By Kristen Johnson
Hydraulic fracking, asthma, cancer rates, destroyed water supplies, toxic waste spills, sludges, and more – all are discussed in the enlightening documentary, GasLand. It is terrifying, horrifying, and unbelievably sad what the oil and gas industry is doing to our country, all in the name of money of course, and at the expense of “regular” people.
The documentarian, Josh Fox, has a very real stake in this fight because he lives in one of the areas affected by “fracking” – the process by which oil companies drill into shale formations to extract natural gas. It involves an environmental nightmare of billions of gallons of water, tons and tons of expended energy by the trucks used to haul in supplies and carry out the toxic waste, huge sludges left all over the place from the toxic chemicals used to get the oil out of the shales, and the underground and above-ground destruction of the environment.
The interviews of regular people Mr. Fox spoke to all over the country affected by water contamination and air pollution is terrifying and heartbreaking. Cancer rates are skyrocketing, and people complain of sicknesses that don’t go away and aches and pains that go so far as to cause people to use canes or be bedridden. Asthma rates are alarming as are a variety of other ailments. Watching people literally light their tap water on fire as it comes out of the tap is sickening.
Particularly alarming is the scene at the end of the film where Congress debates allowing the natural gas industry to continue to be exempt from the Clean Air Act (which started under the Bush Administration, with Dick Cheney leading the charge with Halliburton.) It’s shocking and unbelievably disgusting that these companies have been able to avoid virtually all environmental regulations because of their cronyism going all the way up to the Vice President of the United States.
Greed, excess, selfishness. Caring, love, nurturing, and protection are all forgotten in the name of money.
What in the world can we do to stop such injustice? It’s time to take a stand. Continue to write letters to your representatives, demanding an end to fracking and tighter environmental controls. Support organizations working on the problem.
Earth Justice, a non-profit with 4 stars on Charity Navigator, is actively working to fight the fracking industry. They are working to defend communities from fracking, to protect public lands, and oppose new natural gas drilling developments. You can take action by contributing to the cause, signing petitions, contacting your representatives, etc. See here for more details: http://earthjustice.org/climate-and-energy/oil-gas-drilling/fracking.
It’s never too late to take a stand against greed and exploitation. The buck stops here.
Psalm 89:11 (NRSV): The heavens are yours, the earth also is yours; the world and all that is in it—you have founded them.
Serve all with love.
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