Katelyn Kelly

Annotation #5, Fracking


Word Count: 890

Title: Unearthed: The Fracking Facade

Director: Jolynn Minnaar

Release Year: 2012
What is the central argument or narrative of the film?
The central argument of this film is the use of fracking by major oil companies in lower economy locations and the consequential problems of the fracking of those plots of land and furthermore the ignorance of those companies to the problems they are creating.
How is the argument or narrative made and sustained? How much scientific information is provided, for example? Does the film have emotional appeal?
The argument is made mainly through repetition of various companies and families affected by the purchase of plots of land and those plots of land being used to frack for natural gases. In every example is a family that was affected by a major company purchasing a plot of land, not telling exactly what the company was going to do, and then suffering the consequences of the released natural gases and its contamination in water and air supplies to those families closest to it. This harps on the emotions as it shows that this problem is occurring in lower-class families that have no choice but to rent the land to the oil companies, and then the sheer ignorance and denial of the oil companies that they are contaminating water and air supplies.
What sustainability problems does the film draw out? Political? Legal? Economic? Technological? Media and Informational? Organizational? Educational? Behavioral? Cultural? Ecological?
This films draws out the political problem of the denial of the oil companies and the cultural aspect of the types of families being targeted by the oil companies. The film opens with various scenes from hearings in which representatives of major oil companies are asked whether or not they were aware of the environmental impacts fracking had and they consistently said that fracking was a tested and tried technology of sixty years that had no environmental impact or that their company had done little to no research in the field of environmental impacts and water contamination.
What parts of the film did you find most persuasive and compelling? Why?
The most compelling part of the film was the impact that fracking has on lower-class families. Because they are so dependent on the money available in renting out their land and the reassurance that there are no side effects, the families are easily persuaded to rent out plots of land. Soon enough they start feeling sick and it is only revealed later to them that there has been a gas leak directly connected to the fracking by the oil companies. This is compelling because it shows the lack of respect on the companies’ part and shows that this can impact any family, especially those renting out land for profit in order to sustain themselves as a family.
What parts of the film were you not compelled or convinced by? Why?
I was unconvinced by the film’s lack of solutions proposed, such as the activation by communities and college campuses that are proactive against fracking and the recent awareness in fracking and its consequences.
What audiences does the film best address? Why?
The film best addresses the average-lower-class American. Fracking has been a topic of discussion for a lot of major college campuses, especially those in areas directly impacted by fracking, especially those in New York. The film therefore targets the lower-class American families that are exposed to these fracking wells and sheds knowledge to this audience that may have been unobtainable or unknown before. It gives those families a view and opinion that might impact whether or not a family seriously considers renting a plot of land to a major oil company as it shows that there are major health concerns directly related to the gas leaks caused by fracking.
What could have been added to this film to enhance its environmental educational value?
The film directly showed the environmental impacts to families that are impacted by the gas leaks caused by fracking, however it did not explore how fracking began or why the United States relies on fracking as a major source of energy collection. In order to back the argument that was made in the latter part of the film with the impact on families, it might be beneficial to show the history of fracking rather than the repetition of company representatives saying they had no knowledge of the detriments of fracking to communities and families.
What kinds of action and points of intervention are suggested by the film? If the film itself does not suggest corrective action, describe actions that you can imagine being effective.
The points of intervention are not directly mentioned, however the knowledge that the film gives is directly reflective of current activists and college campuses that are working to provide their communities with the knowledge of what side effects fracking has in order for those communities to effectively provide evidence against fracking and hopefully eventually bring down the major oil companies’ abilities to rent plots of land from families.
What additional information has this film compelled you to seek out? (Provide at least two supporting references.)
This film compelled me to look into the ongoing awareness and activeness against fracking on major college campuses and their projects to stop fracking:
1) http://mohawkvalley.ynn.com/content/video_stories/566111/anti-fracking-meeting-at-vassar-college/
2) https://fredonia.collegiatelink.net/organization/campus-climate-challenge/news/details/13088