Gasland screening and forum addresses public concern

(09-27-2011)

By Maddie Mansheim

“Frack no!” was the driving message resonating throughout Carson Auditorium, during the screening of the Oscar nominated documentary Gasland by filmmaker Josh Fox, on September 6. The presentation, available to the entire community, drew in students, Adams State faculty, citizens, and those simply concerned with the nature of the world they live in. After the screening, Fox answered questions via Skype. With every answer, he stressed the importance of not only each individuals contribution to the fight against oil and gas companies, but also how in all reality, “it is a team sport, [one] cannot do it alone.”

It is nearly impossible to summarize Gasland in a mere sentence. Granted, the movie’s primary focus was to expose oil and gas companies’ harmful procedures that have left several states, including Colorado, in a state of “emergency”. However, this was only the surface of the true issue. Everyday people made this movie a true success; their stories that gave it a life. Gasland emphasized how hydraulic fracking, has created an environment unfit for humans as well as virtually every animal; specifically, their water supply.

Fox asserted this problem was in fact an “emergency”, but said a “crisis can bring out the best in people”. Even though the water contamination negatively affects a person, their actions and reactions should be a positive outcome.

“We have to build this future; we have to build an [optimistic] future, especially for young people,” he said, “We’re lucky in that we are actually the generation faced with saving the planet. That’s an enormous burden, but it is also very real.”

While Fox speaks of revealing the true face of oil and gas companies, he conversely is aware that without a solution, the “building of something possible” is near to unfeasible. He encouraged locals to look at Colorado’s Oil and Gas Conservation Commission’s (COGCC) 2010, 23 page report.

“[It] points to several examples of water contamination for various types of drills, so if they’re saying ‘there is no problem’, all you have to do is print out their own report... I do not know how they are getting away with bold face lies contradicting their own reporting when it comes to the media. It is a cynical unfortunate reality that I expect the gas industry to lie, ” Fox noted.

This awareness of the COGCC’s report, is only the beginning of fully conceptualizing the issue at hand and then forming a solution. Joy Hughes, founder of Solar Gardens Institute based in Westminster, attended the Skype conference and accentuated a core idea for an answer, solar power and eco-friendly alternatives to energy. The San Luis Valley has already begun to embark on this thought by installing various solar panel fields.

Fox also recognized how beneficial solar can be, “Creating a solar community starts to do a whole lot of things that we need to get done: to get off of fossil fuels, reduce carbon emissions, and make people more independent of oil companies.”

To further aid in the movement, advertising to offset oil and gas companies’ ads are necessary. Fox said, “Oil and gas have more money than anyone. [These companies] have spent hundreds of millions of dollars to try and advertise the truth. It is much more expensive to try and advertise a lie than it is the truth.”

He also noted how oil and gas companies will be a large factor in the upcoming campaign, “They are also going to spend an enormous amount of money on the election.” In order to counter their ads other than producing own ads that “expose the truth”, he finds person to person contact the most effective.

“Lawn signs and ads don’t win campaigns,” he said.

Adding to this notion that every individual, every person holds part of the resolution in their own hands, Fox encourages those who want to be part of this movement to get out and help. “We need to come together as one movement on this because all of our stories are interrelated. This is a civil rights struggle.”

A quote to perhaps best summarize Fox’s point, was from a deleted scene of Gasland, “You wouldn’t let people move into an industrial area, so why would you let the industrial zone move into where you live.”

If you are interested in joining the movement take a piece of Fox’s advice, make Gasland a “date movie”, “take a friend to a protest”, and simply make it a part of your “social calendar”.