And the debate over environmental protection rages on. It's a battleground, sure to become a major talking point in the upcoming presidential elections. Currently, the EPA is under serious attack by the Republican Party, because apparently they don't care about their grandchildren having clean air to breathe and fresh water to drink. Serious research into clean, renewable energy makes absolute sense, but for some reason which is baffling to all clearly-thinking people, the conservative-minded reject the idea of finding solutions through solar or wind power. Here in Kentucky, the very mention of coal can start fists raising, torches burning, and pitchforks ready for riot. Elsewhere in the country there is another demon: drilling for natural gas. Thus is the topic of Josh Fox's 2010 documentary Gasland.
Fox received a much-deserved Oscar nomination for this film (although it lost to the unbearably inferior Inside Job – the worst of the documentaries nominated that year). Fox explores the concept of fracking, in which layers of subterranean rock are shattered to release the natural gas, which can then be pumped out. This process plays hell on the environment, which is especially bad news for people who live in the area. The gas seeps into their water supply, killing crops and animals and infecting residents. In a particularly memorable scene, a man demonstrates the flammability of his tap water, lighting it aflame as it runs from the faucet. Of course, gas companies are deaf to the pleas of the little people – there is money to be made, after all. And this is America – the land of opportunistic greed at the help of the commoners. Ayn Rand would be proud.
OurEarthNow Youth Group presents a free screening of Gasland tomorrow, Saturday, at 7:00. The film will be shown at the Mammoth, located at 744 S. 13th Street. Gasland will be followed by Fox's more recently made short film The Sky Is Pink, as well as discussion. More information about the screening can be found here.
Image: Internet Movie Database