CCS sebenarnya hanya mengubur emisi sehingga tidak tampak,  namun sesungguhnya tidak menghilangkan emisi tersebut. Jika ada bencana alam seperti gempa bumi atau penggalian dilakukan di lokasi, hal ini bisa mengakibatkan emisi yang telah dikubur tadi secara tidak sengaja terlepas lagi ke atmosfer dan manfaat awal yang dihasilkan CCS menjadi sia-sia.

Namun sesungguhnya problem terbesarnya adalah secara teoritis. CCS memberi kita pola pikir yang salah dalam menangani masalah di abad yang akan datang. CCS tidak akan menjadi solusi sementara saat dunia berupaya beralih dari perekonomian yang bergantung pada bahan bakar fosil ke energi terbarukan. Sebaliknya CCS seolah menjadi batu loncatan untuk menutupi keengganan sistem yang ada untuk beralih ke energi terbarukan. Saat emisi karbon terkubur di bawah tanah, para politisi akan mengaku telah menyelesaikan masalah dan tak lagi berupaya untuk menemukan teknologi baru yang lebih efisien dan terbarukan. Suatu kondisi yang amat menguntungkan bagi sumber dana para politikus yang merupakan pemain di industri bahan bakar fosil.

Industri bahan bakar fosil akan terus diistimewakan sementara isu-isu menyangkut pengumpulan bahan bakar akan diabaikan. Misalnya, kerusakan yang terjadi karena proses rekah hidrolik (fracking); dampak pengembangan bitumen di lokasi penduduk asli Kanada (Canadian First Nations); masalah yang masih akan muncul berkenaan dengan teori peak oil; perang yang berkelanjutan di Timur Tengah untuk menguasai sumber minyak. Semua ini mungkin bisa diabaikan jika CCS dapat membuat minyak, gas, dan batu bara terlihat sebagai ‘energi hijau’. Ini sungguh memalukan. Bahan bakar fosil adalah zat yang paling menghancurkan yang ada di bumi dewasa ini. Maka amatlah penting agar teknologi yang memungkinkan efisiensi serta alternatif yang di kembangkan di NRGLab tidak diabaikan hanya karena status quo ekonomi saat ini yang ingin terus dipertahankan.

Diterjemahkan dari Bahasa Inggris, artikel asli di publikasikan tanggal di 16.02.14:

[ bakar fosil, carbon capture and storage, CCS, energi yang dapat diperbarui, NRGlab, teknologi pengumpulan dan penyimpanan karbon, the guardian ]

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

A failure of imagination leads us to more oil drilling

A few years ago, the Ecuadorian government’s Yasuni project was the talk of the town among climate change and anti-oil activists at the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference. The idea was simple: there are large reserves of valuable oil underneath the incredibly biodiverse Yasuni national park in Ecuador. Normally, there would be a strong economic incentive for a poor country like Ecuador to push environmental concerns to the side and drill for the oil. However, Ecuador suggested that the international community could change the equation, by offering the country compensation for leaving the oil in the ground and the pristine wilderness untouched. If enough money was provided to make it worthwhile, Ecuador would be one of the first countries to simply refuse to extract the oil that they had.
This was actually a very good idea, which addressed one of the primary sticking points in the climate change negotiations – the issue of justice. Many of the rich nations that are now urging developing countries to cut their emissions are the same ones that have already used up more than their fair share of our common atmospheric space – in many cases, the only reason the rich countries are not drilling for their own oil is because they have already used it all up. The Yasuni project would address this issue by providing Ecuador with the economic incentive to do the right thing – allowing them to gain the benefits of drilling for oil, without the polluting negatives, and evening up the playing field between rich and poor nations a little. To their credit, Norway – a nation which became rich due to its own oil drilling – was the first rich nation to offer a contribution.
In the end, however, it has all proved too good to be true. Drilling in the Yasuni park is now scheduled to begin, despite protests from around the world and within Ecuadorian civil society. And in what is being seen by some as the ultimate betrayal of trust, it turns out that the Ecuadorian government was in discussions with Chinese oil companies about drilling, even while trying to promote the Yasuni project at the climate change talks.
But the betrayal and the failure here isn’t that of the Ecuadorian government – it is the failure of the international community and of the rich, developed nations that failed to help Ecuador protect its national park. Quite simply, the necessary money was not provided, and the economics of our capitalist world therefore put Ecuador in a position where drilling for oil is almost irresistible if the country wants to develop. In fact, by not providing the money, the rich nations have shown that Ecuador was right to be negotiating with those Chinese companies – this does not represent a lack of faith on the part of Ecuador, but rather shows that Ecuador did not trust other countries to help them. Evidently, they were right not to do so.
It’s time for rich nations to realize that if the world is going to switch its energy system away from a dependence on oil, then countries that have the most historical responsibility for fossil fuel use need to be at the forefront. Asking and expecting smaller nations with considerably fewer resources to do all the work is not going to succeed, and simply entrenches the global inequality that we already suffer from. We all need to commit to changing our habits and moving away from oil – but as a matter of justice and equality, rich nations need to go first. It’s time for them to stop dallying, and put their money where their mouth is.

