Ric’s Netflix Picks: “Gasland”


Need to get the fire started?

Just add water.

We are running low on the most commonly used fossil fuels; the energy crisis is real, and many companies around the world are trying to find the next untapped source, while staying profitable. Recently, some companies have turned to harvesting natural gas by fracking.

Fracking is an incredibly controversial process that environmental advocates claim causes all sorts of damage to the Earth. Energy companies drill deep holes in the ground and then inject chemicals which break up the bedrock, thereby freeing the natural gas trapped below. The gas is harnessed, and burned for energy.

Gasland is a documentary that tells the story of Josh Fox, a Pennsylvanian who was offered money by an energy company for the right to frack his land. After turning the offer down, he then embarked on a journey to discover more about fracking and its effects. Fox points out particular parts of the Safe Water Drinking Act, and the subsequent laws that were passed, that granted fracking companies exemptions the regulations designed to protect he water supply. This documentary is probably most well-known for the scenes in which people light their tap water on fire, claiming it is due to the natural gas that has leaked into the water table as a result of fracking.

This sleepy 2010 documentary, compelling as it is, has not itself escaped criticism for its potentially biased opinion, and I would be remiss if I did not mention this fact. The energy company that was claimed to have offered Fox money to frack his land, Energy in Depth, responded with a film of their own called Truthland. I have not watched this response, but it is available for viewing here. Regardless, the information presented in Gasland will shock you, despite the fact that Fox delivers it with the energy and passion of a tired old man.

Gasland is definitely worth the watch. Even if it is more one-sided than it claims to be, it raises very important questions. The energy crisis is real. We need to find a reliable and cost-effective solution.

Lastly, a sequel, Gasland 2 a.k.a. Gasland Part II, was released in 2013.


3.8 out of 5.0

The aforementioned lighting tap water on fire can be viewed below.


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