'˜Earth overshoot day' should act as a warning to critics of green campaigners

I read with interest the report by Emily Beament in The Scotsman ( August 8), highlighting the fact that this year, the human race has already used up the annual budget of the Earth's resources, and overwhelmed the planet's capacity to absorb greenhouse gases, after only eight months.

This so-called “Earth overshoot day” is arriving earlier each year, according to the Global Footprint Network, who monitor our total impact on the planet through this annual measurement.

The organisation highlights the urgent need for a serious reduction the the world’s carbon footprint, achievable only by changing the way we live.

Then I read your editorial, which presented a completely different view. “Green campaigners” are implicitly criticised for raising environmental concerns about fracking, and the writer appears to accept damage to our planet as a necessary evil if we wish to maintain our energy-hungry lifestyles.

The writer dismisses safety concerns about fracking with a sweeping statement alleging that there is “little evidence of loss of human life and livelihoods”, in the US from shale gas extraction. A little judicious research would have revealed a less optimistic scenario.

In the US, shale gas companies never mention the potential risks to the water supplies or to the health of landowners from fracking – though they do disclose this to their shareholders. Landowners signed legally binding contracts without understanding the risks to their properties, health, and finances. Many have lived to regret this.

Scotland is a small country, so residential areas would be much closer to fracking sites than they are in the US. These communities would bear the brunt of any adverse events. Some may think that a £20,000 payout from fracking companies would be ample compensation for the latter. They should acquaint themselves with the experiences of the many Americans who have reason to regret their decision to accept this financial bait.

Carolyn Taylor

16 Gagiebank, Wellbank, Broughty Ferry