anti-oil activists, atmospheric space, betrayal of trust, biodiverse Yasuni national park, changing habits, Chinese oil companies, climate change, climate change negotiations, climate change talks, Copenhagen climate change conference, country compensation, cut emissions, dependence on oil, drilling in Yasuni park, Ecuadorian civil society, Ecuadorian government, energy system, environmental concerns, extract the oil, failure of imagination, field between rich and poor nations, fossil fuel, global inequality, historical responsibility, international community, issue of justice, leaving oil in the ground, moving away from oil, national park in Ecuador, offer a contribution, oil drilling, polluting negatives, pristine wilderness untouched, Rafael Correa, reserves of valuable oil, rich nations, strong economic incentive, Yasuni project

Sunday, March 16, 2014



在《卫报》最新专栏里,记者George Monbiot甚至还讨论了另外一种用于镇压的法律手段——IPNA,或者说是防滋扰或烦扰禁令,权力机关可能会很快将它用来对付穷人。这些禁令可以适用于任何人的任何行为,只要法官判定该行为可能会对他人构成滋扰。在收到禁令后重复该行为,可能会被判两年监禁,即使相关行为本身通常不会被视为是犯罪行为。正如Monbiot指出的那样,这些禁令将不会被用来对付那些德高望重的人,即使他们制造了噪音或者堵塞了酒吧或歌剧院外面的道路。而被视为吵闹或造成威胁的球迷、示威者、年轻人,还有想要找个地方睡觉的流浪汉,才是这些禁令的目标。换句话说,它们会被用来将穷人变成罪犯。





原文于 24,

[ 现代资本主义社, 工业革命, 降低工资,增加工作时间,忽视安全条例,George Monbiot, Ana Shell, IPNA ]

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Memerangi Perdagangan Senjata Tanpa Kekerasan

Saat menulis artikel ini, saya mendengar berita tentang sidang pengadilan yang berlangsung selama dua hari terakhir di daerah West Midlands, Inggris. Tahun lalu, lima aktivis memblokir jalan masuk utama ke Excel Docklands di London saat perhelatan pameran dua tahunan dari Peralatan Keamanan dan Persenjataan Internasional (Defence Security Equipment International - DSEI) dilangsungkan.  Para aktivis yang adalah penganut kristiani ini (salah satunya adalah Pendeta), selama aksi protes tanpa kekerasan mereka hanya berlutut sambil berdoa dan menyanyikan himne.  Sementara itu di lokasi pameran DSEI ada ratusan perusahaan yang berlomba-lomba untuk menjual senjata, bahan peledak, dan kendaraan lapis baja kepada banyak perwakilan pemerintah yang menghadiri pameran tersebut. Perbedaan antara kedua kelompok ini amat mencolok. Sayangnya para aktivislah yang kalah dalam pertarungan mereka yang tanpa kekerasan dengan pemerintah, dan mereka ditahan atas dasar pelanggaran karena masuk tanpa izin.

Hari ini, hakim pengadilan Stafford telah memutuskan bahwa para aktivis tidak bersalah.   Memang, kebebasan mereka tampaknya diperoleh karena kesalahan teknis di pihak kepolisian. Instruksi polisi saat memerintahkan agar para aktivis untuk pergi tidak jelas atau kurang terperinci sehingga mereka tidak bisa bertindak sesuai dengan perintah tersebut. Namun, ini tetap suatu kemenangan penting. Para aktivis telah diperbolehkan untuk menyampaikan argumen tentang legalitas taktik mereka di hadapan pengadilan hukum. Seperti biasa, pihak kepolisian terlihat jelas bertindak amat licik atau bodoh. Di NRGLab dan Ana Shell Fund, kami memuji kelima aktivis karena telah memperjuangkan apa yang mereka percayai meski adanya ancaman tiga bulan penjara.

