If Rachael Carson, the author of Silent Spring, is widely credited with launching the environmental movement in America, who might get the credit for ending the fossil fuel era? Does the name Josh Fox come to mind? The film Gasland? Or the term "fracking?"
Gasland is the name of the documentary by filmmaker Josh Fox that went viral. And fracking refers to the process of drilling for deposits of oil and natural gas using high-volume hydraulic fracturing and toxic chemicals. Fracking, as a new poll shows, is of growing concern to an increasingly informed public.
Take New York State, for example, where Governor Andrew Cuomo is planning to give the green light to fracking in selected areas of the state. According to a major new Public Policy Polling (PPP) survey, more than seven out of 10 New York state voters (72 percent) think that Governor Cuomo should "wait for all the necessary health and environmental studies to be completed first before opening the state to fracking."
For poll-watching politicians, the term "fractivist" now refers to the growing number of activated voters in states like New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Colorado and elsewhere, who plan to vote against pro-fracking politicians.
And, for those politicians running for political office this year who value the vote of this new swing voter, the anti-fracking voter, now might be time to put everything aside and take a look at the latest 18-minute documentary by Josh Fox: The Sky Is Pink.
Like the Dutch boy from Holland, who saved his country by putting his finger in a leaking dike, Gasland filmmaker Josh Fox (37) believes that he is doing the same thing for the world with his latest, fast-paced film. Visually dynamic and engaging, The Sky is Pink plugs what he calls the flow of misinformation from the oil and gas industry with dynamic truth telling about the dangers of fracking from a wide variety of highly respected sources.
Fracking, warns Fox, not only delivers toxic, flammable water into downstream homes, his film also shows how the drilling process can turn the sky from blue, to pink, with airborne pollutants, which can include ozone destroying methane.
In 2010, Gasland was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Feature Documentary. As the film went viral it brought world attention to the dangers of "fracking." In a recent story on Josh Fox, Rolling Stone magazine reports that Gasland II, a sequel for HBO, will be out later this year.
What has citizen "fractivists" across the country in revolt is not just that water from their kitchen sink can be lit on fire when the tap is turned on, or that the highly toxic chemicals from fracking can poison their children. It is their fear that the natural gas industry, including politicians who support it, seem to think that the pursuit of an endless supply of fossil fuels is more important than life itself.
To this end, they intend to vote pro-fracking politicians out of office, starting with the primaries this Tuesday, June 26th.
How widespread is the anti-fracking movement? On May 12th, in a full page ad in The New York Times, titled a "Mother's Day Letter to the First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama," more than 200 organizations -- a coalition of mothers -- from around the country signed their names. The coalition was organized over a period of four months by a team of five mothers, including Angela Monti Fox, the mother of Gasland filmmaker, Josh Fox.
Signers included MOMS Advocating Sustainability from Mill Valley, California, with 650 members, the Parents of Park Slope Food Coop, of Brooklyn, New York, with 16,000 members, Kate Bowers, from Long Eddy, New York, of Catskillls Citizens for Safe Energy, with 9,000 members, and Angie Nordstrum, of Erie, Colorado, who co-founded both Erie Rising with 591 members and Boulder Allergy Kids with 200 members. Nordstrum was also a finalist in contest for the Healthy Child Healthy World Mom on a Mission 2012.
"I was riding on my son's coat-tails," Angela Fox, admits. "I had testified earlier at water contamination hearings in Washington D.C. It was our home in Pennsylvania that he was trying to save with his documentary. So, it was because of Josh, and his great sense of justice, that I became more active."
Follow Alexia Parks on Twitter: www.twitter.com/@alexiaparks