Over the four-plus years of publishing Ecopolitology, the site's editorial focus has remained relatively fluid, moving freely from coverage of climate politics (think cap and trade and "climategate"), to energy policy and the approval of a certain offshore wind farm, to disasters like the BP oil spill, the Upper Big Branch mine explosion and the political circumstances swirling around them.
And while attention to disasters, electoral races, and the political hot buttons du jour can quickly gain media traction, such stories can fizzle as quickly as they surfaced. Every year, however, there are a few additions to the ecopolitical milieu that show signs of having some serious staying power. This year, that honor goes to the controversial fossil fuel drilling process known as hydraulic fracturing, better known as "fracking." Few topics have bubbled up as quickly and have then had the kind of staying power to remain in the public consciousness as fracking did in 2011.
Here and at our sister site, EarthandIndustry.com, we have spilled copious amounts of digital ink on the fracking issue in the last year or so. But we are hardly the only ones, as evidenced by a proliferation of multimedia coverage, including a full-length documentary film (Gasland), several TV news magazine exposés, and so many public radio pieces, I won't even hazard to guess the number.
But the kind of attention given to fracking explored relatively uncharted territory in 2011 with the addition of "My Water's on Fire Tonight," better known as "The Fracking Song." The song and video is educational, even-handed, well-cited and even pretty catchy for an explainer. Produced by students at the NYU School of Journalism, The Fracking Song was named the number 2 Most Creative Video of 2011 by Time last month.
But watch out. The Fracking Song does something most viral videos don't; it makes you smarter.