Watching Josh Fox’s new documentary film, GasLand, nominated for an Academy award, I had to admire his bravery as a film maker. The work was awarded the Special Jury Prize at Sundance 2010, and shows the effects of using water pressure to fracture deep underground rock beds with toxic chemicals to push gas up to the surface, for use and sale. Not a great idea. Josh and his team show what they found travelling around the country and observing fracking, the effect on the land, the little animals, the people, and the water supply–which actually catches on fire explosively right out of the tap in some horrific footage.
My daughter interned on the film during the editing phase, and so I heard a lot about Josh and the movie when they were finalizing it. Seeing the documentary myself when it was shown here in the city was something else entirely. Parts of his footage are from remote rural areas very like the places where I grew up in New York. Although he’s from PA, it looks and feels much the same. Seeing the people who lived by the frack sites was heartbreaking really, because I remembered how many people where I grew up, like them, so often felt that we had no voice. Preserving the safety of the air, the water, the earth seems so central to me, but maybe you have to live right there in the middle of it to feel it to your core.
We are all so intimately connected with the air and water. What was water in the ground is soon swimming around through my heart and veins and bits of it integrate into my DNA and skin and hair, and yet then shortly thereafter most of that water is down in the sewers and back in the earth again.
This photo is of the graveyard next to the church where I grew up, and I used to play around in there when my mom was in playing the organ at the church. I just hope the dear people who live in areas like this can contine to rest in peace when the time comes, and that it won’t be because someone poisoned their water to sell a little more natural gas.