Israel Palestinian Conflict

Background information on the Israel Palestinian Conflict


Much of the Middle East, including Palestine, had been under control of the Ottoman Empire for nearly 400 years before the outbreak of World War 1. Primarily inhabited by Arab Muslims (86%) with a small portion of the population being Christian (10%) and Jews (4%), these different ethnicities lived relatively peacefully together for a very long time.  The conflict began to erupt near the end of the 19th century, when the Jewish religious aspiration to return to Zion and re-establish the Jewish Nation in their homeland became more and more popular. Although this had been a religious thought for the Jews for nearly a thousand years, this offered a solution to the recent widespread prosecution of Jews that was taking place due to anti-Semitism in Russia and Europe. This resulted in the Zionist movement being created in 1897. This movement promoted the immigration of Jews into Palestine and even called for the creation of a nation state. It is reported that the conflict began in 1882, with the accidental shooting of an Arab man by a Jewish guard, and simply escalated from there with the rivalry getting larger and larger as the years progressed and more Zionists immigrated into Palestine.

During the First World War the Ottoman Empire sided with Germany. As a result, Britain convinced those in the Palestinian region to revolt against the Ottomans promising them that in return they would support the establishment of an independent Arab state. In 1917 Lord Arthur Balfour who was the British Foreign Minister contradicted this to gain support of the Jewish population by issuing the Balfour Declaration. It announced the British Empire’s support for the establishment of a National Homeland for the Jews in Palestine. Although it did protect the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities, it further escalated the conflict.

After the collapse of the Ottoman Empire at the end of World War 1, the League of Nations granted Britain control over Palestine and Transjordan, which are our modern day Israel, Jordan, West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Just before the outbreak of World War 2 the amount of Jews immigrating to the “Holy Land” increased dramatically due to the persecution of European Jews by the Nazi’s and then the Holocaust. The Arabs living in the vicinity perceived this exponential increase of the Jewish population as a threat and wanted to limit the number of Jews arriving. This resulted in numerous conflicts between the Jewish immigrants and the Palestinians supported by neighbouring Arab states.

It wasn’t until 1947 that the United Nations decided to intervene in the conflict. Instead of allowing the people to create their own state and system of government, they decided to divide up the land themselves. Due to the massive pressure being placed on the UN by the Zionists, the UN proposed that 55% of Palestine be given towards the creation of a Jewish state, even though the Jews only accounted for 30% of the total population and only owned 7% of the land. In this proposition Jerusalem and Bethlehem would be placed under the control of the United Nations. With the Arabs losing the majority of their land and the Jews not gaining control of Jerusalem which contained a large Jewish population at the time, both sides were unsatisfied with the partition plan. On November 29th 1947 the UN General Assembly voted on the partition plan. The result was that 33 countries voted in favour, 13 countries opposed it and 10 countries abstained from the vote. Those who rejected the plan included the Arabs in Palestine and the surrounding Arab states. The Arabs decided that they would attempt to bring the UNs decision to the International Court of Justice as they did not believe that the UN should have the ability to partition a country against the wishes of the majority of its inhabitants, although they were defeated.

Nearly as soon as this plan was approved attacks broke out against the Jewish population living in what was to have been the new Palestinian state. Throughout the resulting war Zionist forces outnumbered all Arab and Palestinian forces combined, sometimes by as much as 3 to 1. By the end of this was Israel had taken control of nearly 80% of Palestine, destroying over 500 towns and villages and leaving 750,000 Palestinians in refugee status. In an attempt to erase the Palestinian culture the Israelis then redrew the map of the area replacing all pre-existing names with new Hebrew names.

The next major attack occurred in 1967 when Israel simultaneously attacked Jordan, Egypt, and Syria in a pre-emptive strike against the Arab troops along its borders. Israel was able to capture key pieces of land, such a Golan Heights to the north of Syria, the West Bank from Jordan and the Gaza Strip from Egypt. In this 6 day war Israel nearly doubled in size, although since then negotiations have been in place with the UN to return this land to the pre 1967 states as it is stated in international that acquiring territory by war is inadmissible. During this 6 day war Israel also attacked a US Navy Ship, the USS Liberty, killing and injuring over 200 Americans.

