The High Cost of Cheap Gas

As the debate over fracking in South Africa’s Karoo has slowly hindered the process for the time being, Botswana quietly leased vast areas of its most protected land to gas companies. This process carries with it a high environmental impact,  destroying communities, wildlife and landscapes through toxic exposure and lowering water levels.

Producer Mira Dutschke and Director Jeffrey Barbee travel around the world in ‘The High Cost of Cheap Gas’ uncovering what America’s export of fracking  and natural gas technology means to southern Africa and the global community. The team uncovers these operations and brings hard evidence to light that startles policy makers.  Short&Sweet chatted to Jeffrey Barbee about the different aspects of investigating the real story behind fracking.

How long did it take you to film the documentary?
2 years and a year of editing.

What was the most interesting point of information you discovered?
That we really don’t know what the gas and oil industry are doing, that there is no real science saying this stuff is safe, and we are all victims until we stand up and ask for real answers.

How many leads led no where?
Amazingly enough very few leads led nowhere. Almost everywhere we started digging we found something, there is a lot of data about the real consequences of fracking for natural gas but it is not well understood by the public, so everything is a bit of a revelation.

What was the most trouble you got into?
Telling you would endanger people, sorry, but I will answer this question:

What is the best thing to come of your project?
Right now one of the biggest gas drillers in Botswana, SASOL, has pulled out their operation. Other companies have had their leases cancelled after the government accused them of fracking “illegally” after our film exposed them on South African TV.

What was the single most heart breaking experience?
The most heartbreaking thing is to see that in places where gas drilling happens it is the poorest people who have to suffer the consequences of it. The rich people tend to be able to move away. It is those least educated and least able to help themselves who suffer from the disease and poison that comes hand in hand with fossil fuel extraction.

What’s your mission?
To find the truth and tell it to power, to people, to everyone.

Follow the developments of ‘The High Cost of Cheap Gas’ on Facebook: