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A Teen Discussion on Hydrofracking

This audio piece was written and recorded by Irene Case, Grade 12 student at New Roots Charter School in Ithaca, NY. Youth Voice students explore  environmental science topics of personal interest while learning production skills from WSKG's youth media curriculum. 

Some people see hydrofracking as an economic benefit. Others have many environmental concerns about the process.Hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as “fracking,” is a process where water, sand, and chemicals are pumped at high pressure thousands of feet underground to crack the rock and release the natural gas.  Fracking fluid is about 98 percent sand and water, but the remaining 2 percent of it contains potentially hazardous chemicals.Jane Whiting, a former student of New Roots Charter School in Ithaca, New York, sees these chemicals as destructive to the natural environment.“Many of them, because they’re carcinogens and toxins, what they do is they poison people and water,” says Whiting. “They make essential brain functions lesser, and high quantities can even kill somebody.”However, some people see hydrofracking as a way out of poverty because it creates jobs and boosts the economy.  Noah Brown, a current student of New Roots Charter School, has seen these effects play out in real life.“Well, it’s really helped people who’ve really been in need of a job, and have really found no other way out, but to either A) sell their land, or B) work for the company,” says Brown.Because of the economic benefits and negative environmental impacts of hydrofracking, there needs to be a balance.  We need to have a clean environment and a stable economy at the same time, but how is that possible?Whiting sees renewable energy as a possible solution.“We need to invest in renewable sources, such as solar energy, wind energy, but basically those two, and put them into our general infrastructure,” says Whiting.While Brown is concerned about the economy, he also cares about protecting the environment.“I feel that hydrofracking is good, as long as it doesn’t wreck the environment.  Because, environment, we need to live here,” shares Brown.A good way to balance these two interests would be to invest in renewable energy. That protects the environment as well as creates new industries.  These industries will in turn create jobs to lift people out of poverty. Youth Voice is made possible by a grant from the PARK Foundation.