Mama Gone Green is a blog dedicated to raising happy children and reducing our impact on the Earth. My name is Taryn and I am the mother of 2 young kids and an environmental studies instructor at a community college in Portland, Oregon. Please join me as I journey through life as a mama, teacher, knitter, photographer, gardener, and environmentalist!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Gasland: A Review

Gasland was recommended to me by a current student of mine, and last week I finally got around to watching it. Gasland is a documentary that shows the dark side of natural gas. Natural gas is often wrongly touted as a more environmentally-friendly fuel source because it is cleaner burning than oil or coal, and we have decent supplies within the United States (so therefore using natural gas doesn't involve terrorism, wars, or long-distance transport). Unfortunately though, that is not the whole story behind our use of natural gas..
Natural gas, even locally produced natural gas, is still a fossil fuel, meaning that it is a non-renewable source of energy. Once our supplies are gone, they are gone forever. And although it is cleaner-burner than the other fossil fuels, it is still playing a large role in global warming. And, as this film shows, the drilling of natural gas has some dirty, dirty side effects.
This film documents natural gas development and its effect on individuals in several rural areas. Essentially, these gas companies come onto privately owned land, destroy the land while installing wells, poison the drinking water with the numerous cancer-causing agents that are used for fracturing the rock, and ruin livelihoods in the process. The water becomes undrinkable (and in many cases is able to catch on fire due to the presence of natural gas in the water supply), harming human health and killing family pets and livestock. As all this is happening, the land becomes devalued and these landowners are essentially stuck living on their poisoned land as no one else wants to buy it (for obvious reasons). The natural gas companies refuse to take responsibility for the state of the water, or the health concerns associated with it, and many families are forced to buy and haul their own water for drinking, bathing, clothes washing, etc. Public policies (enacted under Bush junior) have made this all fine and dandy, and essentially these companies have no legal responsibility to pay for or amend those water and lands that they destroy.
This film was moving and heartbreaking, and very informative. I would recommend it to all. My one complaint is that the narrator talks in this weird, hushed voice the entire film, making it seem like some low-budget horror film. However, once you get past the voice, you get up close and personal with several families whose lives have been turned upside-down by these gas companies. It seems almost impossible that here, in the "land of the free and the home of the brave" we could allow corporate greed to destroy human lives to this extent. Pin It Now!

1 comment:

  1. I have wanted to see this movie- great review.
    The hushed voice would ANNOY me so much though- I have someone in my life that does this all the time and it drives me nutz!