The water from the kitchen faucet bursts into flames when lit with a match. Would you want to drink it?
That's just one of the compelling images that will be gracing our local screens for the next two weeks as the 18th DC Environmental Film Festival electrifies our town.
That image comes from the movie "Gasland," which has a free showing Tuesday night at the Carnegie Institution for Science. It's an alarming look at Halliburton's drilling process in rural areas across our country. The locals jumped at the chance to find a natural gas wonderland under their property, but at what price? Ruined aquifers, dying livestock, raging illness and gas coming out of the kitchen faucet.
Is it worth it? That is one of the enduring questions from filmmakers around the world who expose the environmental harm we have done in the name of fortune, expediency and cheap goods.
But there is also great beauty and hope. There are 155 films and more than 50 filmmakers and special guests coming to town March 16-28. They will enlighten, encourage and enchant at various times with films dealing with the struggles and successes of the creatures and people that inhabit our planet.
There is no one more enlightened than author Peter Matthiessen. "The Snow Leopard" remains one of the great travel journals of our time. This distinguished observer of nature will speak Tuesday night at the National Geographic Society. On Thursday, a documentary about Matthiessen will air at the National Museum of American History.
Most of the screenings are free, as are many of the lectures.
The DC Environmental Film Festival is a treasure in our backyard. Take the time to discover your world.