For Love Of Water
Salinas takes us on a worldwide tour of water-related disasters, every one of them the product of human abuse--pollution, privatization and corporate greed, inexcusable wastefulness and, to put it in terms that are simplistic but true, lack of respect for mother nature’s grand design.
The Growing List of Disasters Worldwide
In Lesotho, construction of a dam forces 17,000 farmers to relocated from fertile lands to a region so arid they cannot grow crops to feed their families. Often going four days without fresh water flow, they resort to drinking contaminated river water that causes disease and death.
In China, now emerging as the world’s leading economy, the Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze has caused relocation and impoverishment of 1.7 million people, but that's a fraction of total population displaced by dam construction worldwide--dams costing billions of dollars that redirect water's natural flow and impair or eradicate entire ecosystems. We learn, too, that many dams and other water control projects worldwide are the work of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, which are legally immune from the will of any national or local governments, and certainly to that of local citizens.
In India, we see the effects that the construction of a dam is having on the sacred Ganges and meet some citizens--mostly women--who, for several years, held a sit-in to protest the local Coca Cola bottling plant’s systematic pumping and depletion of their fresh water supply and concurrent dumping of lead-tainted toxic waste--which the plant’s managers have called ’free fertilizer’--on their crops. In one moment of triumph and hope, we learn that the offending Coke plant has been shut down.
It Hits Close To Home
Fact is, self interest is sometimes the key motivator in social activism. So, consider this: the film’s experts explain that water, a transient element, recycles itself around the globe through a natural redistribution system of precipitation, accumulation and evaporation. We're so familiar with the cycle, we hardly think about it.
Water entrapment and pollution--even if they're halfway around the globe--effect us all.
If you need convincing, check the film’s next location: Michigan--where Nestle, the Swiss owner of Perrier, Arrowhead and other water brands, bought wilderness, began pumping water, which is causing streams to dry, flora and fauna to die. And, the company got financial incentives from the state, didn't pay taxes and sold bottled water to citizens who did/should/would have the water from their own faucets, for free or minimal delivery costs.
At present, several multinationals--Nestle, Thames, Vivendi, Suez, Coca Cola and Pepsi are named in FLOW--own and control most of Earth’s fresh water. The film’s experts comment that since water's essential to life, these companies are positioned as Earth's ultimate power brokers. Unless their influence is checked, they'll be able to blackmail governments to do their bidding.
The Call To Action
Thousands of toxic human-made chemicals--detergents, cosmetics, medicines and other stuff--are flushed into our sewage, which reenters our water supply without sufficient purification. Nature has its water cycle. We have ours. They seem to be at war.
FLOW makes no water waste comments about your 40-minute showers--but informs you there are 16,000 manmade chemicals in our tap water and they are ingested through your skin.
Are you alarmed yet? If so, see and learn more from FLOW.
Stylistically, the film basically presents its arguments through a series of talking head interviews that deliver a deluge of disturbing facts and much convincing commentary. In situ verite footage bridges the flow of information, and nicely shot running water images create much needed interludes of respite from the flood of facts. Frankly, FLOW isn’t a great film, but it's fascinating because of its subject--one that mustn't be ignored--or denied. The film urges viewers to action, and tells how to join the movement to help save the world’s water supply.