Yang menarik dari pengadilan ini adalah standar ganda serta kemunafikan di Inggris Raya, yang katanya, adalah negara yang menjunjung "kebebasan dan keadilan".  Salah satu argumen yang digunakan oleh pembela berkisar pada insiden di pameran DSEI tahun 2013 karena ada dua perusahaan yang dikeluarkan dari pameran. Hal itu terjadi karena kedua perusahaan tersebut mempromosikan penjualan senjata yang dianggap ilegal dalam hukum Inggris. Magforce Internasional dari Prancis serta Tianjin Myway dari Cina dikeluarkan dari DSEI karena menjual proyektil listrik pengejut, tongkat pengejut, dan borgol kaki dengan pemberat. DSEI baru mengambil tindakan setelah Caroline Lucas, seorang anggota parlemen mengajukan pertanyaan ke parlemen sehubungan dengan adanya desas-desus akan penjualan senjata tersebut di pameran.

Sayangnya, DSEI bersikap biasa-biasa saja sehubungan dengan aksi ilegal dari kedua perusahaan dan mereka yang terlibat dalam pameran senjata tersebut juga tidak ada yang didakwa. Padahal kejahatan yang dilakukan oleh perusahaan-perusahaan yang menjual tongkat pengejut dan rudal kejut jauh lebih besar dari pada kelima orang yang dengan tenang berlutut di jalan, namun justru kelima orang inilah yang malah didakwa oleh negara dan kepolisian. Kebebasan mereka pun hanya terjadi karena kesalahan teknis. Jika kepolisian melakukan tugas mereka dengan baik, mungkin kelima aktivis inilah yang akan berada di penjara malam ini sementara Magforce dan Myway dengan bebas melanjutkan bisnis mereka – bisnis yang didasarkan pada penindasan dan kekerasan terhadap mereka yang direbut haknya dan miskin.

Meski kisah ini berlokasi di Inggris, apa yang terjadi tidak hanya terjadi di Inggris. Prioritas negara amat jelas.  Jika Anda berupaya membela yang lemah, yang tidak punya apa-apa, yang rumahnya hancur karena rudal, yang kehidupannya direnggut oleh pistol, dan yang kebebasannya dibelenggu dengan borgol kaki dengan pemberat, Anda kemungkinan besar adalah penjahat. Jika Anda berkontribusi pada situasi di atas dengan membuat borgol kaki, rudal, pistol dan senjata penyiksa - hal itu tidak apa-apa, Anda bebas melanjutkan bisnis tersebut asalkan Anda mendatangkan keuntungan bagi para politikus dan pemangku kepentingan. Aktivis yang melakukan protes tanpa kekerasan adalah kelompok berbahaya sementara perusahaan yang keuntungannya berasal dari kekerasan adalah warga negara teladan. Ideologi terbalik ini dianut dalam kebudayaan neoliberal global dewasa ini. Kita semua hendaknya meniru kelima aktivis di atas dan bertindak menentang hal ini.

Diterjemahkan dari Bahasa Inggris, artikel asli di publikasikan tanggal di 25.02.14:

Excel Docklands di London, Peralatan Keamanan dan Persenjataan Internasional, Defence Security Equipment International, DSEI, hakim pengadilan Stafford, NRGLab, Ana Shell Fund, Caroline Lucas

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Fighting for the Union in Tennessee

A few weeks back, a Volkswagen manufacturing plant in Tennessee had a vote on whether to affiliate with a union. A fairly standard procedure, which happens in industrial workplaces across the world on a regular basis, right? The vote narrowly fell, and the shop will remain non-unionized, at least for now. However, despite the seeming ordinariness of this occurrence, the vote has become a much bigger talking point across America.
Republican senators have been accused of influencing the vote by essentially threatening the workers that they would be damaging the entire state of Tennessee and taking away potential jobs from friends and family members. The senators argued that if Volkswagen unionized, it would mean other employers would avoid Tennessee when making decision about where to locate manufacturing plants – they would move to a non-union state instead (as many of the other southern and western states continue to be). More perniciously, they also argued that if the workers were to unionize, the state government would no longer provide subsidies to Volkswagen to encourage them to locate their production facilities in Tennessee – essentially trying to force their prophecy to come true by actively pushing VW to locate elsewhere.
Of course, anti-union situations like this remain widespread in the US. German companies like Volkswagen actually have quite a strong culture of unionization, at least domestically, as there is clearly a much stronger belief in cooperation, mutual benefit, and the need to work together as a society in Germany. In the US, however, anti-union ideology abounds, and many companies will indeed threaten to leave areas if unions are formed – with no repercussions from politicians or the government.
Walmart and McDonalds are both staunchly anti-union, with the former keeping a very close eye on employees and moving into action at the first sign of labor organization – a selection of anti-union talking points given to store management were recently leaked. And since the birth of NAFTA in 1994, it has been increasingly easy for companies to simply uproot their manufacturing processes to just south of the Mexican border, where wages are cheaper and the labor is more easily exploitable due to high levels of poverty.
Unions may have their faults, but they have long been the traditional way in which the working class and the poor have demanded and won their human rights and freedoms from the exploitative owners of the capitalist class. Consequently, it’s fairly understandable that ultra-capitalist corporations like Walmart want to destroy them. Politicians, however, should be standing up for the people they represent, rather than siding with the corporate anti-union line, like the Republicans in Tennessee have. Unfortunately, today’s politicians seem to be more concerned with money and their corporate friends than with helping the poor and the working class – and it’s time the working class of the southern states started to realize that and vote differently.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