Since then there have been multiple attacks between Israel and neighbouring states and still today there are many key issues that have not yet been resolved. There are two major factors which have had the largest contribution to this long lasting conflict. Firstly, there is the fact that Israel is an ethnically preferential state and that Palestinian refugees are not allowed to return to their homes that are situated in the Israeli territory. Secondly, there is Israel’s continued military occupation of land in the West Bank and control over Gaza, which leaves the Palestinians with very little control over their lives. It is estimated that there is over 10,000 Palestinian men and women who are being held captive in Israeli prisons, most of whom never had access to a fair trial and are frequently being subjected to abuse and torture. Palestinian borders are also controlled by Israeli forces that often block food and medicine from entering into Gaza all contributing to the humanitarian crisis.

Israel Palestinian Conflict Timeline

1250 BC Israelites began to conquer and settle the land on the eastern Mediterranean coast

63 BC The Jewish state, Judea, was incorporated into the Roman province of Palestine.

133 AD Under the Roman Emperor Hadrian’s rule Jews were exiled after an attempted revolt against the Romans.

638 AD The state of Palestine was conquered by Arab Muslims.

1897 AD The World Zionist Organization was founded at the first ever Zionist Congress, which was held in Basle, Switzerland. Their primary purpose was to discuss ideas set forth by Theodor Herzl who believed that Jews should have their own state, primarily due to the anti-Semitism which was taking place throughout Europe and Russia. They believed that they should make this Jewish state in Palestine, as that had significant historical importance for the Jewish culture. Before this date many Zionist immigrants had already began to arrive in Palestine, mainly from Eastern Europe.

1903 AD There was now over 25,000 Zionist immigrants living alongside half a million Arabs in Palestine.

1904 – 1914 AD 40,000 more Zionist immigrants arrived to the region.

1916 AD The British Commissioner in Egypt, Sir Henry McMahon, had promised independence to former Ottoman Arab provinces. Although at the same time Britain and France with the assent of Imperial Russia had a secret plan to divide the region amongst themselves, as stated in the Sykes-Picot Agreement (16th May 1916).

1917 AD The British Foreign Minister Arthur Balfour offered Britain’s support for the creation of a national Jewish homeland in Palestine, as stated in a letter to leading Zionist Lord Rothschild. This letter became known as the Balfour Declaration.
1920 AD On the 25th of April Britain was assigned mandatory power over Palestine by the League of Nations.

1922 AD About 11% of Palestine’s 750,000 residents are now Jews.

1929 AD Zionist and Arab antagonism finally breaks out into violence when 133 Jews were killed by Palestinians and 110 Palestinians died in the custody of British police.

1937 AD In July of this year, due to the continuous violence between the Zionists and Arabs, Britain proposed the partitioning of Palestine into 2 separate states although the suggestion was declined by Arab and Palestinian representatives.

1947 AD Britain handed over the responsibility of solving the Arab-Zionist problem to the United Nations due to the seemingly unresolvable unrest within Palestine. The situation had just become much more critical as hundreds of thousands of Jews were fleeing the Nazi forces in Europe.  The United Nations decided to setup a special committee for this issue, which had the suggestion yet again to split up Palestine into two separate states. 56.47% of Palestine would be given towards the creation of a Jewish State, 43.53% would be given to the Arab state and the United Nations would remain in control of Jerusalem. Also the General Assembly voted in favour of the plan, the Palestinians rejected it and it was never put in place.

1948 AD On May 14th Israel was finally declared its own state. The next day neighbouring Arab states attacked Israel but were unable to beat the Israeli forces. As a result, Egypt kept the Gaza Strip while Jordan annexed the area around Eastern Jerusalem known as the West Bank. In total these territories had made up about 25% of Palestine.

1964 AD Arab governments decided to create a Palestinian organisation called the Palestine Liberation organisation (PLO) which to this day is the only legitimate representative of the Palestinian people.

1967 AD A 6 day war broke out due to mounting tensions between Israel and its Arab neighbours. It began June 5th and ended June 11th. During these 6 days Israel seized Gaza and the Sinai from Egypt, Golan Heights from Syria and pushed Jordanian forces out of the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Egypt’s extremely powerful air force was bombed while on ground by Israeli jets in a pre-emptive strike on the first day of fighting giving Israel a large advantage. In the end the Israelis nearly doubled the amount of territory they controlled while also showing the neighbouring Arab nations just how powerful they were, although the UN Security Council stated that any territory obtained through war was inadmissible and called for the withdrawal of all Israeli troops from the newly obtained territory. The UN claimed that this conflict displaced another 500,000 Palestinians who fled to the neighbouring Arab nations.

