Gasland Reflection

This documentary was interesting, and filmed very differently from the feature films that I’ve seen. While fictional movies tend to follow a very clear storyline and contain a certain amount fluidity when it comes to filming, the documentary did not. Often times, there were shaky zooms and quick, seemingly unrelated cuts to shots that didn’t strictly correlate to the voiceovers. Oddly enough, there also was a distinct lack of faces. Although the audience did get brief glimpses at people when they shared their stories and some grainy television shots of corporation heads, there wasn’t any footage really focusing on the face. Normally in feature films, the camera fixes on the character when they’re speaking. This often makes the scene more emotional, as the viewers can clearly and directly pick up on the facial expressions and the eye movements. This was not the case for the documentary. When people were speaking, they were often shot at a lower angle and from the side, partially obscuring their faces. It was different and an interesting technique. I found myself becoming frustrated with it, because I wanted to have a clear view of their face and see their reactions as they recounted their tales.

It’s absolutely horrible to see that fracking is so rampant and that there are so few regulations. My family has always been very nature-centric. As a little girl, and still to this day, I never went to Disney. I’ve never stayed at fancy hotels or gone on cruises or taken an expensive vacation to Greece. Ever year, my family and I go to the Catskills. We head to Maine or New Hampshire or Vermont and rent out cabins in the woods. These trips were and still continue to provide the best experiences that I’ve ever had, and I can’t count the number of hikes or campfires that I look back and smile at. My memories are filled with late night frog catching and hunting salamanders in ponds and streams. It’s such an incredible violation to see that the lands that I’ve grown up with, the nature that I’ve formed such a bond with, warped and destroyed by toxins. To think that in a decades time there might not be any more bright orange salamanders skimming the shores of ponds, or guppies popping up through the reeds, is heartbreaking.

It was also infuriating to see just how uncaring both the corporations and the state were. One couple had brown, opaque water coming from their tap, and both the oil drilling company and the state brushed them off. In fact, they couldn’t even get admittance from the state that there was an issue with the water. It boggles my mind that no one seems to care about their actions when it comes to not only fracking, but the environment and the people in it. I can understand that the corporations don’t want to admit that there’s a problem with their practices, but even if they don’t, there are ways to circumvent these health and environmental concerns. They’re not even willing to limit fracking to uninhabitable areas. It’s almost as if they don’t think ahead at all, don’t realize that if they keep contaminating other peoples’ land and water supplies, there won’t be healthy soil or clean water for anyone.

Knowing that these hardworking, honest people are being so affected by greedy corporate chains that spout lies about natural gas being clean is infuriating. Though the lies sound better, the reality is much more grim. Unfortunately, the people who have the proof or can speak about their own personal struggles living near fracking plants often can’t gain the momentum to be heard. On the off chance that they begin to pick momentum and a following, they’re silenced by pressure, lawsuits, or money. The normal, jean wearing, cowboy hat donning man who can’t step out of his own house because of the cloud of brown smoke cloaking his home won’t get the same recognition that the shark-toothed, polished CEOs will.

Overall, this documentary was informative and stirring. Although it does make me sad to see, in black and white terms and clear stories, that these corporations are ruining our environment, it also provides an incentive to fight even harder against the natural gas companies.