In this clip promoting 'Backyard', a pending documentary on the many motivations and conflicts that drive people to oppose natural gas drilling, Filmmaker Deia Schlosberg tells the story of how some people come to oppose fracking and the drama this booming industry has created. Though the woman telling this story says her mom credits her persistence in explaining the issue and why it matters as the cause for their change, she explains that the real reason was that her parents caught a case of NIMBYism and that was that.
"It is very hopeful to see people change. My parents are a great example. They are both still alive. They are 90 years-old. And up until three years ago, never in their life had they done anything but walk into a voting booth and pull the straight Republican ticket. This is not a partisan issue. How do you get people to change their whole perspective on the world at large, and American culture specifically?
So i pointed my finger at my parents and said, "why did you change?" They did. And my mother said, "we finally started listening to you." But it wasn't me that made them get it. It was finally close to home. The oil well explosion in the Gulf didn't faze them. But sitting out there along the creek watching 50 diesel trucks an hour go past the serene, bucolic landscape they had grown up with outraged them. That was where it started. That it had hit their backyard."
We write a lot about NIMBYism and usually, the "Not In My BackYard" argument against doing things that are generally worthwhile is seen as an unfortunate hinderance to positive change. But there is a form of NIMBYism that should be supported and appreciated.
I don't think Schlosberg's documentary will be about NIMBYism, per se, but rather will tell the stories of people in three states that are presently in different stages of hydro-fracking development. These human stories will focus on the challenges, opportunities and conflicts created by a booming industry blasting its way into their towns. The film is currently being "Kickstarted" on Kickstarter, so if you'd like to see it made, make a donation to help pay for production.
As more and more places are affected by fracking, more and more people will come to oppose it. And to those that witness family or friends going through the NIMBYism of the type Scholsberg documents above, resist the urge to highlight their delay or chastise the self-interest behind their change. Rather, just thank them for coming around and help them turn that disillusionment into positive change. If it ends up getting made, a film like 'Backyard' could be a great way to show them they aren't alone.
(CORRECTION: An earlier version of this post inaccurately stated that the video featured Scholsberg talking about her own parents. The woman speaking is a person featured in Scholsberg's film.)