1973 AD Unable to regain the territory they had lost in 1967 through diplomatic reasoning, Egypt and Syria launched attacks on Israel in an attempt to retrieve it forcefully. Although at first they did gain some territory, Israel eventually pushed them back farther than they had been before. The USA, Soviet Union and UN all intervened and brought a ceasefire agreement into effect although it is estimated that Egypt and Syria jointly lost 8500 men, while Israel lost approximately 6500. The result of this war was that Israel was now much more dependent upon outside nations, primarily the United States for diplomatic and economic support. It is estimated that at this current time, the United States is giving Israel about 7million dollars daily, making it the largest recipient of US funds in history.

1972 AD The PLO, under Yasser Arafat’s leadership began to launch a series of attacks on Israelis and other targets. An example of such an attack was the Munich Olympics, where 11 Israeli athletes were killed.

1974 AD Yasser Arafat made his first appearance at the United Nations looking for a peaceful solution to the issue which was a turning point in Palestine’s search for international recognition of their cause.

1977 AD The Egyptian President Anwar Sedat flew into Israel and made a speech in front of the Israeli parliament. He was the first Arab leader to actually recognise Israel as a separate state, this coming only 4 years after Egypt had launched several attacks upon Israel.

1978 AD Egypt and Israel signed the Camp Davis accords which outlined peace for the Middle East and returned the Sinai Peninsula to Egypt which had been seized in the 1967 war. Because Egypt had negotiated a separate peace treaty with Israel, other Arab nations were furious and boycotted Egypt altogether.

1981 AD Egyptian President Anwar Sedat was assassinated by a member of the Egyptian army who opposed peace with Israel. This was done during national celebrations marking the anniversary of the war.

1982 AD Israeli forces invaded Lebanon and massacred hundreds of Palestinians located in refugee camps.

1987 – 1993 AD Mass uprising of Palestinians began in Gaza and quickly spread to the west bank. What began as civil disobedience, general strikes, boycotts on Israeli products, graffiti and barricades quickly escalated to stone-throwing demonstrations against Israeli troops. It is reported that over 1000 Palestinians died in these uprisings.

1988 AD The PLO viewed the uprisings as a threat to their role as a key player in the Palestinian revolution and decided something had to be done. The Palestinian National Council then gathered in Algeria and voted to accept partition resolution 181 which had been proposed by the UN back in 1947 which would partition the land into 2 separate states and resolution 338 which would require Israel to withdraw from any territory captured in the 1967 war. The United States began to talk with the PLO, but Israel viewed them as a terrorist organisation and refused to negotiate.

1993 AD When Yitzhak Rabin was elected in Israel in 1992 peace with the Palestinians was one of his main interests.  Possibly the largest step forward was when Rabin and Yasser Arafat signed the Declaration of Principles on the White House lawn which was watched by over 400 million people.

1994 AD Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organisation reached an agreement in Cairo which would begin the initial implementation of the Declaration of Principles. It included the withdrawal of Israeli forces from most of the Gaza strip and the town of Jericho in West Bank.

1995 AD Conflict continued throughout the first year of Palestinian self-rule, and peace was jeopardized as Prime Minister Rabin was killed by a Jewish extremist.

1996 – 1999 AD Conflict returned and reaching peace began to once again become further and further away as the newly elected Prime Minister Binyamin “Bibi” Netanyahu was unable to uphold the peace deals.

2000 AD US president Bill Clinton hosts a talk with Arafat and Israeli premier Ehud Barak. After 2 weeks of discussion the parties were unable to come up with a solution to the status of Jerusalem and the return of the Palestinian refugees. As a result the second intifada (uprising) of the Palestinian population against the Israeli occupation began.

2003 AD The United States published a roadmap which outlined the step by step process to negotiating a Palestinian state. Although the negotiations were coming along very nicely, they crumbled apart as a result of Palestinian suicide bombings, Israeli raids and targeted killings.

2004 AD Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat died of a mysterious blood disorder.

2005 AD Mahmoud Abbas is elected as the new Palestinian leader, and meets with Israel premier Ariel Sharon in Egypt and declare mutual ceasefire. Israel then carried out their part of the agreement and withdrew all settlers and soldiers from the Gaza Strip.

