Talking Drum

The Talking Drum: Sinkholes

Sinkhole Florida

The Earth Is Communicating, Are We Listening?

As babies, fresh out of the wombs of our mothers, we are in our most vulnerable state. We are dependent solely on someone else to provide our every little need.

As we develop and discover a sense of independence, the idea of being weak and fragile somehow changes to the idea that we are no longer in need of assistance with our evolution. With this attitude, our egos have overpowered our ability to humble ourselves and admit that our survival is dictated by forces that are greater than any of us.

Human survival depends on our ability to adapt to our environment, wherever we are on the planet. In the modernized parts of the world we can observe a refusal to admit this fact. The builders of modern technology, fueled by the inspiration of society, work tirelessly to redefine the notion of survival, attempting to force Earth to comply with human ambition regardless of the reality that the existence has already defined. Ironically, in the name of advancing our species, we have built new technologies that continue to result in destruction. As we grow more and more dependent on these instruments, we not only take away our ability to survive without them but we destroy our natural environment.

sinkhole China coal mining
One of many examples to prove that technology continues to expand it’s capabilities of destruction is the results of manmade sinkholes that are occurring much more frequently in many parts of the world. A sinkhole or “swallow hole” can be simply defined as a sizable hole in the ground that is formed by the collapsing of the Earth’s surface, caused by nature or influenced by humans. For the past decade, sinkholes have captivated the attention of many people, more than ever, as this phenomenon has devastated hundreds of homes and communities everywhere. Sinkholes are naturally caused when limestone, carbonate rock, salt beds or other rocks that can be dissolved are eroded away by groundwater circulating through them. The dissolving of these rocks happens over time, usually over the course of a few years, developing spaces and caverns below the Earth’s surface layer. Sinkholes are becoming more common to communities of people worldwide as these massive holes continue to engulf houses, cars, properties and sometimes people. The effects sinkholes have on vegetation, farmlands and the homes of many people and animals are astounding. Manmade sinkholes are a result of new construction and leaky water pipes but are especially attributed to coal mining and hydraulic fracturing.

Hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, is a controversial oil and gas producing method that relies on injecting massive amounts of water, chemicals and sand, at high pressures, into the earth to break up rocks to free up oil and gas reserves buried deep underground. Fracking sites that are located in the U.S. currently consume approximately 72 trillion gallons of water to operate yearly as it may take over a million gallons to frack a single well.

So, where does this water come from? Water that is used for fracking comes from everywhere, including rivers, creeks and lakes, but the mixture for fracking can also be purchased and transported through other companies and delivered by the truckloads or by constructing miles and miles of pipelines underground. Up to 600 different chemicals are used for the fracking mixture, including lead, mercury, methanol, ethylene glycol, uranium and the long list goes on and on. Many people do not know how much our drinking, cooking and shower water is contaminated by fracking. Our nearbygroundwater is mixed with methane gas and other toxic chemicals. Approximately 30% to 50% of fracking chemicals are recovered and the rest is left in the ground and is not biodegradable. This contaminated water has been reported to cause neurological, respiratory and digestive issues to thousands of people in the U.S. alone.

In 2012, Mexico lost 350,000 head of cattle as they starved to death due to shortage of pasture caused by a loss of water due to fracking. In 2014, water shortages and droughts have been reported in areas of California and Texas in the U.S., with Texas alone holding the trophy of maintaining over 10,000 wells for fracking, which could explain the current results of many reservoirs in west Texas being at only 25% capacity. These manufacturing companies have definitely caused a tremendous amount of suffering to plant life, animals, humans and Earth as sinkholes appear everywhere to prove the stresses of these technologies. There are more than 500,000 active natural gas wells worldwide, in 2015, which is a frightening reality for a multitude of reasons. Fracking sites have nearly tripled over a 15 year time span.

Coal mining is also making a big impact on the underground infrastructure as coal is used worldwide for steel production, cement manufacturing and liquid fuel. For example, one of China’s most popular coal cities, Jining, has been honeycombed with coal mines, leaving the people of this region terrified that thousands of homes would be left uninhabitable as sinkholes are devouring about 8 square miles of land there every year.

sink-hole caused by geothermal drilling

Many people have been displaced as this phenomenon has ultimately disrupted massive areas of farmland, causing villagers, farmers and their families to struggle for their subsistence. The people of this region owned farmland that sustained their families for hundreds of years, as most of their property belonged to their great-great-great grandparents. Coal companies are now predicting that by the year 2090, considering the rate and demand of coal production, an area as large as Los Angeles, CA will fall into the earth, leaving an estimated 5 million people forced out of this region.