A City Divided

In my previous blog I talked about the problems in Thailand, and how they were representative of a divided society. Events are really still unfolding over there, and it will be some time before Thai society approaches something that we could call normality. But the problem of a divided society is not exclusive to Thailand  - in fact, I would argue that it is becoming more and more prevalent around the world, and even in seemingly peaceful places people are being convinced to fight among themselves rather than working together in solidarity.

Of course, we have seen other obvious examples over the past two months in places like Ukraine, where there has been a clear division over whether to move closer to the European Union or to Russia. But we can see the same thing on a less dramatic scale even in a cosmopolitan, global city like Toronto. Toronto is usually famous for nothing more than the CN Tower and that most people think it's the capital of Canada. But over the last six months, Toronto has become notorious for its Mayor Rob Ford.

Ford is now famous for his use of crack cocaine and his admission that he is often found in 'drunken stupors'. But while that's hardly behaviour you'd expect from a mayor, it's his policies which bother me more. Ford was elected after a campaign in which he constructed an interesting worldview which essentially set the people of Toronto at war against each other. He regularly positions every citizen of Toronto as being in one of two groups – motorists versus cyclists and pedestrians; people who enjoy the Lake Ontario waterfront versus people who want to see it developed for jobs; people who go to the famous Canadian company Tim Horton's for their morning coffee versus people who stop off at an independent coffee shop; and, most regularly, people who live downtown versus people who live in the suburbs, where the majority of his voters come from.

Ford continually plays off an idea of cultural difference. He tells his supporters: the people who live downtown are different from you, they want different things, they live different lives, and they want to take money away from you and use it for themselves. This is, of course, ridiculous – the people who live in the suburbs use the downtown area for their jobs, their transport, their entertainment options, and so on. Essentially, everyone in Toronto uses the downtown area in some way, and should see that the diversity of people who live and work there is its great strength. But unfortunately, while Ford's claims are incorrect, they are popular – even now, after all the cocaine scandals, Ford has a popularity rating of 40% and may win re-election from the people he has convinced.

In reality, the people of Toronto, just like those of Thailand, need to realize that they have more in common than they have in difference, and more that brings them together than tears them apart. The people of Toronto all want the same things that the rest of us want – safety, clean air, good schools, a good health care system – and they need to work together as one to make that happen, rather than buying into divisive myths. The same goes for the rest of us, wherever we are – rather than focusing on the people around us who we perceive as different, we should begin to work together to build a better life for all of us – regardless of what the elite politicians are telling us.

Truly yours,
Ana Shell

[ Thai society, CN Tower, Mayor Rob Ford, Tim Horton, cultural difference, Ana Shell, crack cocaine, European Union ]

Tuesday, March 4, 2014



乍一看,CCS的确是个相当不错的主意。如果我们有了捕捉碳排放并将其储存在安全之所的技术,让它远离大气,阻止其破坏大气,为什么不去做呢?归根结底,是因为我们不能立即从化石燃料完全转向可再生能源经济,因此,我们不得不在此期间做些事情,应对当前的问题,对吧?不幸的是,一系列问题也随之而来——包括实际操作的问题和理论上的问题。在实际操作方面, CCS并没有真正地消除碳排放,而只是把它们埋了起来——眼不见,心不烦。一次未预见到的泄漏、地震等自然灾害、因某种原因人们掘开了土地——任何一件事都能轻易地让碳重回大气,进而彻底抹去CCS在短时间内可能提供的任何益处。




采掘工业领域, 化石燃料工业领域, 碳收集及储存, CCS, 合国气候变化大会, nrglab ]

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Rekah Hidrolik (fracking) - Jalan Menuju Kehancuran

Laporan terbaru dari AS mengatakan bahwa kontaminasi air akibat teknik pengeboran energi model baru yang dikenal dengan nama 'rekah hidrolik' atau fracking mungkin sudah biasa terjadi daripada yang diperkirakan sebelumnya. Ada laporan pengaduan mengenai kontaminasi air terjadi di Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Texas, dan Ohio.  Negara bagian yang mempunyai laporan pengaduan paling mendetail yaitu Texas (hal ini mungkin mengejutkan, mengingat citra Pennysilvania yang jauh lebih liberal), mempunyai lebih dari 2.000 laporan penganduan tentang sumur-sumur minyak dan gas, meskipun belum ada kasus kontaminasi air yang telah dikonfirmasi.  Sedangkan Pennsylvania mencatat lebih dari 100 kasus kontaminasi air yang telah terkonfirmasi yang berasal dari industri minyak dan gas, termasuk dari sumur-sumur rekah hidrolik.