2007 AD Mahmoud Abbas and new Israeli premier Ehud Olmert restart negotiations in Annapolis, Maryland.

2008 AD Israel begins a 22 day military operation in the Gaza strip; as a result Palestine promptly ended talks with them.

2010 AD Palestinian officials begin to talk about UN membership for a Palestinian state modeled along the lines of what things were like before the 1967 7 day war.

2011 AD The lead Palestinian negotiator, Saeb Earakat declared that gaining UN admittance of a Palestinian state is their official strategy. Obama then urged to the United Nations General assembly that negotiations are required in order for a Palestinian state to be formed.












Application of Law for the Israel Palestinian Conflict

Through the Israel – Palestinian conflict, Israel alone has violated countless international laws, and continues to do so to this day. For starters with the creation of Israel (1947 – 1954) they violated 5 different international laws.

  1. 1. Illegal Acquisition of Land by Force – During the 1948 war Israel annexed land which was obtained through the use of force.
  2. 2. Forbidding Civilians the Right to Return to their Homes Following the End of Armed Conflict – The Israeli government created laws and used their military to prevent approximately 750,000 Palestinians from returning to their homes following the end of fighting in both 1948 and 1967. Israel then continued on to violate the United Nations resolutions ordering them to respect the rights of Palestinians to return home.
  3. 3. Illegal Population Transfer – Israel settled their citizens in Israeli settlements which were located on occupied land which was not given to them in the United Nations partition plan.
  4. 4. Destruction of Holy Places, and Interfering with Ministers of Religion Performing their Religious Duties – Israel destroyed manyMuslim holy places and also interfered with the religious work on Muslim ministers.
  5. 5. Illegal Practice of Collective Punishment – There have been multiple instances where collective punishment has been practiced by the Israelis in cases were entire Palestinian communities have been punished for the rebellious acts of a few.

Those were simply the laws violated through the creation of Israel. Throughout Israeli statehood (1948 to present) they yet again committed illegal practice of collective punishment, while also committing practice of racism, practice of apartheid and violation of Arab family unity. Furthermore throughout Israeli Occupation they executed illegal military occupation, illegal modification of local law, illegal de facto annexation, violation of rights to self-determination and genocide. The Zionists who triggered the whole event have also been accused with violation of human rights, violations of UN resolutions and practice of ethnic cleansing.

Although the Israelis did violate a significant number of laws, the Palestinians had their fair share of international law violations as well. Under the laws of war, many of the Palestinian attacks were illegal due to the fact that they did not comply with the rule of distinction, which requires combatants to aim their attacks at legitimate targets. This means that each one of the nearly 6000 rocket and mortar attacks by Palestinian terrorists on civilian targets in Israel is considered to be a war crime. Due to Jews being the intended targets of these attacks, they are also in violation of the Genocide Convention. Under international law each one of the Palestinians involved in these attacks are also considered to be a terrorist as the intended targets were civilians. Therefore Palestinian authorities located in Gaza anti-terrorism provisions of international law, as they have provided a safe haven for Palestinian terrorists, and are themselves considered to be terrorists. Palestinian terrorist groups have also held Israeli soldiers, such as Gilad Shalit, with no communication and out of reach of the Red Cross which is a clear violation of international law concerning prisoners of war.





Work Cited

“A Synopsis of the Israel/Palestine Conflict.” If Americans Knew. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Jan. 2012. <>.

“History of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict.” Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. N.p., 9 Jan. 2012. Web. 14 Jan. 2012. <>.

“International law and the Arab–Israeli conflict.” Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. N.p., 11 Dec. 2011. Web. 14 Jan. 2012. <>.

“Israel and the Palestinians.” BBC News. N.p., n.d. Web. <>.

“Munich massacre.” Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. N.p., 9 Jan. 2012. Web. 14 Jan. 2012. <>.

“STUDY GUIDE : International Law & Israel.” Israel Law Resource Center. N.p., Feb. 2007. Web. 15 Jan. 2012. <>.

“Timeline of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict .” The Telegraph. N.p., 23 Sept. 2011. Web. 14 Jan. 2012. <>.

“Timeline of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict.” Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 9 Jan. 2012. <>.

“Yasser Arafat.” Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. N.p., 5 Jan. 2012. Web. 14 Jan. 2012. <>.

Fox, Dennis. “Law, Justice, and Reconciliation in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Comments and Questions from a Visiting Critical Psychologist.” Fox Professing. N.p., 19 Dec. 2006. Web. 14 Jan. 2012. <>.

