The biggest benefit yielded from shale gas exploration is cited as economic stability.
From an economic development point of view this is really good news for the world.
However, from a sustainable development point of view (which integrates social, environment
AND economic considerations), shale gas extraction benefits must be weighed against concerns
of environmental & social sustainability.
“Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without
compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
-Defined by the Brundtland Report
The generally accepted model for planning for a sustainable future includes balancing three
pillars: social, environment, and economic.
No one facet of the three pillar model can take precedence over another, because
they are all interrelated and must be addressed together. As mentioned, the recent
ability and profitability of shale gas extraction promises to bolster the world economy, and if
equitable also promises to build up communities. Whether or not communities stand to
benefit, or rather which communities stand to benefit, are major concerns when it
comes to policy implementation and the upholding of human rights. Finally, the environmental
risks, benefits, and/or neutrality are hotly contested and understudied. More on that later.
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