Friday, 14 December 2012

Gasland - a review

Last week about 40 people came along to The Glad Cafe (an amazing new music and cultural venue on the Southside of Glasgow!) to watch the award winning documentary Gasland.

We were treated to some fantastic food - a vegetable curry and chapatis - all made from locally grown food supplied by Glasgow Locavore and cooked by Clem and Kate (thanks guys!)

I hadn't seen the film before but I had heard a lot about it and how it really highlights the dash for gas in the US as a result of the political desire for energy security and domestic energy supplies. This has seen huge corporations frack there way from state-to-state resulting in the huge negative health and environmental impacts that the film documents.

As we followed Josh Fox, a resident of Pennsylvania who had been offered $100,000 so a company could frack on his land, on his journey from community to community to discover what fracking was all about and the negative impact it was having.

There was a lot to take in from the film but some of the things that really stood out for me were:
  • Just how quickly people, animals and nature were being contaminated and become very ill. This isn't a slow build up over several years - the contamination of the water course was pretty much instant and people were becoming ill within days and weeks. Many of these were in very rural locations and were basically being ignored by the political process - collateral damage in the dash for gas!
  • The level of corporate influence on politics, especially during the Bush administration, that has allowed these corporations to circumvent long established Government regulations and basically given these corporations free range to do what they want, where they want, when they want with absolutely no accountability.
  • The scale of things - although each well was quite small (which is one of the ways they get around environmental regulation!) the sheer number of them was truly astounding- the landscape has been changed forever
  • The undeniable political desire (at all costs?) for the US to secure a significant domestic energy supply

As one of the environmental campaigners interviewed in the movie said, "You can't monitor these things if you don't know what you are supposed to be monitoring.

It really reminded me of this Americam Indian proverb...

"Only when the last tree has been cut down;
Only when the last river has been poisoned;
Only when the last fish has been caught;
Only then will you find that money cannot be eaten."

The film has also come in for a lot of criticism, mainly from the fossil fuel lobbyists (the Wikipedia entry provides a good overview of the positive and negative responses.)

UK Government gives fracking the green light
Since the showing of the film and as reported widely in the media this week (Guardian, BBC, BBC (video), FoE Scotland) the UK government has given the green light for fracking activities to re-commence in Lancashire. Cuadrilla, the company undertaking the drilling, have already breached fracking conditions but this has been ignored by the Government

Also in the US a new joint campaign against fracking as set up called Americans Against Fracking, a national coalition against fracking.

So what does this mean for Scotland? And what does this mean for local food? Well in Scotland the plans are to frack across the Central Belt (the most densely populated part of Scotland) to try asnd extract this gas - this will undoubtedly haev a huge impact on a large part of the population and will also effect large areas where food is grown and produced and surely effect our water supplies, which is totally unacceptable.

 FoE Scotland have produce a short presentation about fracking (using Prezi)

You can keep informed about fracking at...
FoE Scotland fracking information
Frack Free Scotland
Frack Off Scotland

Petition to stop fracking in Lancashire
So keep lobbying the politicians and putting pressure on the UK Government to reverse their recent irresponsible decision!

Were you at the film showing? What did you think? Share your thoughts here or on the Glasgow Local Food Network Facebook page

Many thanks to Clem for organising the film screening and all the volunteers that helped out on the night.

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