Weiner, Justus R., and Avi Bell. “International Law and the Fighting in Gaza .” Global Law Forum. N.p., 5 Jan. 2009. Web. 15 Jan. 2012. <>.

How Solar Energy Works

Each and every day enough more than enough sunlight passes through our atmosphere to power our entire planet for a year. Considering that by 2040 it is estimated that 50% of our energy will be coming from renewable sources, that solar panels have essentially no negative impact on our environment, that they are relatively easy to create, and that they are becoming more and more cost effective – it is obvious solar energy is going to play a major role in our future.

Cost is clearly the largest downfall when considering solar cells are a viable source for renewable energy. Compared to other leading energy sources such as coal, oil, and natural gas it is significantly more expensive – mainly the original installation which costs upwards of 30,000$ for the typical family. The main reasons for these higher prices are the lack of competition in the market and lobbying against solar energy by fossil fuel companies. With that being said, solar panel prices are continuously dropping as demand increases, while becoming more and more efficient at the same time. Government rebates as well as tax credits can also give you around 30% back on your investment right away. Not only this, but you can actually make money off residual energy being sent back into the power grid. In the long run it is an extremely good investment. For example let’s say your monthly energy bill is 250$, that means that in the next year you will spend 3,000$, in the next 10 years you will spend approximately 41,449.34, and 30 years 283,382.36 (taking inflation into account). Although solar energy most likely wouldn’t be able to cover all of your monthly energy needs, it could reduce your bill by 80%, saving you over 2,400$ a year. Considering a 30,000$ system will pay itself back in 10 to 15 years, and the average lifespan of a solar panel system is 25 years you will be getting the majority of your energy for free for 15 years, a time period when energy prices will be at an all-time high.

Solar energy has essentially zero negative impact on the environment in comparison to traditional fossil fuel energy sources. The only potential dangers that it poses to the environment are leftover materials used in the creation of the solar panels such as silicon tetrachloride which if not disposed of properly could pose a risk to the environment. Solar panels also require a fairly large amount of energy to make, which pollutes the air, creates heavy metal emissions, and also releases greenhouse gasses.

The way solar energy production works is actually quite simple. Essentially photons released from the sun come in contact with a semiconductor, the semiconductor absorbs these photons, and finally energy from the photons knocks electrons inside the semiconductor free generating an electric current, although there is a little more to it than just that.

In order to get electrons flowing and creating electricity, an imbalance in charge must be created. This is done by “doping” a semiconductor, such as silicon in this case, with an element such as phosphorus. Phosphorus has five valence electrons, so when you mix it with silicon the result is 1 electron which is easy to move. When this electron is removed, you get a negative charge, also called N-Type silicon. The next step is to dope a separate sheet of silicon, except this time with boron. In this case the opposite happens, a positive charge is created in the silicon – also known as P-Type silicon. This P-Type silicon is looking to gain an electron. When you put the two together a PN Junction is formed. Electrons rush over from the N-Type silicon into the P-Type silicon filling in any available holes, but there aren’t enough. Eventually, equilibrium is reached and an electric field is formed in the middle. These are simply examples of materials which can be used; it can also be done with many others.

Now, once light hits the solar cell it dislodges electrons that are close to the electric field in the middle and sends them off to the other side creating further imbalance in charges. When an external current path is added, electrons are able to make their way back over to the other side and fill in the holes once more – while at the same time doing work. The result is very simple; the electrons provide a current while the electric field in the middle provides voltage. These two combined create power.

Although as of now commercially available solar panels only have an efficiency rate of around 20%, year by year scientists have been able to increase this number which brings great hope for the future. Even though solar panels may not be the best option today, they most certainly will be down the road.

