Mama Gone Green is a blog dedicated to raising happy children and reducing our impact on the Earth. My name is Taryn and I am the mother of 2 young kids and an environmental studies instructor at a community college in Portland, Oregon. Please join me as I journey through life as a mama, teacher, knitter, photographer, gardener, and environmentalist!
Thursday, June 24, 2010
FLOW: For Love of Water. I showed this film to my class today. This was maybe the 5th or 6th time I have watched it and even after seeing it that many times, I was still moved by what it had to tell me. Needless to say, I think this film is well worthwhile and I decided that it was finally time for me to write up a quick review about it.
The underlying question behind this movie is can individuals own water? Can we buy and sell something that is such a public resource? Should corporations be able to control the global water supply? And if so, how can we call this fair and just?
The film starts out talking a bit about all of the poisons that get into our water supply, from pharmaceuticals to pesticides, fertilizers to fuels. War-fare chemicals were developed into pesticides and we now spray these chemicals on our food. They then runoff into the water supply and we drink them. These are the chemicals we developed to kill our enemies, and now we are knowingly feeding them to ourselves. Chemicals like atrazine, which is a hormone disruptor and is commonly found in water supplies throughout the US.
Maybe we should all just drink bottled water and avoid these pollutants? Nope. First off, many water pollutants are most easily absorbed through our pores while we shower, so we can suffer the effects regardless of if we drink it or not. Secondly, bottled water regulation is basically non-existent. There is one person overseeing all bottled water in the US. Bottled water is often just city tap water, and has been found to contain high levels of arsenic, and who knows what else. Drinking bottled water does not make you safe. Lastly, we just know that all of those water bottles, extra plastic, and extra emissions are just not worth it.
The film then gets into water privatization; for-profit companies taking control over public water supplies. In essence, rich corporations selling water back to extremely poor people for 10 or more times what they paid before privatization. Many of the water privatizations have been forced upon countries by the World Bank (who threatens to cut off funding if water is not privatized), and it is almost never good for the public. How can a poor family who has no income suddenly start paying for water?
FLOW gets into talking about dams being built to store water and how it effects both ecology and human lives in the process. 40-80 million people have been displaced due to the building of dams (damming a river causes a reservoir to form on the upstream side, destroying anything or anyone in the vicinity). Most of these displaced people don't get relocated, or if they do, it is often away from everything familiar to them and away from the fertile lands they were used to farming.
The film also talk about corporate greed of water. Nestle has wells across the US and the film shows the struggle of a town in Michigan to get Nestle out of their town and out of their water supply. Nestle doesn't pay for the water they use (and they don't even have to pay taxes because of exemptions), yet they make millions of dollars off of selling water. In the process, streams and groundwater supplies in the area have been altered, but Nestle still continues to bottle. Coke has been a similar greed-monster. In Plachimada, India, the coke plant caused wells to run dry, polluted water, and the plant dumped it's toxic by-product onto nearby farmlands as "fertilizer". These corporations are bad neighbors and destroy the lives of those around them.
How can corporations come into a town and decide to use up or pollute the water supply? Why doesn't anybody stop them? Whose right is it to bottle up a town's water and turn around and make a huge profit off it? As global water supplies are dwindling, we need to ask ourselves who our water belongs to... does our water belong to them (the corporations) or does it belong to ALL of us. Water is essential for life, so we should do what we can to make sure each individual gets what they need.
Hooray for this film!
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