Backyard screening and panel discussion
An interesting and timely event coming up this Tuesday, January 20 at the Pollard Hotel in Red Lodge at 7pm — a screening of the short documentary film Backyard by Bozeman filmmaker Deia Schlosberg, and an opportunity to hear from activists who have dedicated their lives to protecting the area’s natural resources.
The event is intended to inform and provoke a lively discussion, so come prepared to listen and participate. It is timely because the Carbon County Commissioners last week illegally rejected an effort by local citizens to control oil and gas drilling on their own properties.
I first wrote about Schlosberg a year ago when her film premiered at the Wild & Scenic Film Festival. As you can see from the trailer below, the themes of the film are similar to those we have explored often on Preserve the Beartooth Front. Backyard tells the stories of five people in four states. They all have very different backgrounds and perspectives, but all are at odds with the extraction occurring around them. Despite their differences, unnerving similarities emerge from their shared experiences.
One of the characters is from eastern Montana, and another, Jacki, is from North Dakota. We told Jacki’s personal story on Preserve the Beartooth Front last year.
Following the half-hour film you’ll hear from well-known activists who have fought to protect land, water, and property rights in Wyoming and Montana.
Deia Schlosberg has an MFA in Science & Natural History Filmmaking from Montana State University in Bozeman and runs Pale Blue Dot Media, which focuses on stories at the intersection of human rights and environmental issues. She was awarded a 2008 National Geographic Adventurer of the Year award for a two-year, 7800-mile through-hike of the Andes Mountains, and has subsequently lectured around the U.S. on the lessons in sustainable living she learned over the course of her journey.
John Fenton is a farmer from Pavillion Wyoming who has been living with the effects of the gas industry for many years: ground, water, and air pollution; surface degradation, property devaluation and other significant impacts. John and his wife Catherine have 24 gas wells on their farm. We told John’s personal story last March, and have done several follow up posts about how Pavillion has become a political lightning rod for the relationship between drilling and water contamination.
John has become an effective spokesperson for personal and landowner rights, and has advocated for these causes all over the world. Most recently he has focused on advocacy for environmental testing through an organization called Shaletest.
Gloria Flora is founder and Director of Sustainable Obtainable Solutions, an organization dedicated to the sustainability of public lands and of the plants, animals and communities that depend on them. At the U.S. Forest Service, Gloria became nationally known for her landmark decision to prohibit natural gas leasing along the 356,000-acre Rocky Mountain Front.
Gloria recently co-authored a report on how Montana can become energy self-reliant through renewable energy, energy efficiency and conservation. She serves on the Montana Climate Change Advisory Committee and works throughout the U.S. with the Center for Climate Strategies in assisting states develop climate change action plans.
Bonnie Martinell is an organic farmer from Belfry, Montana. She spearheaded a group of local landowners who spent a year putting together the Silvertip Zone, a citizen initiated zone that would have regulated oil and gas activity within the zone.
Despite receiving signed petitions from 68% of the landowners within the zone, the petition was rejected last Thursday by the Carbon County Commissioners in a stunning rebuke to the will of a majority of landowners who sought to protect their health, their water, and their way of life.
The event is sponsored by Community Empowerment Project-Montana, a joint effort of the National Resource Defense Council and Pale Blue Dot Media, which linked up to initiate a community-based coalition addressing the growing concerns over energy development in Montana.