Problems and solutions to hydraulic fracturing

Basically, the pollution caused by hydraulic fracturing cannot be resolved in a cost effective manner. The fact that nearly all aspects of it are fairly significant pollutants means the whole hydraulic fracturing process would need to be completely reformed.  The first and most likely the most significant pollutant is the fracking fluid used to fracture the shale deep down in the ground. This is composed of a variety of different chemicals and compounds, many of which are extremely dangerous for our environment such as hydrochloric acid. On certain occasions, this fluid may spill out of the fracking well or simply leak into the nearby environment killing all in its path. In order to resolve this issue to minimize pollution the hydraulic fracturing companies could create barriers to prevent the fluid from dissipating into the environment. Once the fluids are of no more use, instead of letting them settle in a pond companies could treat them in an environmentally friendly manner onsite reducing carbon emissions which brings me onto my next point; the amount of gas the trucks use to transport water to the fracking sites is tremendous. To fracture one well it will take approximately 1112 truckloads of water, sand, fracturing fluids, equipment and other necessary products and tools. (*Truck Traffic) This results in an enormous amount of carbon emissions and smog in the fracturing regions. There really is no way this can be resolved in this current period of time. Potentially in the future if we have less polluting ways of transporting materials then this pollutant factor of fracking could be resolved, but yet again the fact that a well can require up to 15million litres of water to frack is a waste of a precious resource in itself. Potentially is they find a less resource demanding way to extract the natural gas from the shale, by maybe using a different method to create the fractures this would reduce the pollution on that part. The third and also quite a major pollutant is the natural gas that seeps out of the shale and up through the earth. When a fracture takes place cracks are created in the shale letting out the natural gas. Although the majority goes through the tunnel created and is captured at the surface, some of it may escape up to the surface. This can contaminate wells, rivers and essentially just destroy the environment as well as pollute the air. This can easily be avoided if the team doing the fracture takes extra precautions to not over fracture the well and has the proper fracturing fluid.

Government regulations of Hydraulic Fracturing

The process of Hydraulic Fracturing began in the United States, although it is moving its way to Canada due to the vast amount of shale that can be exploited. At the current time it’s mainly been practiced on the east coast.  There really aren’t very many regulations on the process of hydraulic fracturing seeing as it’s a fairly new technology, and most people don’t know if it’s bad or good and any regulations that have been put into effect vary from province to province. The Premier of Nova Scotia, Darrell Dexter, stated that he wanted to wait and see what happens in other places before he made any regulations regarding hydraulic fracturing. Quebec has made the decision to temporarily suspend hydraulic fracturing until more information on the process and its risks become available, and there are currently no hydraulic fracturing operations taking place in Nova Scotia at the present time.  The New Brunswick government is also reviewing the practice of hydraulic fracturing after there was an incident of well water contamination and are contemplating the implementation of new regulations regarding the matter. The Canadian government is trying to decide on which regulations to impose to protect the environment while not limiting the potential that the industry has. (*Too soon for fracking regulation: Premier) Even if no main regulations have been imposed on hydraulic fracturing, all cases of natural gas production are mandated to separate and protect drinking water and or ground water from the natural gas operations.. (*Shale Gas) In 2004 in the United States, the EPA published a report stating that hydraulic fracturing posed “little or no threat” to drinking water. After this report they declined all further studies related to the issue. Although the regulations vary from location to location, companies are generally forced to disclose all chemicals used in the fracturing process, as well as disclose the concentrations of the chemicals used once the fracture has been completed. (*EPA Findings on Hydraulic Fracturing Deemed Unsupportable)

Is this regulation sufficient?

In my personal opinion the process of hydraulic fracturing needs to be heavily regulated in order to prevent the destruction of our environment. After watching gaslands I saw that many people inhabiting the regions surrounding “fracking” operations were being fairly seriously harmed, not only due to natural gas escaping from the ground into the air but also from hydraulic fracturing fluid spills. Without proper regulation hydraulic fracturing will contaminate our water sources and kill our environment. The concentration of natural gas entering people’s wells was so high that in some cases people could actually light their water on fire. I believe that the EPA should further investigate the process of hydraulic fracturing and the harmful effects that it can have on the regions surrounding the operations.

How is hydraulic fracturing harmfull?

29 chemicals used (and where used in large quantities) by the hydraulic fracturing companies where listed as either known possible human carcinogens, where regulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act due to the risks they posed to our health, or where listed as air pollutants under the Clean Air Act.

