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Environment

'Gasland' Director Josh Fox Arrested at 'Pancakes Not Pipelines' Protest

The director and activist was arrested while serving pancakes at an anti-pipeline protest.

Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Josh Fox (Gasland) and others from the activist group Beyond Extreme Energy were arrested today protesting the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for its role in continuing to permit fossil fuel projects that will greatly accelerate climate change.

Today’s protest draws specific attention to FERC’s role in using eminent domain to condemn and clearcut a wide swathe of maple trees across the Holleran family maple syrup farm in New Milford, Pennsylvania. The clearcut was ordered to make way for the fracked gas Constitution Pipeline, even though the pipeline has yet to be approved by New York state.

During the Pancakes Not Pipelines protest, organized by Beyond Extreme Energy, Fox called out the reckless and dangerous behavior of FERC that allowed the Holleran family maple sugar farm to be seized by eminent domain and dozens of other fossil fuel projects that, if permitted, would bring the U.S. and the world well beyond the 2 degree warming limit agreed to by the Obama administration at Paris Climate Accords.

“Everyone I know is fighting a pipeline or a compressor station or a power plant that is in front of FERC for approval. It is clear to me that FERC has to be the most destructive agency in the United States right now. They are faceless, nameless, unelected and ignore citizen input. I think of FERC as the Phantom Menace.” Fox said. “The agency’s commissioners have been rubber stamping fracking infrastructure all over country that threatens local communities and the planet by accelerating climate change.”

Fox led off the protest by cooking pancakes with a solar-powered griddle on a sidewalk cart, to show that we should use power from sunlight instead of fracked gas to cook our meals and heat our homes, and then serving the pancakes with maple syrup, from the Holleran family’s now devastated maple grove.

The Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan is a step in the right direction, as old coal-fired power plants are being closed down due to stringent new CO2 limits. However, the Clean Power Plan does not adequately regulate methane, which means that these coal plants are being replaced with natural gas power plants.

This transition, which FERC is rapidly approving, will lead the U.S. to build some 300 fracked gas power plants and hundreds of thousands of miles of pipeline. Because methane, a greenhouse gas, is 86-105 times more potent than CO2, and is leaking in large amounts from the entire fracking process, this transition means the U.S. is actually increasing greenhouse gas emission not decreasing them.

Fox in is the nation’s capital to screen his new film How to Let Go of the World and Love All the Things Climate Can’t Change, which has won the top prize at the DC Environmental Film Festival. He is set to be on a panel tonight at American University. It is not clear if he will be released from jail in time to make the panel.

Let Go and Love

How to Let Go of the World and Love All the Things Climate Can’t Change will have its U.S. theatrical premiere on April 20, just ahead of Earth Day. The film will also travel to 100 U.S. cities throughout March, April and May on the grassroots Let Go and Love Tour, where Fox will be joined by experts, artists and local organizers to help communities lead the renewable energy revolution, one town at a time. The film will debut on HBO June 2016.

A pioneer of the grassroots anti-fracking movement in America, director Josh Fox continues to push the boundaries of the power of cinema, this time investigating the issue of climate change in his deeply personal style. After years of fighting the fracking industry, Fox is exuberant when he finally wins his hometown battle and communities push through a moratorium on natural gas drilling in the Delaware River Basin and the New York City watershed.

But observing the woods around him, his victory dance is quashed when he notices that a towering hemlock tree he planted as a young boy is being devoured by insects that have migrated north, a consequence of the rising temperatures of human-induced climate change. The death of the tree portends the collapse of the iconic hemlock forests of the East, and is a wakeup call to the changing atmosphere itself, which bridges Fox’s personal experience from a focus on energy extraction to the larger dilemma of global warming.

Like many, Fox was caught in a cycle of depression and denial over the daunting issue of the climate. How to Let Go of the World and Love All the Things Climate Can’t Change is Fox’s riotously funny and action-packed odyssey in search of meaning inside all the things in the world worth fighting for — all the things climate can’t change.

“The day the oil and gas industry came to my house was the loneliest day of my life. I have never been so afraid. But that fear, the fear of losing my home, has taken me so far beyond that place to discover the deepest love and community I’ve ever know. I never thought my fight to protect my home near the Delaware River would take me to the banks of the Amazon. Or across the world to the island nations of Vanuatu and Samoa. But it has,” says Fox.

Election 2016

Fox has been an outspoken advocate for inclusion of commitments to sustainable climate and energy practices by the 2016 presidential candidates. To view recent viral videos, with hundreds of thousands of aggregate views, on the 2016 election climate and energy debate, visit: facebook.com/joshfoxintlwow/videos

Let Go and Love Tour

The Let Go and Love Tour will present the film to new communities that are being targeted within expansion plans of fracked gas infrastructures, and to coastal communities at risk of being affected by sea level rise due to human induced climate change.

Watch a recent interview with Josh Fox on Democracy Now:

Lee Ziesche is a writer, multimedia journalist and organizer who began working as the grassroots coordinator for International WOW Company in 2013 with the release of "Gasland Part II."

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