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Jewish Energy Guide: The Lowdown on Natural Gas and Hydraulic Fracturing by Dr. Mirele Goldsmith

Summary: Dr. Mirele Goldsmith discusses natural gas and hydraulic fracturing, a new method of unconventional extraction, and weighs the risks and benefits of increased natural gas consumption. She stresses that even though natural gas emits less CO2 than coal, it is still a fossil fuel and its extraction comes with significant risks.

Natural gas is a fossil fuel formed hundreds of millions of years ago out of the decaying remains of plants and algae in ancient oceans. Natural gas is found in a variety of geological formations. In the past, natural gas wells were drilled in areas where layers of impermeable rock lay above more porous, oil and gas rich sediments containing reservoirs of gas. The gas is extracted by drilling a well through the impermeable layer to release the gas below.

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Dr. Mirele Goldsmith is the director of the Jewish Greening Fellowship, an initiative of the Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center, and principal of Green Strides Consulting. Her clients have included UJA-Federation of New York, BBYO International, the Foundation for Jewish Camp and the Supportive Housing Network of New York’s Green Housing Initiative. She is a Strategic Sustainability Consulting certified Green Auditor, and she serves on the boards of Hazon and the American Friends of the Heschel Center for Environmental Learning and Leadership. Goldsmith is also the lead organizer of Jews Against Hydrofracking. She completed her doctorate in environmental psychology at the City University of New York.



The Jewish Energy Guide presents a comprehensive Jewish approach to the challenges of energy security and climate change and offers a blueprint for the Jewish community to achieve a 14% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by September of 2014, which is the next Shmittah, or sabbatical, year in the Jewish calendar.

The Jewish Energy Guide is part of COEJL’s Jewish Energy Network, a collaborative effort with Jewcology’s Year of Action to engage Jews in energy action and advocacy.The guide was created in partnership with the Green Zionist Alliance.

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