Inside Coffee Bandits, a local coffee shop in downtown Merced, the documentary Triple Divide is played for a small audience.
Directors of Triple Divide, Joshua Pribanic and Melissa Troutman, have gained national attention for traveling across the U.S. to hold showings and discussions on the dangers of fracking.
Triple Divide refers to one of the four Triple Continental Divides in North America, which provides drinking water to millions of Americans, according to the film’s website.
The documentary takes the viewer through a step by step process of how fracking can violate your home property, personal health, drinking water, and of course the environment. The film gives the idea that homeowners are “treated like puppets” for fracking opportunities.
The movie follows real individuals in Pennsylvania who were blindsided by companies who swiftly moved onto their property to begin fracking, either without consent or not knowing the life-changing impacts.
Companies named in the documentary included Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E), Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), Triana Energy, and Chesapeake Energy.
Pribanic, director of the documentary, says “It’s one thing to know what fracking is, but it’s another to see it. This isn’t a 2+2 might equal 4 situation. This is us presenting to you the facts and data.”
Pribanic had a clear message for UC Merced students: “UC Merced might have a great sustainability program, but the University of California is trying to do something else. Colleges have a lot to earn and gain because companies donate millions to colleges. Students should pay close attention to the UC Administration and read the studies they have in support of fracking. Use things like Triple Divide to critique those studies,” he cautioned.
John, a native to Merced and UC Merced Senior, has been following the fracking issue since he saw a documentary titled Gasland (2010) and now wanted to see Triple Divide.
“If only I could streamline how I feel about this horribly atrocious industry. Some of the public health impacts are so detrimental. I don’t think that you can really supplement that by saying that they’ll be able to give jobs to certain areas of the state,” he says.
UC Merced Senior Laina Gilmore, Bio-Chem Major and native of Bakersfield, is worried about Chevron’s threats of fracking in her own hometown.
“They put up billboards around town for job opportunities, basically in my backyard because I live really close to the oil fields,” she says. “It seems backwards. We know the dangers of oil, so why aren’t we doing better? It’s all a money scheme. It’s sickening.”