A new documentary will show what it's like to have your life turned upside down by fracking.

I can't even imagine.

Imagine you're home.

You may not be there right now — maybe you're out running errands, or at a friend's house, or on vacation (lucky you), or wherever. But just imagine that you're at home, wherever home may be.


Maybe you live in a quaint farmhouse. How cute! Image via Thinkstock.


Maybe you live in Brooklyn. Image via Thinkstock.

625 feet away from your home (and your family) is a fracking well.

That's 0.12 mile, or less than two football fields. And that's measuring from the center of the pad — the actual well itself, not counting the width of the pad. Within a minute (yeah, a minute!), you could walk right up to the well pad's edge (although the security guards wouldn't let you, even if it's on your property).

Imagine a fracking well just 1.74 football fields from your house. Image via Thinkstock.

And by the way, a few hundred feet in the other direction is another fracking well.

What even is a fracking well? Why do you care?

You care because the well has totally changed your life. It's loud, it's lit up so brightly at night, there are dozens of huge trucks coming and going on your little road every day.

And worst of all, ever since they started fracking near your home, your well water has smelled horrible and has been giving you headaches. You're worried about what your water's been contaminated with and what it might do to your health — or worse, your kids.

Maybe you've never had this experience — but way too many others have.

Chances are, this scenario (thankfully) won't sound too familiar to you. But it's frighteningly familiar for many people in rural areas — and it's becoming more common, too. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, shale gas production in the U.S. has increased drastically even just from 2010. An estimated 12 billion cubic feet of dry shale gas were produced each day in the U.S. in 2010. In 2015, that number had increased to nearly 40 billion.

That's where the documentary film "In the Hills and Hollows" comes in. This film, created by Keely Kernan, will document the effects of the natural gas boom on the lives of residents and communities in West Virginia.

It includes interviews with folks who have had to endure the exact scenario I described:

Clips from "In the Hills and Hollows."

Along with a look at some of the other stories from people on the ground:

Kernan is raising money to help fund completion of the film. Check out her fundraising video here:

What's so important about this documentary?

I had a chance to ask the filmmaker just that. Here's what she said:

"We live in a world where we are often disconnected from fundamental aspects of our lives, such as the sources of our water and energy. 'In the Hills and Hollows' explores the lives of residents who live at ground zero of today's energy.

"We ... are often disconnected from ... the sources of our water and energy. 'In the Hills and Hollows' explores the lives of residents who live at ground zero of today's energy."

Ultimately, I hope that the film inspires an important conversation about what is at risk and what type of future we want — not only as citizens of West Virginia but of the country, and of the world. I also hope that the film helps people feel connected to the stories being shared and that it helps give residents a voice."

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Courtesy of Macy's

In many ways, 18-year-old Idaho native, Hank Cazier, is like any other teenager you've met. He loves chocolate, pop music, and playing games with his family. He has lofty dreams of modeling for a major clothing company one day. But one thing that sets him apart may also jeopardize his future is his recent battle against a brain tumor.

Cazier was diagnosed in 2015. When he had surgery to remove the tumor, he received trauma to his brain and lost some of his motor functionality. He's been in physical, occupational, and speech therapy ever since. The experience impacted Cazier's confidence and self-esteem, so he's been looking for a way to build himself back up again.

"I wanted to do something that helped me look forward to the future," he says.

Enter Make-A-Wish, a nonprofit organization that grants wishes for children battling critical illnesses, providing them a chance to make the impossible possible. The organization partnered with Macy's to raise awareness and help make those wishes a reality. The hope is that the "wish effect" will improve their quality of life and empower them with the strength they need to overcome these illnesses and look towards the future. That was a particularly big deal for Cazier, who had been feeling like so many of his wishes weren't going to be possible because of his critical illness.

"In the beginning, it was hard to accept that it would be improbable for me to accomplish my previous goals because my illness took away so many of my physical abilities," says Cazier. His wish of becoming a model also seemed out of reach.

But Macy's and Make-A-Wish didn't see it like that. Once they learned about Cazier's wish, they knew he had to make it come true by inviting him to be part of the magical Macy's holiday shoot in New York.

Courtesy of Macy's

Make-A-Wish can't fulfill children's wishes without the generosity of donors and partners like Macy's. In fact, since 2003, Macy's has given more than $122 million to Make-A-Wish and impacted the lives of more than 2.9 million people.

Cazier's wish experience was beyond what he could've imagined, and it filled him with so much joy and confidence. "It is like waking up and discovering that you have super powers. It feels amazing!" he exclaims.

One of the best parts about the day for him was the kindness everyone who helped make it happen showed him.

"The employees of Macy's and Make-A-Wish made me feel welcome, warm, and cared for," he says. "I am truly grateful that even though they were busy doing their jobs, they were able to show kindness and compassion towards me in all of the little details."

He also got to spend part of the shoot outdoors, which, as someone who loves climbing, hiking, and scuba-diving but has trouble doing those activities now, was very welcome.

Courtesy of Macy's

Overall, Cazier feels he grew a lot during his modeling wish and is now emboldened to work towards a better quality of life. "I want to acquire skills that help me continue to improve in these circumstances," he says.

You can change the lives of more kids like Cazier just by writing a letter to Santa and dropping it in the big red letterbox at Macy's (you can also write and submit one online). For every letter received before Dec. 24, 2019, Macy's will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish, up to $1 million. By writing a letter to Santa, you can help a child replace fear with confidence, sadness with joy, and anxiety with hope.

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