Recently, in different parts of the U.S., automatic frost sensors have been built to stop crops, such as orange and strawberry, from freezing. Frost sensors depend on the heavy pumping of groundwater which sprays crops to prevent them from freezing and as a result has caused more than 100 smaller sinkholes to quickly appear in some of these areas.

Technology tries to manipulate Earth and abuse it’s natural resources as manufacturing companies become more and more ambitious, demanding higher quotas of production. If we all take an honest look at what is happening around us, humanity’s evolution has been stunted due to many occurrences, one of them being a result of this destructive behavior. The builders of these instruments, who may be recognized as some of the most intelligent people in the world, are the same ones who are assisting in destroying the natural environment around us. But are these so-called geniuses the ones to blame?… This should lead us to asking some even more serious questions. What is the inspiration behind these mass production companies? How can this behavior be stopped?

The act of consumerism can be a very tricky one in these modern times as it has been portrayed as very favorable and beneficial to the world. It is heavily promoted due to the reason that it creates more employment opportunities, sustains existing employment, in addition to a world of people gaining more immediate access to things they may never be introduced to without the business of mass production. What is certain is that we, as consumers, are the motivating forces behind the production of these materials. We have become more obsessed with our wants and desires instead of raising our consciousness to strictly what is needed for our daily survival. We work to receive a paycheck, perfect the mentality of a consumer and build these companies, making their owners multi-billionaires. The fear of these billion dollar industries is that these businesses have the potential to one day crumble after becoming unnecessary in the moment people stop spending at their hearts desire. What we should consider even more devastating is that those of us who depend on technology to survive literally do not know how to live without it!

Guatemala City Sinkhole 2007Reality has presented us with the notion of seasonal cycles. This cyclic pattern gives indication not just to human beings but to all living creatures, including plants and animals, that adaptation is vital for the purposes of stability. Our consciousness of these cycles dictates the times that are favorable for farming, harvesting, constructing, etc. Machines and robots, which can be seen as foreign objects through the eyes of nature, are introduced to the world as options to go against the cycles of nature. Meaning, these objects offer the perception that this world no longer has to submit to the rules of nature that the existence has set. For instance, if we want crops, like strawberries, that don’t normally grow during the winter season, a pipeline can be constructed deep underground to spray the crop to prevent freezing.

We must raise our awareness of what Earth provides to sustain us and when the Earth will provide it to us – this is an approach we must take in order to ensure we are not maintaining a position of a destroyer of the Earth. Perhaps a start would be to begin boycotting the purchases of produce that is available off season. Those who have the discipline to survive in nature can adapt to this reality and prepare for what the next season will offer in order to sustain us. In addition, we must reduce our purchases of plastics goods and pharmaceutical drugs, and find alternative solutions for travel that lessen the use of gasoline.

Regardless of our opinions, feelings, ideas or thoughts, the Earth provides us with all of our natural resources, but instead of respecting what it has loaned us, we exploit it and it is becoming more apparent that the Earth is communicating that this behavior is highly unfavorable. Sinkholes are appearing more than before and have stirred a heavy concern for human, animal and plant life. Now that this phenomenon is closer to home than our hearing about it on global news, it is time for us to take action. In 2015, sinkholes have already caused over 250 deaths and major havoc in several states in the U.S: an evacuation of homes in NJ; a farm in FL; a museum in MD; a bayou in LA; they are everywhere. With every sinkhole that will appear due to the ambition of human beings we must analyze what we may have done to contribute to this disastrous outcome and change our greedy behaviors. It is time for us to remind ourselves that the Earth doesn’t need us to survive, but on the contrary, we need it. Until the modern world can submit to this reality, the Earth will continue to retaliate against those who have the mission of taking it for granted. We need to embrace the notion of humility in order to admit that nobody knows everything and that our survival largely depends on our ability to adapt to what the Earth provides for us in its own timing.

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