November 2020 | What You Need to Know About Fracking

All your questions about fracking, answered

In this post, we read, listen, act, and reflect on November's topic: fracking. This article has been adapted from our sustainability newsletter, so please sign up for it to stay in the loop.

Before we begin, I want to share our sponsors and partners this month: 

  1. Posey, a monthly sustainable skincare subscription service that uses AI to match you with the best existing products and personalize a skincare regimen based on your skin needs and preferences. Get started with 50% off your first box!
  2. Below the Fold, a semi-weekly email newsletter that helps you discover stories you aren’t seeing elsewhere. We teamed up with them to take action on food waste!
  3. The Wandering Ear, an online music publication & event series, writing about how music makes you feel. If you love music and your feelings then become a member of The Wandering Ear. Get some awesome perks while keeping music alive this 2020 holiday season!

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

What’s covered:

What's up this week: To frack or not to frack


Hey. I'm not going to say much about the election other than please take care of yourself and hold your loved ones close. Now is the time for resilience and community but after we take a breather.


Speaking of breathers, I have something exciting just for you. I discovered this cool newsletter called The Daily Breather - they give you local air quality info each day, along with fun facts, trivia, tips, and more. It's such a cool way to get familiar with your actual environment. Let me know how you like it!


One more self-care treat - make sure you check out our sponsor for the month, Posey. I haven't had a skincare routine beyond face sunscreen because I'm lazy, but they have an AI-powered subscription service that tells you exactly what you need. Yay for tech tools that make life easier for lazy people!


Anyway, back to fracking -- I picked it as this month's topic for two reasons:

  1. I wanted to know how big of a deal fracking actually is
  2. I met a fracking expert! Alexandria Shrake will actually be providing our content every week this month.


Alexandria is the co-founder of ENERGYminute, a movement which seeks to enable people to access complex information and depolarize challenging subjects. She's super impressive; you can read more about her here.

So, say hi to Alexandria, and let's see what she says about fracking.

Fact snack | Is fracking good or bad?


If you need some more convincing to read the full post, here's some snippets. If you're curious to learn more, the post has all the sources linked to it.


Read the full blog post here - it's only 4 minutes long and is a fantastic overview of fracking.

Listen: Who's getting fracked over?

In 2014, the Center on Poverty, Race, and the Environment put out a video to appeal to then-governor of California, Jerry Brown, to stop fracking in the state.

Last section, we talked about how Fracking isn't entirely the bad guy, so... what's their deal?

Well, the effects of climate change and environmental destruction have outsized impacts on communities of color.

Alexandria Shrake's interview from last week answered a lot of our questions on if fracking itself was "good" or "bad", but as she said, it's a complex issue. Now it's time to hear from the people most affected by fracking in Kern County, California, where 75% of the state's oil is produced.

Key points

The fracking situation in California has since improved. Current governor Gavin Newsom supported a fracking ban and imposed regulations prohibiting oil and gas activity in close proximity to schools. However, it's unclear how committed he is to preventing destructive methods of oil extraction.

What's the oil and gas industry presence like where you live? Sign up for our newsletter to let me know! You can reply to any of the emails you get or contact me directly at team@soapboxproject.org.

Act: 3 tips for an un-fracked up future

These actions focus on investing in a renewable, clean future. As we learned through Alexandria Shrake's interview, fracking is partially responsible for an emissions reduction and to eliminate it completely, we have to shift our economy away from fossil fuels. Cheers to starting small right now!

  1. Super easy (60 sec + free): find your toxic sites and leave a quick note.

    If you live in the US, you can go to OurEnvironment.org and find some basic stats about your state, like the cost of regulatory rollbacks, number of toxic sites, and number of billion-dollar weather events. Leave a short note explaining the effects of regulatory rollbacks in your area. You can write anything you want, but here's a generic statement you can modify and paste:

    "Fracking in Kern County and other Central Valley communities should be banned permanently. If fracking should be permitted in California, communities affected by it should have a say in zoning laws and public safety recommendations."


  2. Easy (60 sec): Reduce your travel CO2 impact by purchasing offsets.

    Fracking extracts jet fuel and natural gas for electricity and heat and Radicle makes it easy to calculate the CO2 impact of ground/air travel and hotel stays, or just buy carbon credits in bulk. 


  3. Medium: Go green through your utility company.

    This isn't a joke; you can actually get green power from your utilities in over 600 US companies. The best way to check is on your utility's website or call them.

Reflect: how to save a planet + Black Friday

Before we get into your answers, f you are spending the holidays with family, here's an excellent podcast episode on how to talk to your family about climate change. It's ~30 min and talks about how a Republican congressman's son got him to care about climate. The episode and a 6-step plan with resources are available here.

Today, I want to share three treats with you (four if you include the podcast above):

  1. 11 Native-owned businesses to support this Black Friday
  2. Our new referral program & prizes for you
  3. All the questions you've sent in about fracking, answered

ONE | I'm using this Black Friday to shop for only what I need (rain boots and a knee brace lol) and to also direct my money to Native-owned brands. Here's the list.

TWO | Secondly, we've LAUNCHED our referral program! By referring just 2 people, you can become a Soapbox Insider (discounts & more fun stuff). By referring 5, you can enter to win a Klean Kanteen water bottle, and this tier changes every month so you can always get great new sustainability products.

THREE | Finally, if you sent in some fracking questions or want to learn more, find some answers below from our fracking expert Alexandria Shrake. You can also sign up for ENERGYminute, her all-things-energy newsletter or email her at alex@energyminute.ca.

Your deep questions about fracking, answered

For the answers to the questions below, you can find a Google Doc by Alexandria here.

Before we wrap, a lovely note from Alexandria to all of us:

"I'm so glad to be part of Soapbox Project's journey. There are no simple solutions to complex issues, but we can build relationships and connections to advance decarbonization in an equitable way for all people, especially vulnerable populations. I welcome peoples feedback, questions, and comments at alex@energyminute.ca."

I know 100% more about fracking now than I did a month ago. Neat!