Methanol is a colorless liquid that also contains a pungent smell. The use of methanol carries along many different dangers and risks due to its explosiveness of the chemical and also the fact that it’s extremely toxic. The ingestion or even just the absorption of methanol through skin in small amounts (as little as one ounce) can cause irreversible injuries to your nervous system, blindness, or even in some cases death. (*MSDS Number 2016)

Under the clean air act, Ethylene Glycol is considered a hazardous air pollutant. (*Hydraulic Fracturing Report) It is odourless, colorless, and has a sweet taste to it. Its sweet taste makes it even more dangerous, due to the fact that people are more likely to consume it in large, lethal, quantities. (*Ethylene glycol) If ingested it is considered to be hazardous, and is slightly hazardous if it comes in contact with your skin, eyes, or if inhaled. If someone is exposed too often to large quantities of it they will most likely die. (*Material Safety Data Sheet Ethylene glycol MSDS)

Diesel, the third most commonly used ingredient in the hydraulic fracturing fluid is classified as being a known human carcinogen, is regulated under the Safe Water Drinking Act due to the risks that it poses to health, and is also considered to be a hazardous air pollutant under the Clean Air Act.. (*Hydraulic Fracturing Report) It’s MSDS information states that it is harmful for the environment, that it may have long term effects on aquatic life, that it may cause damage to lungs if swallowed, it may cause severe skin irritation and is extremely flammable. (*Diesel MSDS)

Industrial process of hydraulic fracturing

Hydraulic fracturing or also commonly known as fracking is currently the most popular and cost effective way of extracting natural gas from the earth. Although it’s mainly being done in the United States, companies in Canada are becoming more and more interested in it. The whole process starts off with a well being dug. Depending on the area, this well can be up to 10000 feet deep and then continues on horizontally. Once the well has been dug, hundreds of tanker trucks deliver water to the fracking site. Once there, a “pumper truck” mixes sand and other chemicals into the water, all essential for the fracture to work efficiently. This mixture is then pumped at an extremely high pressure down the well, causing the shale to crack. Debris and other things that get in the way are dissolved by the chemicals and the fractures are held open by the sand particles, this allows for the natural gas to flow up and out of the well. Once the gas exits the well, it is contained and then sent down pipes. This transports it to the market where it is sold. The water recovered from the process is stored in open pits where it sits for a while, and then it is transported by tanker trucks to a treatment plant. (*Hydraulic Fracturing: What is hydraulic fracturing?)

Why are we creating Hydraulic Fracturing pollution

The process of hydraulic fracturing has one goal, to extract as much natural gas from the shale as possible. We use natural gas for a variety of different things, including the heating for your home and water, cooking, transportation, energy generation and so much more. (*Use of Natural Gas) The majority of people use natural gas every day of their lives in one way or another. Seeing as hydraulic fracturing is currently the most cost effective way of extracting natural gas from the earth, many companies see this as a fairly easy way to get rich. At the present time, the only way to cost effectively extract natural gas from the shale requires the use of toxic chemicals, which on certain occasions may spill out into the environment.

Hydraulic Fracturing Project Bibliography

“Hydraulic Fracturing Fluids – Composition and Additives.” – Earth Science News, Maps, Dictionary, Articles, Jobs. 23 May 2011. <>.

“Hydraulic Fracturing Report.” Committee on Energy and Commerce Democrats. 18 Apr. 2011. 23 May 2011. <>.

“MSDS Number 2016.” WORLD NATURAL HEALTH ORGANIZATION. 01 Apr. 2001. 23 May 2011. <>.

“Hydraulic Fracturing Fact Sheet.” WORC. July 2009. 23 May 2011. <>.

“Use of Natural Gas.” by Design. 23 May 2011. <>.

“Too soon for fracking regulation: Premier.” CBC News. 17 Mar. 2011. 23 May 2011. <>.

“Shale Gas.” Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers. 23 May 2011. <>.

“EPA Findings on Hydraulic Fracturing Deemed Unsupportable.” Union of Concerned Scientists. 23 May 2011. <>.

“Truck Traffic.” Argyle Bartonville Communitites Alliance. 23 May 2011. <>.

“Methanol.”  Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 23 May 2011. <>.

“Ethylene glycol.” Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 13 Mar. 2011. 23 May 2011. <>.

“Hydraulic Fracturing: What is hydraulic fracturing?” ProPublica. 23 May 2011. <>.

“Material Safety Data Sheet Ethylene glycol MSDS.” Science Lab. 23 May 2011. <>.

“Diesel MSDS.” Laboratory Chemicals, Abbey Chemicals. 23 May 2011. <>.

“Diesel.” Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 23 May 2011. <>.

“Hydraulic Fracturing Fluids.” US Environmental Protection Agency. 23 May 2011. <>.

