Monday, January 31, 2011

Film Reviews: Gasland (dir Josh Fox)

This week the Oscar nominations were announced for the 83rd Annual Academy Awards. You can see a full list of nominees here . Gasland is nominated for the Best Documentary category. It tackles the issue of natural gas drilling within the United States.

I'm also a big Jon Stuart fan, and  often watch The Daily Show, online. This week he welcomed guest T. Boone Pickens, BP Capitol Management. I am disappointed in the Jon Stuart for continuing the PR myth that Mr. Picken's and the  Picken's Plan are interested in the welfare of the environment and ending our dependency on foreign oil. Picken's blatantly lied on national television to American's when he said fracking doesn't cause damage to the environment or people's health. I think Stuart has a responsibility as being a prominent member of the media to ask the hard questions, and he can get away with doing so because of his charming sense of humor.   Stewart asked if the U.S. has been slow to embrace natural gas due to issues of safety, such as the harmful effects of fracking. While there are accusations that fracking contaminates the aquifer, Pickens insisted, "I have never seen that happen. And you're not talking about Ned in the first reader. I've been here. I have fracked 3,000 wells in my life... I've never seen anything damaged."  (Huffington Post) I just think Stuart could have laid into him a lot more.
 Yes America has a foreign oil dependency issue. However, it's not just foreign oil we have a dependency issue with. We have an issue with consuming non-renewable resources and fossil fuels. If congress, corporations and scientists put as much effort into research and development into clean energy (solar, wind, and tidal power) as they put into creating loop holes in the very environmental laws that were created to protect people we could get somewhere. Corporations have all they money, so they can make the rules, or at the very least buy someone who can make the rules.
    The Jon Stuart interview also represents a larger issue of politicians using creative advertising to tap into American's patriotism and interest for creating jobs in a depressed economy, while exploiting natural and human resources causing irreparable damage on the environment.

Red winged black birds dead at new years. Is fracking to blame? copyright New York Times

There was also a point in Gasland which highlighted some of the dead animals from a fracking sight. It reminded me of a smaller version of the recent events in Arkansas where thousands of birds just fell out of the air as well as fish going belly up.

Arkansas is a state that has heavy natural gas drilling  (fracking) operations in place. No wonder the official cause of these mass animal deaths is still officially "unknown".  Please,  allow me to clarify,  officials know why these animals all suddenly died, but because dead birds and fish generate bad publicity, someone at the natural gas PR firm has paid big time to keep things hush hush in the media. But don't let me tell you what to think. Watch Gasland and then remind yourself of the events in Arkansas. Put two and two together for yourself. If you have any other hypothesizes, I'd love to hear them.

I haven't yet viewed all the other films nominated for the best documentary academy award, however in my humble opinion this film does what docu does best: eviscerating real people and the situations they confront in life, looking into the causes of these problems, and starting a conversation. Life is tough, let's talk about it.  When we as a people can be satisfied being more, and having less corporations will begin to loose power over the people. Until then it's in their best interest to keep us consuming, and lying to us.
Gasland gets a 4 out of 5, and I reccomend it to everyone who loves to drink fresh water in their own home.

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