Home > Uncategorized > Reflection Essay 2: Gasland

Reflection Essay 2: Gasland

Mohammad Umer Shafiq

Reflection Essay 2 over “Gasland”


                Procedural justice and justice as recognition are two aspects of environmental justice which deal with the voice of the people. Procedural justice is the idea that everyone has equal chance, opportunity, and voice in the democratic process. Justice as recognition deals with who is given respect or who has power when dealing with environmental injustices. Lack of recognition can lead to procedural injustice when the voice of those affected is not considered important. Without the ability to enter into the procedural process or to be recognized, a person can feel invisible. Gasland shows the invisible population that is affected by environmental injustices such as water and air quality. By shedding light on those affected, these environmental injustices can be brought to attention and possibly fixed.

                When Josh Fox receive a letter offering a good amount of money to lease his land to a natural gas company for fracking, he decides to research exactly what fracking is and the possible negative outcomes. Josh lives in house his father built that is tucked away in the forests of Pennsylvania, and is situated near a stream that Josh loves. This love for his stream and land is what causes him to further research fracking and the negative effects it has on nature. Josh starts a journey that leads him all across the nation to see firsthand what fracking is and its negative outcomes. The first major theme that Josh notices in most of the people he visited is the change in water quality after fracking had started. When fracking, large amount so of water mixed with dangerous chemicals are pumped into the ground to break up the earth and release the gas. This chemical rich water is pumped back up and left in pools, although much of the water stays in the ground and eventually enters the groundwater supply. The ground water, which many of those affected use for drinking and everyday use, is in such bad quality that you can literally light the water on fire due to the chemicals. A second theme was the emissions of compounds from tanks holding natural gas and chemicals used in the fracking fluid. Most times the company who was fracking and caused the problem would not fix the problem or would provide an inefficient solution. How could such atrocities be allowed to happen?

Loopholes in laws do not mandate the oil and gas companies to release or regulate the chemicals they use in the fracking fluid. Fracking being still relatively new also has fewer laws on regulating the process. This is a procedural justice problem in many ways. Those affected are denied the truthful information from the companies on what is actually happening. When entering a legal battle with one of the companies, those affected are put at a clear disadvantage due to lack of knowledge and lack of money. Many of the people simply do not have the money to continue the procedural process. Without regulatory laws on fracking, the companies are given an upper hand because the injustices they create are not considered illegal. Recognition justice is also another problem that inhibits the affected people. The companies and government tend to not notice the situation those affected are in, and go as far as saying the water and air is completely safe. Those affected who did try and enter the procedural process would settle because it was cheaper in the long run. Those who settled were not allowed to say anything about the companies, leaving them with even less recognition. The lax laws in the government and deep pockets of the companies combined, compounded the problems and left those affected in horrible conditions. A vicious cycle was created where lack of recognition led to problems in the procedural process, and problems in the procedural process led to buy outs which led to even less recognition. Although those affected did sign a lease allowing the companies to use their land, the unattended issues should be dealt with.  Until new laws are in place that put more regulations and pressure on the companies, these injustices will continue to occur.


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