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December 07, 2016
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New direction for Gasland filmmaker

Josh Fox, the filmmaker behind the two “Gasland” movies, which played a big role in making fracking a topic of global conversation, is rolling out a new performance event.
Contributed photo

UPPER DELAWARE VALLEY — Josh Fox, the director of “Gasland” and “Gasland II,” is unveiling a new performance event at the Delaware Youth Center in Callicoon on July 27 called the “Solutions Grassroots Tour.” The website for the performance, www.solutionsgrassroots.com, says it is, “A groundbreaking and interactive theatre, film and concert event that inspires communities and gives them the tools and resources to build renewable energy.”

Fox talked to The River Reporter in a phone interview.

“We toured with the two ‘Gasland’ films in 300 cities across the world in four or five years and built an audience. It’s really like a dialogue, a conversation with all those people who are fighting fracking all over the world.

“What we heard most prevalently on our last tour was, ‘we need solutions, renewable energy solutions, to find out what the alternatives are. I wanted to design an interactive event about that, to tell our own story, tell the story of the remarkable thing that’s happened in all of our lives—where you see democracy organizations becoming really the backbone of a lot of our civic conversation right now, where we live.

“Then to move forward together with a discussion about how do we develop renewable energy as an economic driver, as a way to strengthen our democracy movement, and as a way to create prosperity.

“If you say ‘no’ to fracking, you have to say ‘yes’ to something else. There is a complex landscape of renewable energy options, and I wanted to gather those options together under one roof, and make that available to people through a narrative, through a story.

“So this play has 22 actors, a seven-piece band, Vanessa Bley and Twin Danger. There is live video integrated into the performance, I’m in it on stage, and so is John Fenton, who is from Pavilion, WY, who was in both ‘Gasland’ films, and his 16-year-old son, who are not actors. So it’s really almost like the renewable energy circus is coming to town.

“I think it’s an opportunity for us to all look at the last five or six years, remember it, and now do something positive to change the world. Six years ago we did a ‘Gasland’ screening at the gazebo in Narrowsburg with 200 people sitting on blankets, and now this is the beginning of this new big phase.”

Fox thinks there is still a possibility that fracking could come to the Upper Delaware Valley. “If we don’t find a way as a civilization to transition to renewable energy, we will never be out of the threat of fracking destroying everything that we have, and of fossil fuel development as a whole destroying everything. Fossil fuel, whether it’s coal or tar sands oil, or fracked gas or deepwater drilling, is inherently destructive.

“With the climate heating up, and with what the next generation has to face, a very difficult landscape, environmentally speaking, we know we have to move on. And just because the oil companies left us in the Upper Delaware doesn’t mean they won’t be back. The only real ban is to replace the fuel source. What I say is, there is no such thing as a ban on fracking unless you replace the fuel source.”

Tickets for the event cost $10, but people who bring their electric bill will be able to buy a ticket for 99 cents.