Sunday at the Movies: Focus on Fracking, Chaco & a Path to Preserving our Future

First, a visual tour of Chaco Canyon, a second short video on the threat to Chaco posed by fracking, a third on how fracking has destroyed much of rural Pennsylvania, and then a video from Chris Hedges that connects some dots.

A Video Tour of the Challenges & a Path to Something Sacred

By the time you open this, Roxanne and I will be en route to Chaco Canyon for an all-day tour hosted by indigenous activist, Daniel Tso, where we will see both the majesty of Chaco, juxtaposed with the impact of fracking on that community and its cultural history.

We thought it fitting to offer you your own Chaco tour, but a different kind of tour than the one we will be on. And so we present a sequence of four videos that start with two very short videos focused on Chaco that present the physical beauty of Chaco and the threat posed by the gas and oil industry.

We then jump to rural Pennsylvania to get a close view on how fracking appeared to be a local economic salvation, but that swiftly turned sour. And then we move to a Canadian studio for a remarkable interview with Chris Hedges on the demise of American empire. While Hedges predicts empire collapse, in a curious way, he also presents the only path to preserve sacred sites like Chaco and to protect us from our basest instincts as manifest in the Trump regime.

Your entire tour will take an hour, half the time it takes for us to get to Chaco. I think you will find it most informative. Onward.

Tuesday, October 1, 6:30-8:30pm at 1420 Cerrillos the Center for Progress and Justice.  Retake Our Democracy Organizing Meeting.  A Panel Discussion on Democratizing Our Energy.  For this meeting, we will be hosting a panel discussion on effective strategies for a just transition, including two bills that failed to pass in the 2019 legislative session, but that will be re-introduced in 2020 and/or 2021: Community Solar and Local Choice Energy.  Confirmed panel members include:  Mariel Nanasi, Executive Director of New Energy Economy; Rep. Abbas Akhil, D-Dist 20; Rep. Patricia Roybal Caballero, D-District 10; and a representative from the Picuris Pueblo who used a $1 million Federal grant to completely solarize their pueblo and the surrounding community while generating valuable revenue for the pueblo–an excellent example of what energy democracy can mean for rural and low-income communities.

Chaco, Fracking, & Our Political Future

Chaco Canyon: A Tour

I was stunned at how difficult it was to find a video that reflected Chaco history and culture that wasn’t some kind of Anglicized, homogenized expropriation. One title grabbed me and I started to watch it and thought to myself, this sure doesn’t sound right. Then I looked at the comments beneath the streaming video and saw: “Lies, Lies, Lies,” followed by more complaints from indigenous viewers. Needless to say, it was not included. If you are aware of a good video that captures the true history and culture of Chaco, please forward the link via a comment below.

The video below is devoid of any editorializing or explanations, just a magical, voiceless tour of an incredible place.

Chaco Canyon in Peril

The video below, in less than three minutes, gives a perspective on the impact of the invasion of gas and oil on Chaco Canyon and the pueblo communities. I spent a fair amount of time trying to find something a bit more expansive, but this serves as a good primer.

Fracking In America

This 25 minute video begins with the political and economic arguments supporting fracking and use of natural gas as a “bridge” energy until solar and wind become affordable–an argument we still hear despite renewables being much more affordable. But then, the video focuses on parts of rural Pennsylvania, which initially welcomed the new leasing and pipeline revenue, as it saved many farms during the 2009 recession. The impacts of fracking quickly became apparent in the water and air, but when the communities rise up, the industry circles the wagons, pours money into key election battles and ….. sound familiar. This is well worth your time.

Chris Hedges: The Collapse of the American Empire

Chris Hedges does not mince words. In this video, Hedges lays out, in a very convincing way, where America is and its only path to any form of democracy and justice. He describes how so many Americans on the left and right have been abandoned by political leadership that has been purchased by the corporate world. The resulting lack of trust in our institutions’ capacity to solve the most basic of our challenges has led to Trump and a very dangerous political context. And so here we are.

You’ll have to watch the video to see where Hedges takes this, but the accurate picture he paints of where we are makes you thirst for something else. And the collapse of our empire that he predicts, may just be the necessary pre-condition to a better future. I love Chris Hedges and here he does not disappoint.

We will photograph and videotape parts of our trip to Chaco, including some of Daniel’s narration.

In solidarity, Paul and Roxanne

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