Paula Schneider          Larry and I have several family members and friends who live in South Texas.  They own land that shelters gas and oil beneath the surface, and when the fracking frenzy began a few years ago, these individuals were approached by gas and oil industries who wanted permission to drill beneath what was previously home to wild hogs, mesquite trees, cactus plants, and thorn bushes.  Our acquaintances were faced with the decision to allow fracking to be done on their land or not.  All the ones we know decided to allow fracking – and all of them are now well on their way to becoming millionaires.  Their royalties are deposited into their bank accounts like clockwork and their lives are forever altered.

          We recently had an honest discussion with some friends that centered around what each of us would do if we were confronted with this same choice.  Even though we all agreed fracking is probably quite harmful to our mother Earth, and philosophically we do not support it, we all had to admit that we, too, would choose to allow the gas and oil to be removed from under our land and joyfully accept the unbelievable amounts of money that are being distributed, even as we speak, to the lucky landowners.

          Larry and I enjoyed a follow up conversation – one similar to exploring what we would do if we won the lottery (which some of these monthly checks I’ve heard of amount to).  And, we came up with what we felt would be a good use of our royalty checks.  We decided that we would use the majority of what we received to invest in solar and wind energy initiatives by setting up trusts that would ensure this work would continue for a very long time.  We feel that in this way, we would be “paying it forward,” as the saying goes. 

          So now I invite you to consider what you would do if you owned land that had oil and gas on it and the fracking barons approached you.  Would you agree to it?  Would you refuse the offer?