Yang pertama kali membuat kesadaran masyarakat awam tentang bahaya fracking atau rekah hidrolik adalah film dokumenter Gasland, yang memperlihatkan bahwa orang dapat menyetel keran air mereka menjadi api hanya dengan menyalakan pemantik rokok saja.  Kegiatan rekah hidrolik itu artinya memompa ratusan ribu galon air dan unsur-unsur kimiawi ke permukaan bumi sebagai upaya untuk memutus dan membebaskan gas alam yang terperangkap di dalam batuan serpih, sehingga rekah hidrolik ini mempunyai risiko bawaan, yaitu terjadinya kontaminasi silang dengan air tanah di lokasi sekitarnya - dan komposisi bahan-bahan kimia yang sebenarnya dipakai dalam cairan rekah hidrolik ini tetap menjadi rahasia yang ditutup rapat.

Jadi, apakah temuan ini akan menghentikan, atau paling tidak memperlambat ledakan kegiatan rekah hidrolik yang telah menyebar di AS selama beberapa tahun belakangan ini, dan yang baru saja dimulai di negara lain seperti Inggris? Meskipun ada beberapa kasus pemilik rumah yang pasokan airnya jelas-jelas terkontaminasi mendapatkan kompensasi besar, namun dengan meningkatnya skala kegiatan operasional rekah hidrolik ini, sepertinya tidak mungkin ada perusahaan energi yang akan kolaps. Karena rekah hidrolik memberikan akses ke cadangan gas alam onshore yang tetap murah, sehingga memungkinkan arus ekonomi bahan bakar fosil terus berlanjut - peluang seperti ini tentu saja tidak mungkin dilewatkan begitu saja oleh pemerintah dan dunia bisnis, karena beralih ke ekonomi energi ramah lingkungan yang berdasarkan sumber energi terbarukan hanya akan menimbulkan ancaman bagi mereka yang mendapatkan kekuasaan dan keuntungan dari status quo.

Selain itu, kemungkinan mayoritas sumur-sumur rekah hidrolik akan dibor di daerah-daerah pedesaan dan tempat bermukim para warga kelas pekerja di pinggiran kota.  Sudah barang tentu mayoritas penduduk yang akan terkena dampak dari infrastruktur ini adalah mereka yang mempunyai sebidang tanah kecil, sedikit koneksi, dan pada dasarnya tidak mampu berbuat apa-apa.  Para pemilik tanah yang kaya mempunyai uang mereka untuk mempertahankan diri dari sumur-sumur rekah hidrolik, sementara si miskin harus rela melihat lahan dan pemandangan mereka dihancurkan, kesehatan mereka direnggut, semua atas nama keuntungan perusahaan.

Dorongan terus-menerus untuk mendapatkan bahan bakar fosil tentu saja merupakan kebodohan terbesar dalam era kita.  Ada begitu banyak pontensi alternatif energi lainnya di luar sana - bahkan beberapa di antaranya dikembangkan oleh NRGLab - yang seharusnya mendapatkan dukungan pemerintah dan dana publik yang jauh lebih baik dibandingkan  yang diterima oleh industri energy seperti rekah hidrolik.  Melalui penggunaan teknologi yang bijaksana, kita bisa mengurangi tagihan energi bulanan kita, mengangkat orang keluar dari jurang kemiskinan energi, dan melindungi lingkungan kita - daripada mengontaminasikan air kita dan menghancurkan kesehatan demi mengejar beberapa tahun yang dimiliki dari pilihan bahan bakar fosil.  Mudah-mudahan kesadaran publik akan bahaya rekah hidrolok akan menjadi langkah awal perubahan nyata dalam beberapa tahun mendatang.

Diterjemahkan dari Bahasa Inggris, artikel asli di publikasikan tanggal di 23.01.14:

Rekah Hidrolik, pengeboran energi, sumur-sumur minyak, kontaminasi air, film dokumenter Gasland, pasokan airnya, gas alam onshore, NRGLab ]