Green Screen: Gasland

Fall 2011 –

Oxford’s latest green screen movie, Gasland, was presented on Nov. 9 at the Oxford Community Arts Center to a mixed group of Miami University students and community members.

This marks the first green screen where the Oxford Interfaith Climate Change Work Group, which usually hosts the movies, has begun working with Green Oxford to better network in the community.

“A lot of times, Miami students forget about the Oxford community with its wealth of knowledge and opinions.  Partnering with the Interfaith Climate Change Work Group on the monthly green screens will allow Green Oxford to engage with community members and hear their perspectives,” said Ian Winner, President of Green Oxford.

Gasland is directed, written, and filmed by Josh Fox and discusses the dangers of drilling for natural gas deep into the earth.

Fox’s inspiration came from the beginning of natural gas drilling in his home state of Pennsylvania and the already massive drilling of New York State.

Fox sets out on a cross-country journey to visit other states that have faced drilling problems to see what his family’s land might be in for.

Along the way, he learns about the process known as hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” that is used to harness the gas from the earth.  He learns about the hundreds of chemicals used in the fracking water, and how they can affect nearby communities.

Fox meets countless families who are sickened by natural gas or other chemicals in their water wells and others who can even light their water on fire.  Towards the end of the movie, Fox reflects upon the journey he never thought he would take, and becomes distressed at the direction our country is going.

This movie can be seen as biased, but the families are real and the anecdotes are truthful.  Fox investigates heavily into the government’s involvement in the natural gas industry and scrutinizes the hydraulic fracturing process used to extract gas from the ground.

After the film, community members and students alike discussed the issues raised in the film and what they may be able to do to help.  Several members discussed the same types of arguments that were raised in the 1970’s to rid communities of the pesticide DDT.

As one community member put it, “You are never too old or too young to take on these problems.”

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By: Ariana Williams

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