Fracked Film

Lea Brayton's picture

The Wild & Scenic Film Festival explores environmental issues. 

My great, great granchildren ask me in my dreams:
What did you do, while the planet was plundered?
What did you do, while the earth was unraveling?
Surely, you did something when the seasons started failing,
as the mammals, reptiles, and birds were all dying? 
-Drew Dellingerexcerpt from Heiroglyphic Stairway

On Wednesday, January 21, the Natural Resource Defense Council, the Sierra Club, and the Gallatin Wildlife Association hosts the Wild & Scenic Film Festival at the Emerson. This year's festival focuses on films that "illustrate the Earth’s beauty, the challenges facing our planet, and the work that communities around the world are doing to protect the places and wildlife we love," says Kiersten Iwai, an organizer at the Sierra Club.

Wild and Scenic Film Festival

The night showcases the film Backyard, a documentary by Montana adventurist Deia Schlosberg, which sheds light on the ramifications of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking—the process of using pressurized water to extract natural gas from deep underground. Backyard uses five voices from four states—Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, and Pennsylvania—which each oppose the gas industry based on firsthand experience with fracking in their own "back yards." The 28-minute film focuses on the adverse impacts of fracking, like the threat of groundwater contamination and exposure to toxic chemicals.

Backyard is a film with a clear environmental agenda: criticizing the natural gas indutry for its lack of regulation and responsibility. However, what is most captivating about this documentary is its implication that locale is insignificant. If fracking causes severe damage to livelihood and landscape, then why wait to act until it’s our backyard that is affected? Either way, fracking is increasingly relevant for Montanans, as 20,000 new wells are dug annually in the U.S., many in the West. Is it just a matter of time until Bozeman's fracked?

In Bozeman, the foothills and mountains are our back yards, providing access to adventure and ecological wonder. But across the country, fracking is altering the landscape and eliminating these places of natural enjoyment. Can you imagine the Bridgers at sunrise, dotted with rigs on the horizon, or the Gallatin bubbling with chemical pollution? Coalitions like the Responsible Drilling Alliance (RDA) battle drilling companies in an effort to protect back yards like ours and the outdoor spaces we love, but change isn’t happening fast enough. Check out the film premiere to learn more about the dangers of fracking.

The screening starts at 6pm, followed by a question-and-answer session with a panel of local experts on fracking. Doors open at 5pm with complementary beer and snacks offered to the public.

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