Wow. That was really all I could say when the credits started rolling on Josh Fox’s Gasland, a documentary that’s been making the rounds for the past few months about the perils of hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as “fracking.” The Park Center for Independent Media brought Fox and the film to Ithaca College on Tuesday, Nov. 3, and I was blown away by the powerful message and exceptional reporting and story-telling involved. I urge everyone to see this masterpiece of a documentary, even if you’ve never had any interest in fracking or the environment in general.

It’s incredible to think that Fox, trained in the theatre arts, produced such winning content and stimulated such intriguing interviews about fracking all over the country. His team then weaves all of it together—from the personal implications for people with drill rigs for backyards, to the fire from the faucets, to the courtroom proceedings regarding the Halliburton loophole. It left me enraged, passionate, upset and fired up.

One thing that surprised me about the film were the clips from mainstream media coverage sampled in Gasland; I was pleasantly surprised that these stories about burning, contaminated water and people getting sick in areas with drills were actually being covered by local news stations. The difference, of course, between them and people like Josh Fox, is that the news programs stopped at simply presenting the illnesses and asking “why.” Fox, meanwhile, has the time, consideration and independence to explore extremely deeply into the story. He gets the full story, makes a real impact, and raises imperative questions about the dangers of fracking and what the public can do to stop the method from becoming more widespread. Cheers to Gasland 2 and to hoping that the original affects significant, tangible change before then.  

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