At the Same River multimedia performance of the complexities of Marcellus Shale hydrofracturing were uniquely examined primarily through the point of view of the local people in Lewisburg. It was clear that the collaborative between the Bucknell students and New York based Strike Anywhere Performance Ensemble was well organized and well versed on the hydrofracturing issues that are unique to Lewisburg, like the setbacks that Barbara of the environment committee experienced and damages hydrofracturing has on the environment. Overall, they emphasized the universal problems we all endure from fracturing that range from differing scales, spatial flows of resources, and intractability.

The most prevailing point of the performance was the demonstration of intractability between the need for income and jobs versus the depletion of the river and health concerns. As we have seen in various environmental issues, the problem of consumption is complicated due to intractability. Here like in many other communities across the world, the social and political desires have are held at a higher regard than the environmental factors. The government depends on these large companies for jobs, the locals need the jobs, the consumers need the oil, and the companies need the revenue for their shareholders. Like we have discussed in class, these companies are able to avoid governmental oversight and restrictions, like the Clean Water Act. The paradigm is best expressed through the internal arguments within the community, particularly in the household of the activist Barbara and her husband the community barber. Regardless of personal moral opposition for hydrofracturing in the Marcellus Shale and concern of the future of their clean water and generations to come the barber was motivated by his financial needs to take a job as a truck driver. Thus, working for the same company his wife, Barbara was fighting against, spending hours rallying against, and even getting arrested for her devote opposition to displace people from their homes. Furthermore, exemplifying the cyclic nature and interconnection of differing levels of this relationship

The display of the forever changing river by interpretive dance displayed the spatial flows of resources by reiterating that this small town, which has suffered a decline in jobs, saw this as an opportunity to stimulate the local economy not considering the effects of hydrofracturing. Hydrofracturing has been used to extract the oil deep in the layer of the Marcellus Shale since the easier to access oil has been more else depleted for our generations, similarly “what makes strip mining so-cost effective is precisely what makes it so devastating”(Reece, 62).  Here, Reece explains that destruction to the environment is not a unique or coincidental practice, but rather an intentional cost versus benefit analysis. Hydrofracturing is contaminating the water of locals and effecting their health and quality of life.

The performance moreover visually displays the story we have heard too many times from each reading and the value that we must start to place on the river that is being polluted.

About Steph P.

Business Government and Society

11 responses »

  1. laf024 says:

    I can’t completely relate to your experience since I didn’t attend the event but it sounded very interesting. I have often questioned the common practice of creating jobs even if it affects the environment. I feel like recently, our society is so concerned about creating jobs, that no one thinks of the consequences that these jobs have on our environment and health. At home, more and more construction sites are developing and seem to last for years. This causes congestion, more accidents and more landfill. Yes, it may provide jobs for people but it also could harm more people than it helps. I think in these instances, we should think utilitarian standpoint and think about if the costs of these new jobs outweighs the benefits. More importantly, does this system benefit more people or harm more people? A utilitarian approach would best fit these decisions in my opinion.

  2. wmw014 says:

    I found your blog really interesting because you talk about the interests of man versus the interests of nature. I think that as a society today we tend to think that our needs are the most superior and as a result we often act without thinking about the consequences of our actions. Not only is this a phenomenon in nature, but it is also common in other places such as Wall Street. Hence, we need to realize that we need to act in relation to the environment we are in. If we are able to do this, we can achieve a more sustainable lifestyle in various ways.

  3. Charles says:

    I remember my freshman year I went to see the documentary “Gaslamp” that was the first time I heard of this situation. I remember it was showing families being able to light their tap water on fire and how people were really upset about what”fracking” was doing to there communities. He made it seem similar to the housing mess we are reading for class because he depicted people as not knowing what hydraulic fracturing was going to do to the water supply they just thought they could benefit from it in someway. With that taken into consideration I think that we have to be smart about “fracking” we need oil for the future so “fracking” may be our only option. I think if we inform families in that community as well in the surrounding communities that there is a possibility that the problem of polluted water can be ameliorated.

    • Jordi says:

      I think you mean “Gasland,” not gas lamp. By Josh Fox?

      Do you think it is ever really only an option between two choices? Foreign oil versus destructive fracking?

    • Loukas T says:

      I also have seen some of GasLand and that scene in particular sticks out. Lighting water on fire seemed to drive the movie’s point home and it certainly has been the most viewed clip from that movie. But there has very recently been a great deal of controversy surrounding the clip. There are many reports that water in certain parts of the country, including the one in the film, have natural amounts of methane in their water that can allow it to be lit on fire. This has been occurring well before fracking began. Again this is somewhat rare and does not prove that fracking was not a part of it, but ever since the Mike Daisey incident I feel like journalistic integrity is a common theme running though our class so I figure I would just point it out.

  4. mbc014 says:

    It is a serious debate that holds a lot of weight today. I think the key is to use these resources responsibly, however. Fracking for natural gas has provided us with a much-needed boom, and while it has side effects, I don’t think it’s this horrible practice others claim it to be. But the most asinine thing I might have ever heard is that we are shipping a large majority of this gas to other countries. We preach all these messages about becoming energy independent, but when it’s sitting right on our doorstep we dump it anyways. You can try to convince me this has to do with a complex global economy but I just don’t get this at all. If we really wanted to change we could, but we don’t, so we won’t until it’s too late and we’re scrambling on all fours. So yes, if we frack to greater points we might cause some serious damage, but if we had only gotten as much as we needed and tapped excess stores as necessary, we could have avoided much of this debate.

    • Jordi says:

      SOme of the gas is being exported, and I think there are economic actors who want to do more. This does puncture the whole argument (propaganda?) that nat gas is for “energy independence.” Whatever that really means anyway.

      Do we think in any other economic sphere, it is good to be isolated from the world? Do we talk about banking independence or manufacturing independence or educational independence?

  5. Jordi says:

    I also went. One part of your reaction I am fascinated by is the idea that it was about Lewsiburg. It wasn’t. The voices they used were from parts of PA North and East of here. I know that this whole area can seem like “the sticks’ or flyover territory or whatever, but actually Lewisburg is an oasis of wealth around here. People here are more concerned about the impact on our drinking water and the truck traffic.

    • srp008 says:

      Now that I look back, I do recognize that the voices used were in parts of PA North and East of here. I think I was caught up in the “performance” part of the play that I missed some of the facts they were trying to convey. (At one point the actor used the N-word repeatedly to make some point about natural gas, I’m still not sure what the correlation was). I actually stayed for the discussion at the end of the performance and got the opportunity to hear testimonies from people living in northern and eastern PA who said the performance was a spot on representation of what they deal with on a daily basis. There were also environmental activists in the crowd that agreed with the townspeople for the most part. Although the discussion of the offensive use of the N-word took up a majority of the discussion, I think the ensemble did a wonderful job of educating the public about hydrofracturing and its consequences.

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