“If You Don’t Feel Hopeful, You’re Not Doing Enough”

BY ON November 14, 2011

Two children with their arms raised sihouetted against an orange sky.

I recently met Josh Fox, the creator, director and narrator of the landmark film, Gasland. While I was waiting to talk to Josh about Moms Clean Air Force at the Design By Nature Conference, a conference participant started chatting with me. His name tag said, Sam.

Sam claimed many of our environmental problems, like polluted air (MCAF was on my name tag), were happening because people have given up trying to understand such complicated issues.

Sam said, “With all the politics and anti-science sentiment, it’s no wonder people are losing hope.”

I said, “I think parents will be the driving force behind cleaning up our environmental messes because we want a healthy world for our children.”

While people were clamoring to talk with Josh about their horrifying experiences with the gas companies fracking up their water, air and land, Josh caught wind of our conversation and nudged closer to follow the exchange. With Josh listening, Sam said:

“Even the best documentary filmmakers, environmental educators, concerned scientists, doctors, progressive politicians, and even moms (pointing to me), can’t always lead others to exemplary environmental behavior. Have you seen the way this country is headed? I’m kind of losing hope.”

He didn’t finish his sentence because Josh cut him off, “If you don’t feel hopeful, you’re not doing enough.”

Wow! This was one of those “ah-ha” moments in my personal parental fight for clean air. Not only had Josh taken his fight against the polluting gas companies to thousands of people with Gasland, he went on to nail it when he said:

“This isn’t a partisan issue. It’s not about whether you are Republican or Democrat, whether you are rich or poor. It’s about people coming together over an environment and health issue…Its about civil and human rights…The gas industry has bought its way into conversations on energy, drowning out voices of citizens…It’s shameful and it’s criminal.”

A few weeks later, Josh Fox won an Emmy for Gasland. When he walked onto to the stage fresh off of getting arrested at the Tar Sands Action at the White House, he spoke directly in his dedication:

“Most of all this award goes to the families who are fighting every day against the natural gas industry all across this country. The gas industry has contaminated their water, polluted their air, caused a public health crisis and a civil rights crisis.”

What does winning an Emmy have to do with Moms Clean Air Force? Plenty. Josh Fox cuts through the public relations fog that power companies throw around as fact…and wins. It is not a fact that pollution regulations and clean energy initiatives kill jobs. It is not a fact we need dirty energy to offset our dependence on foreign oil. The fact is, we have clean renewable energy sources, like solar, wind and geothermal. The fact is, we will not be silenced by money, power and politics. The fact is, with strong EPA regulations we can win the best award for our children – clean air.

Congratulations on your Emmy, Josh. You are one of the good guys…and thank you for fueling the kind of activism that inspires hope.


TOPICS: Activism, Politics, Pollution, Social Justice