The new Trump Administration (shudder) likely won’t be supporting climate change research starting in January (a mistake in my opinion). They are, on the other hand, likely to be all-in on the topic of my next map; fracking. Fracking is a method of extracting oil and natural gas deposits by fracturing the earth with a high-pressure liquid mixture. Here is some educational info for your perusal.
On Tuesday, November 15th, the US Geological Survey said that it had found what could be the largest deposit of untapped oil ever discovered in the United States. There could be over 20 billion barrels of oil in the region and another 1.6 billion barrels of natural gas. The value of this deposit could be $900 billion. This, according to an article by Yahoo Finance. Map 167 shows the Permian Basin where the discovery was made.
Despite the potential energy production and job creation from fracking the Permian Basin of West Texas, there are some environmental risks to fracking. “Fracking uses huge amounts of water, which must be transported to the fracking site, at significant environmental cost. Additionally, environmentalists say potentially carcinogenic chemicals used may escape and contaminate groundwater around the fracking site… There are also worries that the fracking process can cause small earth tremors” [BBC].
These potential consequences to fracking (and the many related to standard oil drilling) have me wishing our government would put more money behind renewable sources of energy. I have mentioned my love of wind and solar energy many times previously and I worry these awesome forms of energy will be pushed aside under a Trump Administration (shudder). Hopefully his government will not interfere with private corporations continuing the fight against climate change and the continued reliance upon fossil fuels. Elon Musk, famous genius and businessman, announced this past week that his company’s solar roofing products (not yet released) will ideally be cheaper than a standard roof as well as more durable, longer-lasting, and similar in appearance to current roofing options. They will, of course, provide homes with additional energy as well. A roof that eventually pays for itself? Count me in (when the price comes down and any kinks are worked out). There are rumors that President-Elect Trump (shudder) will take away tax breaks for renewable energy products and redirect funds meant for energy research to other purposes like expanding our already massive military.
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There has been considerable talk in the past week of secession by California. The hashtag #Calexit was trending on Twitter and protests throughout the country against President-Elect Trump (shudder) showed just how upset many liberals are. Countless headlines regarding the possibility of liberal-leaning California wanting out of a Trump-led country (shudder) crossed my liberal-biased Facebook and Twitter feeds this week. One such article suggested that a much larger area should somehow gain political autonomy including portions of California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Wyoming, Nevada, Alaska, and the Canadian Provinces of British Columbia and Yukon Territory. Take a look at Map 168.
This Ozy.com article written by Leslie Nguyen-Okwu states that proposals for the so-called Republic of Cascadia don’t call for a new country, exactly, but rather a semi-autonomous region inside North America, much like Spain’s Catalonia or Britain’s Scotland. “The proposed region certainly seems capable of standing on its own, with a vast swath of land that’s home to some of the world’s biggest tech titans, like Microsoft, Amazon and Boeing. Its cash flow would slot Cascadia as the 19th wealthiest nation, with a GDP almost as big as Turkey, at about $675 billion” [Ozy].
I’m not crazy. This will never happen except in a post-apocalyptic environment like in books. There are thousands of reasons this couldn’t work and only a couple why it could. That being said, it is fun to think about! I do, however, disagree with the territory chosen to form the proposed region. Nguyen-Okwu states that Cascadians have shared cultural beliefs such as being “environmentally conscious and LGBT-friendly”. I know Vancouver is a liberal city but I don’t know about the rest of British Columbia. There are far more people in California (a majority of which was left out of Cascadia) that agree with those beliefs than there are in Idaho, Wyoming, Montana and Alaska. I believe Idaho may have been included because it is part of the Cascadian Bio-Region but they do not fit the cultural argument.
Instead, I would offer a slightly different territory which I have conveniently carved from present-day North America in a map of my own. What do you think?
My version is certainly more boxy but I feel very strongly that the cultural similarities between California, Oregon, and Washington are much higher than Oregon and Washington have with Idaho and other parts of the Cascadian Bio-Region. That version of Cascadia doesn’t even contain the entirety of the Cascade Mountain Range as seen in the image below. My version snags the entire range and gives up on trying to make Idaho match the cultural ideals of the rest of the region. As for the name, Portlandia, stolen from the hit IFC television show, is my preferred name for the territory. This will never happen anyway, so why not have more fun with it!
There’s never enough maps but there is rarely enough time. I’ll be busy the rest of this holiday week leading into my high school reunion on Saturday. I hope everyone has a fantastic Thanksgiving (or a fantastic Thursday for my non-American readers) with family and friends. Don’t eat too much! I know I will but you don’t have to feel shitty along with me.