In exploring the hidden sides of the western shale oil and gas boom, the Rural West Initiative has looked at the impact of energy extraction on communities in North Dakota and Wyoming: on housing and infrastructure, strains on health care, disruption of local banks and the importance of refining state fiscal policies.
With our video feature "The New Western Fugitives," we now turn our focus on a side effect of gas extraction that is literally invisible: the build-up of “fugitive” emissions that contribute to high levels of ozone gas.
Last modified Thu, 2 Apr, 2015 at 13:31
Last modified Wed, 2 May, 2012 at 11:51
Photographs from "Real Rural" by Lisa M. Hamilton
On Monday morning, many BART riders will look up from their newspapers, iPads, Kindles, and smartphones to see the faces of farmers, rodeo riders, young smalltown boxers, and country poets staring back at them, thanks to an innovative public information campaign designed to connect urban Californians with their rural compatriots.
"Real Rural" is the product of a collaboration between writer and photographer Lisa M. Hamilton, the nonprofit organization Roots of Change, the Bill Lane Center for the American West, and the Creative Work Fund, which supports artists working in the nine Bay Area counties. On a media fellowship from our Center, Hamilton spent much of 2011 criscrossing California, capturing offbeat portraits of the state's remarkable scenery and seeking out stories about the diverse residents of what she calls "the rest of California."
Real Rural is meant to start a new conversation, between two parts of California that are at best disconnected, and often at odds. Many people in our cities think they already know the story of rural California: who’s there and how they think, their values and their struggles. I have aimed to demonstrate that in fact this place and its people are far more diverse and dynamic than most of us from outside realize.
Working with Geoff McGhee, the Center's creative director of media and communications, and the San Francisco design firm MacFadden and Thorpe, Hamilton has crafted an elegant, interactive and multimedia rich website — realrural.org — that tells the stories of 20 rural Californians, as well as posters on BART. Later this year, the project will be featured on mass transit and billboards in Los Angeles and Sacramento, and in exhibition at the California Historical Society in San Francisco.
"Real Rural" is featured in the "Insight" section of the Sunday San Francisco Chroncle and will be featured in other media this week, including KQED Radio's "Forum" on Tuesday from 10 to 11am and public radio's "California Report" magazine on Friday afternoon.
We hope you can join us to celebrate "Real Rural" California at the California Historical Society in downtown San Francisco on Tuesday, January 31, from 5 to 7pm, where Lisa will talk about the journey she took to find these extraordinary stories from the rest of California. Please click here for more information and to RSVP.
Last modified Mon, 30 Jan, 2012 at 9:36
Cow Town to Boom Town: "A Feeding Frenzy"
Duration: 5:46 (download as podcast)
Click image to view interactive feature.
By Claire Woodard
The influx of wealth from the gas boom has brought a lot of new infrastructure, investment, and business opportunities to Sublette County, Wyoming. But it has also inspired an unfamiliar and sometimes troubling response among residents: greed.
Last modified Thu, 2 Apr, 2015 at 11:54
By Claire Woodard
Residents of Pinedale, Wyoming have decidedly mixed feelings about the area’s gas boom. Though the boom has brought wealth and much opportunity to the community, it has also presented a host of challenges, from a transformed town culture to environmental degradation.
In “Ambivalence,” Pinedale locals share their thoughts on the boom’s benefits and its drawbacks.
Last modified Thu, 2 Apr, 2015 at 11:55
Click the player above to watch the video, "The Boom: Pinedale, Wyoming in Transition"
By Claire Woodard
“Cow Town to Boom Town” is a series of audio-visual essays about the effects of the natural gas boom on the community of Pinedale, Wyoming. The project draws on interviews with residents conducted by the University of Wyoming’s American Heritage Center, as part of their oral history collection “Wyoming’s Energy Boom, 1995-2010.” We thank the Center and its Associate Archivist Leslie Waggener for kindly sharing interviews and materials.
Last modified Thu, 2 Apr, 2015 at 11:56