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Environmental Values

Disturbed Earth: Conceptions of the Deep Underground in Shale Extraction Deliberations in the US and UK

Tristan Partridge, Merryn Thomas, Nick Pidgeon, Barbara Harthorn

Environmental Values 28 (2019): 641-663. doi: 10.3197/096327119X15579936382482

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ABSTRACT

Hydraulic fracturing ('fracking') has enabled the recovery of previously inaccessible resources and rendered new areas of the underground 'productive'. While a number of studies in the US and UK have examined public attitudes toward fracking and its various impacts, how people conceptualise the deep underground itself has received less attention. We argue that views on resources, risk and the deep underground raise important questions about how people perceive the desirability and viability of subterranean interventions. We conducted day-long deliberation workshops (two in each country), facilitating discussions among diverse groups of people on prospective shale extraction in the US and UK. Themes that emerged in these conversations include seeing the Earth as a foundation; natural limits (a greater burden than the subsurface can withstand versus simply overuse of natural resources); and ideas about the fragility, instability and opacity of the deep underground. We find that concerns in both countries were not limited to specific, localised impacts but also addressed ecosystem links between surface and subsurface environments and broader questions about the use, identification and value of natural resources.


KEYWORDS

Underground, environmental values, fracking, public deliberation, extraction

REFERENCES to other Environmental Values articles

Unprojected Value, Unfathomed Caves and Unspent Nature: Reply to an Editorial. Robin Attfield

Policy Decisions on Shale Gas Development ('Fracking'): The Insufficiency of Science and Necessity of Moral Thought. Darrick Trent Evensen

The Value of Nature's Otherness Simon A. Hailwood

Beauty for Ever? Keekok Lee

Nature is Already Sacred. Kay Milton

In Search of Value Literacy: Suggestions for the Elicitation of Environmental Values Theresa Satterfield

CITATIONS in other Environmental Values articles

Editorial: Knowing Your Audience: Exploring the Latent Attitudes and Values of Environmental Stakeholders. Ewan J. Woodley


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