What We’re Watching “Gasland”

So every weekend we love to veg out. We love to watch tv together and snuggle up on the couch to forget the work week and just be quiet together. One thing we love to watch is documentaries. They’re entertaining, informative and really give you a different perspective with the visuals than articles or books you read. We love watching documentaries that are in line with what we are trying to accomplish in our lives in the way of downsizing, simplifying and just being environmental crusaders in our daily lives and we thought that we will do this category of our “Watch List” where we will talk about what we thought about a specific documentary in hopes that maybe you will check it out too and if you already have so that we can chat about it.

So this weekend we watched:  Gasland – written and directed by Josh Fox (nominated for an Oscar)

This is a 2010 documentary about hydraulic fracturing otherwise known as “fracking”. Now I’ll admit that I’d heard the term “fracking” and had a very basic understanding of what they were doing (i.e. drilling the Earth for natural gas). I had seen an episode of CSI that focused on fracking and people’s water blowing up. But that’s it folks, I hadn’t really paid too much more attention to it (I know that’s kind of shameful)…until now and I’m sure glad that he has opened my eyes to it because it’s just another reason I believe we should be more conservative with our water consumption.


So basically Josh has 19.5 (number might be off) acres of family land and a home built on the land that backs onto a stream in the 70′s and in 2008 he receives a letter from the government that they will give him $4,000.00+ per acre to lease the land for the purposes of fracking.  This letter takes him on a journey to other states that have been party to this and to document a number of families’ experiences with it.

What he discovers on this journey is truly terrifying and so disturbing to know that this is actually happening and is being supported by the government.  Families with major health problems, animals with hair falling out, animals dropping dead, water that bubbles and hisses and worst of all water that you can set on fire right from the tap. These people can’t drink their water, they can’t shower/bathe, cook or wash with their water.  He has a quote from the poem “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” by the English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge written in 1797–98 that saddened me on such a deep level:

“water, water, everywhere, but not a drop to drink” 

I mean seriously…how sad is that?

They have to pump so many gallons of hydraulic fluids (chemicals, water and sand) into the earth to create so much pressure that the ground just cracks open so they can drill out this gas and then the water that is left is so toxic and its dumped into pits/wells/streams and left to seep back into the Earth and my dear lord it is so contaminated you can actually light it on fire? This damages our water supply, harms the environment and is a huge risk to human and animal health! That is so absurd! We have to realize that water is a precious commodity that we do not have an endless supply of and this is a huge assault on our future.  No water = no life. Basic math.

So back to the documentary…we really enjoyed it. I found it informative and I enjoyed the way the information was presented. I liked that we saw Josh Fox and that he was not limited to either side of the lens. I found him to be likeable and relateable and I applaud his bravery and gumption as an environmental activist and his ability to turn his passion for his “backyard” into such a thought provoking and eye opening piece. I also thought his banjo breaks were cute. In short I think this is a must see. I know personally I will be doing much more reading on this topic.

I saw that there is a Gasland Part 2 and we’ll let you know what we think of that one when we’re done.


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