As oil and gas drilling has gotten closer and closer to homes and communities, residents continue to wonder: Is it safe? How does it work? What are the tradeoffs? And, should I be worried?

The public media journalism hub Inside Energy has teamed up with the National Science Foundation-supported team, AirWaterGas, to address these kinds of concerns — along with this single, driving question:

How can we better integrate research about the environmental, economic, and social tradeoffs of oil and gas development into policies and regulations governing development?


AirWaterGas is a team of scientists, engineers, public health experts, educators, policy analysts, economists, and lawyers. In 2015 it created a suite of classroom activities to help middle and high school students understand the environmental and economic impacts and engineering related to oil and gas wells.

In 2017, Inside Energy augmented some of that  curriculum with short, animated videos that help bring the topics down to earth for students (and, let’s be honest, all of us).


Why Fracking, And Why Now? – What is hydraulic fracturing, why has it become such a dominant technology for the oil and gas industry, and why is it so controversial? This video explores how economics, technology, and geology all play a role in the fracking boom using pastries as an analogy.

Water Use in Hydraulic Fracturing – Key concerns for critics of fracking include the demand for water resources, and potential for water pollution. This video explains how much water is used in fracking, and how it is disposed of after the fracking process. 

Drilling: A High Stakes Game – Who decides where an oil or gas well is drilled? There are many players involved. In this video, we look at all the stakeholders in the process and address how decisions are made about drilling in and around communities.