Chemical Nature of Hydraulic Fracturing

The process of Hydraulic Fracturing is currently polluting our environment in a multitude of different ways. The first and possible the most polluting aspect of hydraulic fracturing is the fracturing fluid itself. This fluid is made up primarily of water and sand, but also contains a variety of different chemicals each with its own unique function to help the process along. The main use of these chemicals is to reduce friction during the fracture. Chemicals are also added in order to prevent the growth of microorganisms in the fractures, prevent the corrosion of the metal pipes and a variety of different acids that serve a variety of different functions. Nearly all of these fluids contain sand, normally silica sand, which gets placed into the fractures.  No hydraulic fracturing well is the same, and for that reason the same volume of additives is rarely the same. (*Hydraulic Fracturing Fluids – Composition and Additives) Using over 750 different chemicals making up more than 2500 different products, each company has their own secret recipe. (*Hydraulic Fracturing Report)

Methanol (CH3OH) is the most widely used chemical in the hydraulic fracturing process, serving to dissolve rocks and open up pores in the shale. (*Hydraulic Fracturing Fact Sheet) It is considered an organic compound and an alcohol. It is completely water soluble and when released into the atmosphere will oxidize forming water and carbon dioxide. Ironically methanol is generally created from nature gas. This is done by having the methane in the natural gas undergoes a reaction called steam-methane reforming which is an endothermic reaction. This is where the methane reacts with steam, then reacts with a catalyst creating methanol and water vapour. (*Methanol)

Ethylene glycol (C2H6O2) is the second most used chemical in the hydraulic fracturing process and is used as a precursor to polymers. Ethylene is miscible with water in any amount. Ethylene glycol is produced by reacting ethylene with water, which produces ethylene glycol. The most common use for this chemical is in cars, as it’s a main component of anti-freeze although it is also commonly used as precursor to polymers. (*Ethylene glycol)

Adding diesel fuel (C12H23) to the fracturing fluid increases its viscosity, and in return improves its ability to transport the proppant. It is composed of hydrocarbons, 75% of which are saturated and the other 25% are aromatic. (*Hydraulic Fracturing Fluids) It’s generally produced from petroleum, but can also come from a variety of other sources. Diesel has essentially zero solubility in water. (*Diesel)

Conformity Essay

From things as simply as driving on the right side of the road, to as in-depth as our educational system and economy, conformity is present in a multitude of aspects of our everyday lives.  Although quite often conformity is required in order for a society to be successful, it must also be challenged on occasions where our individuality and ability to express our own thoughts is endangered.

It’s our educational system that has been created in order to bring us into a future that we can’t grasp. We are being educated as if the world is going to stay the same and are unprepared for the large changes and unpredictability that the future surely has in store.  It’s in our educational system where mistakes are stigmatized; they are essentially the worst thing you can make. Is it not from making mistakes, and being wrong that originality is created? It is the educational system that is essentially educating us out of our individuality. In nearly every public educational system there’s a hierarchy of subjects, which includes what we deem essential at the top such as mathematics while other subjects, such as the arts are deemed less useful. This is due to the fact that the educational system was invented in the nineteen hundreds in order to meet the needs and economic circumstances of the industrial revolution, and the simple fact that it was academics that brought on success, and you wouldn’t get a job, or a successful one for that matter, doing arts. We are being conformed into believing that intelligence is based off how well you do in the more “important” subjects, when in reality why shouldn’t arts be important? Why aren’t they taught as much as things such as math or literature. We truly need to rethink the fundamental principles on which students are being educated on.

As a society we worship economic growth and consumer consumption as being the basis of our economy. We have been conformed by the governmental policies into thinking that economic recessions are negative, and when they are present the population panics. In reality, after looking deeper it into this topic, it could quite possible just be the opposite. Our current economic model is based around continuous growth, and clearly, continuous growth is unsustainable. During a recession people are pushed to work smarter and harder, which in return forces us to use our creativity. This helps in the growth of our individuality and actually leads to better productivity and more breakthroughs.  We cannot continue to increase our populations, and continue to utilise all the worlds’ resources to an extent that is surely going to have consequences just as we must not rely on economic growth for a successful society.

The human imagination is extraordinary, and we truly need to view our creative capacities for the richness that they are. Although conformity is essential in order to prevent chaos, we must not be led into a system of total conformity, limiting our individualism and jeopardizing our future. Just as we need to rethink the way we educate our population, we must also rethink our economic models and principals.