I’m not a natural activist. Given the choice between a protest march and a quiet afternoon on the sofa, the sofa wins paws down. Mind you, I could probably do quite well at a sit in.
But the Mum has been so preoccupied recently, gazing at the lake and sighing, looking up at the hills and sighing, tapping away at her computer and sighing, that even a dog could work out that there was something wrong. I feared a world shortage of custard creams, and had one or two sleepless nights, but it turns out that the problem goes, quite literally, even deeper than that.
Have any of you canine correspondents out there heard of fracking? One or two of you, maybe, especially the guys (I believe that’s what you call yourselves) from the other side of the Atlantic. Well, I’m not a scientist any more than I am an activist (unless you count my scholarly invisceration of stuffed toys) but basically this seems to be the situation:
1. Humans (at least, the sort of humans we generally encounter) depend on something called fossilfool to do all the important stuff they get up to (driving us to the vet, buying dog food, making plastic food bowls, washing our blankets, heating those comfortable corners, plus all those other activities that don’t seem to have any rational explanation at all, like wars and commuting and reality television.)
2. They’ve done so much of this that they’ve used up nearly all the fossilfool in the world.
3. In the process, they’ve made an almighty mess of the sky so that the weather keeps going wrong. (Imagine the trouble we’d be in if we’d done that.)
4. Despite (3) the humans are desperate to find the very last bits of fossilfool and use them up so that there won’t be any more at all for their children. (Humans are known for being very fond of their children.)
5. One of the places they think there might be a little bit of fossilfool is in the underground rock of Fermanagh, the very beautiful county I’ve adopted as my home. (See earlier posts for the tragic tale of my enforced exile from my native Belfast.)
6. This little bit of fossilfool (actually it’s methane – yes, exactly the same as that interesting smell that comes out after we’ve had an unusually rich dinner – they’re not so thrilled about it then, are they?) is spread out in tiny little spaces across miles and miles of countryside. The only way to get it out is by smashing through the rocks with millions of bathfuls of nasty liquid at really, really high pressures. (And when I say nasty, I don’t just mean that shampoo stuff…) That’s what they mean by fracking.
7. As well as breaking the rocks (funny that, when they’re so proud of their underground places like the Marble Arch Caves) and muddling the weather and using up the water, and sending thousands of giant lorries driving down the little roads (it’s hard enough to cross already), it turns out that in places where they’ve had this fracking thing, lots of dangerous stuff gets left about, on the roads and in the rivers and even in the air. And this stuff not only makes people ill, but even poisons animals.
Let’s be honest, chaps, as a species, we could,without excessive generalisation, be described as curious. If we smell an interesting new smell, we investigate it. And the way we investigate it, not being equipped with microscopes or portable laboratories, is by licking it. And if it tastes salty, or pungent, or generally fascinating, we’ll generally go on licking it until there isn’t any of it left. It’s just the way we are.
So in my opinion, prone as the Mum is to making fusses about nothing (a few crumbs on the carpet just add to the design), in this case she’s on to something. So I urge you, my fellow canines, to transform yourselves into fractivists before it’s too late. And if any of you have enlightened house-humans who are already involved, please tell us all about it. And meanwhile, if it’s methane they want …