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Focus Our Outrage Where it Will Count

Focus Our Outrage Where it Will Count

Last night I finally had a chance to see the film, GASLAND, which I highly recommend. It’s a fairly simple film, but one with heart and authenticity. The film shares the experiences of several families and communities whose water wells were poisoned by contaminants introduced into the groundwater system via nearby hydraulic fracturing. “Fracking,” as it is commonly called, is a process of injecting water, sand and a long list of chemicals into a gas well in order to fracture the rock below and release natural gas that otherwise can’t be recovered.

What was really amazing was to see the outrage among audience members when the lights came on. This screening was hosted by Transition Town Manitou Springs, so there were people in the room who understand the need to reorganize our way of living in a more sustainable fashion. But it was disconcerting to see a few of the most outraged, most likely not Transitioners, seemed to think we could avoid the ills of fracking if we just confine it to certain places or just replace all that natural gas energy with solar power. They did not yet get that the scale of our current economic model can only be supported by the incredible power of fossil fuels.

I, too, was outraged. I still am. For me, this outrage came from seeing in the film people entrusted with the public welfare, turning a blind eye to the dangers of fracking – so as not to stand in the way of business-as-usual (continued growth, fired by cheap energy). There are “trade-offs” as one interviewee put it. As long as our society insists we keep chasing the Holy Grail of never-ending economic growth, and as long as we keep growing our populations, crap like fracking will be thrown at us. We face a daily barrage of incursions and threats to our ecosystems – our life support. Those with an ecological conscience rise up and fight. They struggle against pipelines, dams, GMOs, freeways, sprawl, power plants, and more. But the barrage continues, and it will – as long as we can’t kick the habit of growth addiction. If we would put more of our energy into changing that paradigm, we’d waste a lot less time on the skirmishes and be a lot more successful.

123Dave Gardner

Dave Gardner is the director of the new documentary, GrowthBusters: Hooked on Growth, which questions the sustainability of our worship of growth everlasting. 

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