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July 11, 2014

In Vox Populi: New article on natural gas fracking.

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We believe that the only way for society to change is for people’s voices to be heard. The subject of this dialogue is power--who has it, how is it used, and to what purpose. We welcome your participation.

--Vox Populi to online readers (April 2014)

I just published an article that focuses on the continuing and very shrill dispute over the environmental and safety issues of hydraulic fracturing--or "fracking". Fracking is a drilling method to extract natural gas from reserves underneath public and private lands that are deep and/or difficult to access. The drilling process injects liquids into, and fractures, rock or shale encasing the gas. Critics point out that fracking increases the risk of polluting ground water, soil and air in the areas of the drilling. In the article, I try y to pin down how proponents and opponents really view their arguments, and what each side really wants in the fracking controversy. Is compromise possible? Which issues? What would be a "win" for each side? It's called Commentary on NY Court of Appeals Fracking Decision.

But of equal (if not slightly more) interest to me in this post is publisher Vox Populi itself, the progressive online forum that published my essay. It was co-founded by Michael Simms, a nationally known poet, writer and editor, founder of Autumn House Press, teacher and social activist, and by Nisha Gupta, who will be Vox Populi's first editor. Gupta is also a Ph.D candidate in Clinical Psychology at Duquesne University.

About the forum's purpose, we are given more than just hints. The name comes from the proverb, Vox populi, vox De, which translate from Latin as "the voice of the people is the voice of God." Moreover, if you look at the forum's website, Vox Populi's "tagline" on each web page is A Public Sphere for the Discussion of Contemporary Politics. With these items in mind, and in view of the opening quote above, the Vox Populi forum intends to be very respectable, if not slightly wonky, grass roots clearinghouse of ideas to address real social problems: identifying them, talking about them, evening the playing fields where battles are fought, and crafting sound strategies to solve them. Issue categories already up on the Vox Populi website give us a better idea: Social Justice, War and Peace, Public Education, Environmentalism.

Posted by JD Hull at July 11, 2014 01:04 PM

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