Betsy’s Corner: Under Pressure, the Movie

I hate paying those monthly bills to Columbia Gas. Every year it gets more expensive. Could it be that the consumers are paying for Columbia’s Gas’s problems and mistakes? I hate even typing the name Columbia Gas. I used to think natural gas was clean energy, but I was completely wrong. We switched from oil to gas long ago before I learned what I now know. Our planet is at grave risk. Our continued health is in peril. The climate is changing! The world isn’t in good shape anymore. I recycle, I reuse and I stopped using plastic bags. Soon, I should stop using gas but what is my alternative? Solar or wind energy are clean alternatives – we all must wake up and change our energy sources before we can’t. At some point, it will be too late.

Our local activists, Longmeadow Gas Pipeline Awareness group, hosted a special documentary film screening. I attended with a bunch of concerned citizens to watch the movie called “Under Pressure”. It was written and produced by a team of high school students from Greenfield in Western Massachusetts. The Four Rivers Public Charter School seniors produced an amazing movie in only three months. Lilly Lombard, a representative from the Sierra Club and her daughter Madeleine Lombard, a student who worked on the film joined the screening at the First Church to answer questions and educate the audience. The movie is about the Merrimack Valley gas explosion last year. Watching the film, I got emotional thinking about the pervasive use of natural gas in our world today. The movie follows the disaster that happened on September 13, 2018, just north of Boston. As you should all know, a total of 80 homes and buildings exploded due to built up gas pressure, which was caused by human error. There were many injuries and one fatality. Three towns were severely affected: Andover, North Andover and Lawrence. It could have happened here. Columbia Gas was working here all last summer on something they called the Reliability Project. They were working near my house while replacing ancient metal underground pipes with plastic pipes. There is an underground nightmare all across America. Watching this movie will certainly wake you up and shock you!

A total of 30 students, ages 17-18, created “Under Pressure”, full of over 25 interviews by first responders, community leaders, scientists, professors and victims of this terrible gas explosion. It is an excellent movie and there should be mandatory viewing in schools across the country in the coming year. The next generation must solve our global warming problem.  We must transition from this dangerous polluting fuel to clean energy resources. The younger people are inheriting a mess. We are in a transitional time period and our continued use of this natural gas will not help cool the planet. Longmeadow recently voted on Election Day in June to try and stop the Tennessee Valley Pipeline from building on an easement at the Longmeadow Country Club. I urge you to watch it. Please go to YouTube and put in the title “Under Pressure documentary”. Watch it! Share it! Tell your community leaders to see it. I suggest that our local High School sponsor a screening this coming September when the school year resumes. All of us must try to reduce our energy footprint.

The situation is overwhelming but we all must do our part to try to figure out how to stop the accelerated climate changes that will wreak havoc for all of us. I urge you to think about how we can improve the legacy we will leave our children and grandchildren. The time is now! Thank you! Let’s make the necessary changes needed to save Mother Earth.