The High Cost of Cheap Gas

The environmental problems caused by fracking in America have been well publicised but what’s less known are the gas industry’s plans for expansion in other countries. This investigation, filmed in Botswana, South Africa, Alaska and North America, reveals how fracking plants are quietly invading some of the most protected places on the planet – including Africa’s national parks.

Deep in the Kalahari desert, fracking operations take place across the migration routes of Africa’s largest elephant population – threatening their survival. Plans to allow fracking in the Karoo in South Africa, a region of natural beauty, have been condemned as “completely irresponsible”. Water is extremely scarce and people are concerned about an industry that sucks up and potentially pollutes the little available water there is.

Speaking to experts, campaigners and affected communities, we discover the real cost of this much touted “cheap” gas.


  • Year: 2014
  • Duration: 56 MINS
  • Production: MIRA DUTSCHKE
  • Director: JEFFREY BARBEE
  • Available Versions: ENG
  • Country of production: South Africa



  • Awards Main Prize of the Category E Current Affairs. Prize of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of the Slovak Republic (International Film Festival Ekotopfilm – Envirofilm 2015); Accolade Global Film Competition Award to Jeffrey Barbee (USA), The High Cost Of Cheap Gas (Award of Merit: Nature/Environment/Wildlife) Festivals TERRA DI TUTTI FILM FESTIVAL 2016 (ITALY), AHVAZ INTERNATIONAL SCIENCE FILM FESTIVAL (Iran); CINEMA PLANETA (Mexico); International Film Festival Ekotopfilm – Envirofilm 2015 (Slovakia); Cinemambiente 2015; BIFED 2015 (Bozcaada International festival of Ecological Documentary); MATSALU NATURE FILM FESTIVAL 2015 (Estonia); SunChild International Environmental Festival 2015 (Armenia)

Related Programs

Green Warriors: Paraguay’s Poisoned Fields

In Paraguay, children are dying after being exposed to pesticides on the soybean fields. Working with scientists, the Green Warriors team investigate.

More info

Green Cops Cameroon: Protecting the Park

In the past 30 years, nearly half the animals of Cameroon have disappeared. We meet those trying to keep them safe.

More info

Banking Nature

We investigate the commercialization of the natural world. Protecting our planet has become big business with companies promoting new environmental markets.

More info