If you have ever used natural gas to heat your home or water, cook your food, or dry your clothes, the Gasland movies by Josh Fox are a must see. Gasland and Gasland Part II portray the human and environmental cost associated with the U.S. natural gas boom and President Obama’s all-of-the-above energy strategy.
In 2008, filmmaker Josh Fox received a letter informing him that his home and 19 acres on the Delaware River in Pennsylvania sit atop the Marcellus Shale Formation (which holds the largest natural gas reserve in the U.S.). The letter stated the natural gas exploration company would pay him around $100,000 if he would allow them to set up shop on his land and drill beneath it using the process of hydraulic fracturing (fracking).
Fox grabbed his camera, hit the road, and began filming Gasland.
He traveled around the country talking with and filming people who were already living with natural gas fracking operations on their land, under it, across the street, upstream, or in the neighborhood.
Gasland viewers will see and hear real-life accounts of contaminated drinking water, toxic fumes, explosions, illnesses, and destroyed property values. The movie follows the attempts of these people to get help from the corporations doing the fracking and the government agencies responsible for protecting their health and the environment.
Five years later, Fox hit the road again to film Gasland Part II in which he revisited some of the people he met during the first movie, interviewed then EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson and was arrested while attempting to film a Congressional hearing.
The Bottom Line
Josh Fox is the founder and producing artistic director of the International WOW Company. He has written, directed, and produced pieces for the stage and screen. Fox garnered media attention and accolades with the release of Gasland in 2010. The film won several awards and received a 2011 Academy Award nomination for Best Documentary. The follow-up movie, Gasland Part II was released in 2013.
The Gasland movies show real people in real settings. They are informative, occasionally shocking, and often heartrending.
The stories of the people shown in Gasland and Gasland Part II could be anyone’s stories. Imagine your life without safe water for drinking, bathing, washing dishes, doing laundry, or filling your pet’s water bowl. How would you feel if you were powerless to stop a corporation from building a natural gas drilling rig next to your child’s school? What would you do if your home was now worthless and you could not afford to abandon it and move away?
I pose these questions not to dissuade potential viewers from watching the Gasland movies but to encourage you to learn about how natural gas production affects people and the environment. Ignorance is not bliss; awareness of a problem is the first step towards solving it.
Gasland and Gasland Part II should be required viewing for all corporate executives and government officials.
I think I will ask President Obama if he has seen the movies yet.