After last week’s fantastic post which lists five reasons to reconsider the shale gas boom, I really don’t have that much to add.
However, I am of the mind that science and information reporting sometimes don’t go all the way in telling a story. There is something to be said about connecting to an issue on a personal and emotional level that just can’t be done through the reading of facts and figures, no matter how alarming.
This is the reason why a film like Gasland, which TransitionKW is screening at the REEP House on September 25, at 7pm, works so well. In the film, Josh Fox, somewhat inadvertently, becomes an advocate on behalf of rural Americans that have been affected in one way or another by fracking.
Giving voice to the experiences of these rural Americans is incredibly important – particularly when the stories being told are ones that are highly damaging to the corporations and state governments that intend on profiting from the development of shale gas development.
The David (rural residents negatively impacted by fracking) vs. Goliath (large oil and gas corporations that stand to profit from this same activity) stories told in Gasland are in no way unique to the United States. Similar experiences have been documented in Canada. Burning Water, an award-winning documentary that originally aired on the CBC in 2010, follows Fiona Lauridsen, and captures her struggle to bring oil and gas giant Encana to account for contaminating her aquifer. To see the full 45-minute TV documentary, click this link.
For me, bearing witness to Lauridsen’s story, and stories like hers, is incredibly important particularly in a climate where media outlets and politicians peddle lines which suggest that the shale boom is a win-win in terms of rural job creation and emissions reductions (insofar as natural gas displaces coal – an argument that has been critiqued). Countering this rhetoric, Lauridsen’s story, and the stories told in Gasland, begs an important question: At what cost are we winning?
GASLAND screens at 7pm on September 25 at REEP Green Solutions. Click this link to RSVP. Hope to see you there!