What should we be reading?

  • Hello CFROG Friends, 

DSC_0002.jpgLast night CFROG enjoyed visiting with YOU the public at Patagonia in Ventura at their Enviro Group Fair. What a great event! 

At our table we were talking with folks about our work around the County and especially our recent appeal (filed April 13) of a project in Oxnard. We are proud to be partnering with Food and Water Watch in this appeal, and to take on the issue of Environmental Justice. HERE is more information on our appeal.

But what I want to write about today was inspired by an amazing question I was asked. Karina Kaye, a young woman who is interning with Food and Water Watch and was helping at our table at the fair asked me "What should I read? What is the seminal [book about this environmental work?" You see she has studied sociology but realizes that she doesn't understand the details of the actual impacts - How do chemicals used in the oil and gas industry actually impact the people who live there and the environment? What a GREAT question!

Off the top of my head I was able to suggest two books... 

  • Photo: CFROG, May 11. John Brooks (left) CFROG Board Member, talking about our current lawsuit in Santa Paula Canyon aimed at enforcing the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). We are partnered with Los Padres ForestWatch and Center for Biological Diversity in the suit. 


"Silent Spring" by Rachel Carson of course is the truly seminal environmental book from a biologists perspective and so beautifully written. While it was  published decades ago in 1962 it could have been written yesterday about any number of new chemicals being used now. And I think it would do many good to have this book under their belt. I'm a bit embarrassed to say I read it for the first time just a year ago. 
"Crude" by Sonia Shah, I stumbled upon this book at a local used book store and ate it up. Shah writes about the history of the oil and gas industry around the world, ties it in with global events and discusses the impacts of the various aspects of the industry. 
The preface starts with a passage by Ryszard Kapuscinski - 

"Oil creates the illusion of a completely changed life, life without work, life for free. The concept of oil expresses perfectly the eternal human dream of wealth achieved through luck accident...In this sense, oil is a fairy tale and like every fairy tale a bit of a lie." 

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  • To give you an idea of the contents and theme here are the names of the first few chapters - For the Love of Oil, Oil is Born, The Eclipse of Coal, Exile from Tethys, Into the Col, Rockefeller's Ghost, Refining the Hunt...The Curse of Crude...

The research involved in this book is incredible and the way she puts words together makes it a joy to read. 
And today I'm still thinking about what folks SHOULD read to know about the environmental impact of this industry, the science of it, the story of how it impacts people.
Photo: Karina Kaye, intern with Food and Water Watch chatting with a resident of Oxnard about our appeal, at the Patagonia NGO Fair on May 11, 2017. 
Here are three papers produced by Earthworks that I've added to my reading list: 
Natural Gas Flowback: The Dark Side of the Boom
Public Health and Gas Development
Reckless Endangerment and Fracking the Eagle Ford Shale
What do you think we should be reading? Put your suggestions below in the comments.