A quiet cove in Southern Oregon is home to a heated controversy surrounding North American natural gas exports. After California and Washington both denied similar projects, the proposed $7.6 billion Jordan Cove Energy project would be the first ever US west coast liquified natural gas export facility, shipping out roughly twice the volume of gas the entire state of Oregon uses annually.
The project would consist of a 230 mile long, 36 inch pipeline carrying North American natural gas to Coos Bay, Oregon, home of the Jordan Cove LNG export terminal. Along the way, over 300 private property owners would be impacted, as well as over 400 waterways including the Klamath, Umpqua, Coquille and Rogue rivers. A temporary easement of 95', or the equivalent of a 6 lane highway, would be clear cut in order to bury the high pressure pipeline 5' under ground. In the case of one landowner, the pipeline is scheduled to rest within 200' of his home. With approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the project would be authorized to use eminent domain, meaning no appeal for landowners.
36 Inches, shot on location along the route of the project, is a millennial filmmaker's personal journey of discovery to try and understand this proposal and what it means for the residents of Oregon, as well as citizens across the US. Exploring the economic, property rights, and environmental concerns, 36 Inches uncovers some shocking truths about this little known project with not so little consequences.
"...time for the Department of Energy to listen to American Consumers..."
- The DOW Chemical Company
WHAT DO YOU MEAN RECOVERING APATHETIC MILLENNIAL?
For me it boils down to a sense of feeling overwhelmed. Not only overwhelmed every time I turned on the news, or tried to engage with a "pressing issue", but overwhelmed by a deep rooted sense of distrust. A sense of cynicism. I would hear people tell me it was bad to be cynical. Conan O'Brian seemed to be speaking directly to me with his Tonight Show farewell speech in 2011:
"All I ask is one thing, particularly of young people. Please do not be cynical. I hate cynicism; for the record it's my least favorite quality."
But I couldn't seem to shake it. Especially when trying to understand and engage with politicized issues. Maybe it had something to do with the context of my generation's coming of age from 9/11 to the '08 economic crash, or maybe it was just me. Either way it was there, and it was something my friends expressed feeling too.
All this led me to a place of apathy. So much confusion, so much distrust, and little belief that I could make a difference left me feeling trapped. It was never about not caring. I always had opinions, no matter how surface they were, but it was about a lack of enthusiasm. A lack of the belief that I could have any impact.
One day I came across a certain metaphor used to describe the issue of climate change. It said that the world of human behavior and governance was a river which had found its course via the path of least resistance. If we wanted to change the route of that river, we would have to create a big enough obstacle to force the river into adjusting its meander. That obstacle wouldn't come from any one person, or at any one time, but instead would be a collection of millions and millions of tiny pebbles, twigs, leaves, and the occasional boulder. We can't each take on the responsibility of expecting our single action to enact change. Instead it's the cumulation of our collective throwing in of small stones. As obvious a cliche as it may sound, this opened my mind to thinking about "engagement" in a new way. It wasn't about fitting into a box and recording "X" amount of hours of community service or signing up to volunteer at the food bank, it was whatever I wanted it to be. Whatever was honest and genuine to me, and whatever I felt I could contribute.
Recovery for me isn't only about moving away from a place of disengagement, it's about making a choice. Making a choice to engage with the issues I care about in a way that's honest to me. Moving towards a greater self awareness, understanding my cynicisms, accepting them, and using them to help me contribute in whatever way I feel I can. It doesn't necessarily mean joining a non-profit or protesting on the Capitol steps. Maybe it's a film. Maybe it's choosing to engage on a small stage at home. Whatever it might be, choosing to do something versus choosing to do nothing.