Head knowledge won’t work without heart knowledge

Head knowledge won't work without heart knowledge Open letter to Minister Scott Kent, I have been puzzling over your comment in the Nov. 1 Yukon News about fracking, that "It's an emotional issue for Yukoners ... and indeed around the world ... I have confid

Open letter to Minister Scott Kent,

I have been puzzling over your comment in the Nov. 1 Yukon News about fracking, that “It’s an emotional issue for Yukoners … and indeed around the world … I have confidence in the members who sit on that select committee that they will go in and be able to separate that emotion.”

You don’t complete the sentence. What is it that you want them to separate that emotion from?

The bestselling book Emotional Intelligence says that emotions “promote thinking and cognitive activity.” So surely it will be a good idea to include emotions in assessing whether fracking is safe, so the committee makes the best decision possible.

Emotional Intelligence also points out: “Emotions help prioritize what we pay attention and react to.” Likewise, Plato is quoted saying, “All learning has an emotional base.”

I beg the fracking committee members to be conscious of the emotional base of their learning. What they know about fracking will have been filtered through existing belief systems, suspicious or not, of the fossil-fuel industry. Will they separate themselves from these assumptions?

I admit to huge emotions around fracking. Caleb Behn, Jessica Earnst and Andrew Nikiforuk told us horrifying things. I have read that many studies touting natural gas as safe are industry funded, selecting only best case examples.

I hope the committee opens both minds and hearts to the indisputable facts already indicating that fracking is not just risky, but not worth the risk.

I suggest you look up fracking expert Anthony Ingraffea on YouTube. Ingraffea quotes papers given at industry conferences, showing that industry people themselves worry about how to improve “well bore integrity.”

When wells leak, they produce large amounts of fugitive methane, a far more potent greenhouse gas than CO2, in a time when our atmospheric CO2 is measuring at 400 ppm which is already threatening our biosphere. This is unsafe – 350 ppm CO2 is what we need to return to for safety. Yet I worry that with the federal government acknowledging it will miss its own emissions targets by a large margin, pro-government committee members might think it’s OK not care about atmospheric pollution on this issue, either.

Jody Overduin’s question from the same article of Nov. 1 was: how can anyone justify the known water use? Use of up to some millions of litres of water for each individual frack, at a time when worldwide we are facing a growing worldwide water shortage, is unsustainable and actually immoral if we consider ourselves moral agents inhabiting a planet at risk, rather than just consumers (as the federal Conservatives said in the throne speech).

The fossil fuel industry puts gag orders on people it pays off for their properties and water being ruined. Industry does this so those unequivocally impacted won’t be able to share provable stories about the damage caused by fracking.

Please use your emotions to help you make a good decision.

Susan Gwynne-Timothy

Marsh Lake