Next week the Solution Grassroots tour is making a stop at the Plattsburgh State campus. Josh Fox, director of the films Gasland and Gasland II, is the leader of this tour and will be speaking about environmental changes and the climate.
“The Solution Grassroots tour is an event featuring music, storytelling and information about renewable energy,” Fox said. “We are traveling across New York and Pennsylvania trying to get people to see why we should change our energy now and get away from fossil fuels.”
Fox says the tour will consist of culture, which is art, music, storytelling, a renewable energy show, and will set up a grassroots democracy that will hopefully get people to set up future meetings among themselves and get involved with the energy change.
Currently, Fox is filming his third film. He says this film is really important because everyone is really affected by the climate and that they have filmed all over the world, including Africa, Iceland and Australia. But that isn’t stopping him from coming on this tour.
“The presentation will be more of an interaction between Josh and the audience, rather than a lecture,” said Lauren Eastwood, an associate professor of sociology at PSUC.
Eastwood said Fox will be showing clips from his upcoming third film, which will be about the climate. After the clips, musicians will take the stage, and then there will be local organizations talking and making a statement.
One of the local speakers is Aaron Baltich-Schector. He is a PSUC sophomore and is the co-chair of the Campus Committee for Environmental Responsibility.
“I will be highlighting the major campus groups concerning the environment,” Schector said. “I’m very excited. I’ve seen Gasland, so I am excited to see Josh Fox in person.”
Schector said that along with him, People for Positive Action and 350.org will be speaking at the presentation. Both of these are local organizations in Plattsburgh and will talk about bomb trains and raising awareness for the climate.
“Following the speakers, the audience will break into little sessions. The people will be telling their own stories and about switching to reusable,” Eastwood said.
Eastwood said having Fox here will be exciting.
“The whole reason this tour started, the other tours I’ve been on and my Gasland movies, is because fracking was happening to my community. When I started filming my films, it was really easy to find people to talk to because the people wanted to talk to me. No one was going up to them and explaining to them what was happening. They wanted to get their voice out there,” Fox said.
Fox said New York just banned fracking and we would be hypocritical if we didn’t do anything to find a new energy.
Eastwood, who first met Fox in 2011, says that hopefully people will see Fox as somebody who has given his life to environmental and climate change.
“I really respect him and the work he does,” Eastwood said.
In 2005, Eastwood started doing research in Wyoming on people who were experiencing fracking on their lands.
Going into more detail, she says fracking is where companies drill down into the ground, crack the rock and then send fluid that has sand in it into those cracks. The fluid pushes open the rock and the gases come out and up the drilling pipe.
Eastwood attended annual meetings and interviewed people involved in the organization called the Powder River Basin Resource Council. It was at one of these meetings Eastwood met Fox when he was a keynote speaker. After meeting him, Eastwood stayed up to date with what Fox has been doing, including the Solution Grassroots tour.
“I went to Brooklyn in September to see one of the showings of the tour. It was different than what will be happening here. It was more of a play,” Eastwood said.
So how did Fox end up scheduling to come up here?
“In the fall, I floated around the idea of Josh coming up here. At the time, I didn’t know Josh was actually going on tour, I just thought it would be a good idea for him to come to campus,” Eastwood said.
People for Positive Action gave a screening of Gasland II when it came out to the community. With the screening, it made Plattsburgh a possible spot for Fox to come and speak to. After getting permission from the campus, Fox added Plattsburgh as a stop on his tour.
“We are the only stop in Northern New York, so people are coming from Vermont, Potsdam and all over,” Eastwood said.
“Millions of people are having these problems and I am thrilled to be back on tour,” Fox said. “My first tours were about broadcasting the problems. Now I am glad to be back telling the people the solutions that can be done right away, right in the room where the presentation is being held.”
Fox said he is excited to come to Plattsburgh. It is his first time coming here, and he can’t wait to see the people who show up.
Josh Fox will be on campus March 8 at 3 p.m. in 200 Yokum Hall.
Email Samantha Stahl at email@example.com