Natural gas is sometimes touted as a clean fuel source. What folks are discovering, though, is that the process for extracting natural gas is far from clean.
Hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking" is a technique for extracting hard to reach natural gas deposits. We're starting to learn that the chemicals used in this process have serious public health and environmental issues. New data links fracking to problems from water contamination to tainted beef cattle.
Some homeowners are seeing dramatic issues with their contaminated water. Check out this video of flammable tap water from a sink near fracking operations:
So what can you do to get heard?
The Fracking Fight
Food and Water Watch makes it easy to tell your representatives how you feel about hydraulic fracturing. Not only does this process threaten our drinking water, it can't be regulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act, and companies that engage in fracking don't have to disclose the chemicals that they're using.
You can also cut back on your natural gas use.
If you have a gas water heater, you can cut your gas consumption by taking shorter showers and washing your clothes in cold rather than hot. Insulating your water heater or replacing an old model with a newer, more efficient one are great ways to use less gas. You can also lower the thermostat on your heater to 120°F to keep it from kicking on as often.
This isn't such an issue in the summer, but gas heat is probably the biggest home use of natural gas. You can always get an early start! These ideas can help keep your home cooler during the summer heat, too.
Adding insulation is a great start, whether it's in the attic or basement. Caulk and seal areas where warm air will escape to reduce your heating needs even more. You might also check out some handmade ways to winterize your home.
Do you guys have any tips for reducing your dependence on natural gas? We'd love to hear about them in the comments!
Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by motti