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There are 500,000 active gas wells in the U.S. Each well requires 8 million gallons of water per hydraulic fracturing ("fracking"). Each well can be fracked 18 times. Approximately 40,000 gallons of chemicals are used per fracturing, chemicals that include toxins and carcinogens like lead, mercury, hydrochloric acid, and formaldehyde. In sum: 72 trillion gallons of water and 360 billion gallons of chemicals are needed to run our current gas wells. Panelists discuss the environmental impacts of fracking and efforts to resist the industry at local and national levels. With photographer Nina Berman (Noor); Kate Hudson, environmental attorney and Watershed Program Director, Riverkeeper; and Anthony Ingraffea, Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Cornell University. Moderator: Adam Harrison Levy.

Nina Berman is a documentary photographer, author, and educator whose photographs have received awards from the Open Society Foundation, World Press Photo, and Hasselblad. She is the author of Homeland (2008), which examines the aftermath of war and the militarization of American life. Berman is an associate professor at Columbia University and a member of the Amsterdam-based photo collective Noor. For several years, she has been documenting the impact of fracking in Pennsylvania communities along the Marcellus Shale formation. Kate Hudson is an environmental attorney and the Watershed Program Director for the environmental watchdog organization Riverkeeper. She joined Riverkeeper in February 2011 after nearly 25 years in New York state government with the state's Department of Environmental Conservation and with the New York Attorney General's Office of Environmental Protection Bureau. For the past three and half years, she has led her organization's advocacy with respect to high volume hydrofracking in New York and the impacts that it could have on the drinking water of millions of New Yorkers. Anthony R. Ingraffea, a professor in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department and member of the Cornell Fracture Group (CFG) at Cornell University, co-authored the 2011 study that established the greenhouse gas footprint of fracking as being greater than that of any other fossil fuel including coal. Time magazine named him one of the People Who Mattered in 2011 for his work on public education on shale gas issues. Adam Harrison Levy is a writer and documentary film producer and editor. He specializes in the art of the interview. For the BBC, he has conducted interviews with a wide range of artists, writers, and actors. He wrote catalogue essays for Hiroshima: Ground Zero 1945 and Saul Leiter: Retrospective. He teaches at the School of Visual Arts and in the Film Studies Department at Wesleyan University.

This event is part of the Fall 2014 programming series ICP Talks: Climate Change. For a complete listing of series events, click here.


ICP gratefully acknowledges our partnership with the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and the International Research Institute for Climate and Society of Columbia University | Earth Institute, The Climate Group and Climate Week NYC, and The Human Impacts Institute, Brooklyn, in developing and presenting public programs to accompany the exhibition Sebastião Salgado: Genesis.

Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
International Research Institute

Climate Week NYC

Human Impacts Institute


Image: Nina Berman, Fractured: The Shale Play, 2011. Tap water lit on fire due to high methane concentrations. © Nina Berman/Noor.