Most Americans Don’t Know What Fracking Is

You know what fracking is, right? If not, we’re here to help

Shale gas in America
Shale gas in America Energy Information Administration

In April of this year the Pew Research Center released a report saying that nearly half of Americans were fans of fracking, while the other half either didn’t like it or didn’t have an opinion on the matter. What’s interesting about this is that, according to a new study by the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication, most Americans, when asked, don’t even know what fracking is. Of the 1061 people the Yale project polled, only 9 percent said they knew “a lot” about fracking, 38 percent knew “some” or “a little” about it, while 39 percent people said they’d never heard of it. A super helpful 13 percent of the people didn’t know what they knew.

According to the Yale research, 58 percent of the people didn’t have an opinion on whether fracking is good or bad, while the rest were split down the middle as to whether they liked it or loathed it. Maybe the Pew team caught a particularly well-informed bunch, or maybe people just like to have opinions on things.

So for all the fakers out there, or for the people too shy to say anything, here we offer a (very) brief crash course on fracking, an introductory video by Philipp Dettmer that hits many of the major perks and pitfalls that the technology offers:

Fracking explained: opportunity or danger

If you want to know more, Smithsonian Magazine has written a fair bit about the opportunities…

Thanks to the Gas Boom, America Is Producing More Fuel Than Russia Or Saudi Arabi
Is Shale the Answer to America’s Nuclear Waste Woes?
Where in the World Will the Fracking Boom Visit Next?
Two Companies Want to Frack the Slopes of a Volcano

…and hazards of fracking:

Researchers Find Fracking Might Cause Earthquakes After All
‘Fracking’ for Natural Gas Is Linked With Earthquakes
Oklahoma’s Biggest-Ever Earthquake Was Likely Man-Made
Radioactive Wastewater From Fracking Is Found in a Pennsylvania Stream
Live Closer to a Gas Well, And There’s Likely More Gas in Your Water

Get the latest stories in your inbox every weekday.