31 October 2011

Film Review: Gasland

This past weekend we watched a documentary film called Gasland"Winner of Special Jury Prize - Best US Documentary Feature - Sundance 2010. Screening at Cannes 2010."  Gasland, was an educational and informative film and a horrifying wake-up call about a process used to extract natural gas from under the ground by a method called hydraulic fracturing and the repercussions of this type of industry which compromises public health and the environment. 

This documentary is critical of the natural gas industry and efforts have been made to discredit its findings with government scientists throwing scorn at the outcomes discussed in the film saying there is no correlation between drilling for natural gas and the concerns raised by individuals who took part in the film.  However, what makes the documentary credible is that apart from the candid interviews, independent and impartial scientists and leading experts have come on record and spoken out against the procedure of extracting natural gas from under the ground using the method of hydraulic fracturing and have highlighted its long term detrimental effects on the people and the environment. 

It is certainly a thought provoking documentary film and raises many issues for an informed public debate.  On the one hand, we know that natural gas is a valuable commodity and not only that but the extraction of natural gas creates jobs and this in turn is good for the economy.  On the other hand, we have to ask ourselves, where do we draw the line?  Is economical viability more important than public health issues or the environment? 

As well, we need to be aware that hydraulic fracturing is a method which is being utilised globally in many countries around the world and so the issues raised in this documentary film concern us all.

 If you want to watch a horror film this Halloween then watch Gasland.  It is all the more poignant because it is not science fiction.

(Please note, that I am including You Tube links which has a trailer of the film http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dZe1AeH0Qz8 as well as a short clip put together by  America's Natural Gas Alliance which defends its interests http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y1W8MnveFq8 and says that the Gasland film is based on false information.  It is up to each one of us to make our own minds up about this documentary film).

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