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Film and Culture 1070

Anita Davis

Final essay

Blue Gold: World Water War

Why is water important? Water is the best of all things and is essential for all dimensions of life. Some people believe that water is unique among natural resources because unlike timber, oil, coal, or minerals, we need it to live. Where there is no water, life just disappears.Water has become a highly precious resource. There are some places where a barrel of water costs more than a barrel of oil. If you do not drink water for a week, you will die. According to science’s research, our planet is made out by 70% of water. Unfortunately, there is less than 1% of that water is actually drinkable or pure. When a well is dry, we understand the worth of water. As RicDavidge, the Water Czar of Alaska and water privatizing entrepreneur says about water, “It's not the money, it's the power.” Water is the new power and now a valuable asset on this earth.

In order to understand deeply the shortage of water, why there is increasing water crisis in our world today, what is causing it and its consequences, “Blue Gold: World Water Wars” is one of the best film that you should watch. The film is produced, directed and edited by Sam Bozzo, who is an American documentary filmmaker and also the owner of a production company called Purple Turtle Films. The film is based on the book by Canadian Maude Bellow and Tony Clarke, Blue Gold: The Fight to Stop the Corporate Theft of the World's Water. Blue Gold is Sam Bozzo’s new award-wining feature documentary on the global water crisis which he shot in nearly a dozen countries. This documentary genre is about culture and society, it does not only talks about the environment- the scarcity of water, but it also talk about how the giant corporations and government decided to take control of the situation by owning water and selling it in order to gain their profits.

As you know, when the population of our society grows, thus our water supply dwindles, and as our technological methods of transporting water increase, our water management methods turn from a community concern to a global crisis. Global Warming is an issue of ‘how’ we live; the water crisis is an issue of ‘if’ we live. The film warns us that in the future we will not be fighting for oil war, or seeking the peace of world, but instead fighting for water war.

The opening sequence, a dramatization of a man’s journey across the desert without water for a week, ends by mentioning the effects of extreme dehydration: bleeding from the eyes and died. The assertion also made at this point is that it is not about saving the Earth, it is about saving us. Here is a quote from the narrator of the film “This is not a film about saving the environment. It's a film about saving ourselves.... Whoever of us goes without water for a week cries blood.” Without having water, we will all be struggling to simply survive. According to records of the film, 97% of earth’s water is salt water, but just 3% of Earth’s water is fresh water. Much of that is polluted beyond human use such as chemical, gasoline, the waste from hospital: fetuses and dead dogs, etc…

The first part of movie presents "The Crisis," and depicts the essentials of the water cycle and how human activity affects and is affected by that cycle. The earth has a limited amount of water. However the water comes around in a cycle itself that if left alone, it will never run out. The little girl in the film explains this process of the water cycle, it starts off with evaporation, when the heat of the sun turns the water from rivers, lakes, or oceans and turns it into vapor and goes into the air. Condensation then starts, when water vapors become very cold and changes back into liquid forming clouds. Precipitation occurs when enough liquid has been collected in the clouds and the air cannot hold it anymore, then it starts to rain. However, due to human uses when it rains, it hits concrete, side walker or street, the water is unable to be absorbed into the ground. Instead the water then travels down storm drains into the oceans where it brings no use to society. It means the ground will get very dry, the grasses and trees die (Blue Gold). Maude Barlow, who is National Chair of the Council of Canadians states that “The world will become desertification so quickly and we are becoming deserts in many places” (Maude Barlow). Dr Michal Kravick explains that “as we dry out the land, it is changing from green to yellow, resulting in all the fresh water cumulating in the ocean. As the land surface weight is lightened while the rise of water in the oceans increase the weight on the ocean floor, this can cause the changes of structure of the earth’s crust which causes earthquakes and potentially tsunami waves like the ones we experience in 2004” (Kravick).

Human activities impact hugely the movements of water through its cycles and causing irresistible damage to the water cycle in numerous ways. In the film “Blue Gold”, they assume that because of large population and over use of water we are going through water so quickly that we have force to mine for it underground. In fact, we are using water much faster than it can be replenished through natural system. Some sciences research that humans are pumping 15 times more water from the ground than what is going into it, at the rate 30 billion gallons a day. We are desertifying our planet. Dam alter the natural flow of waterways, concrete road, building impede water absorption are also human uses to destroy water cycle gradually. By most estimates, in about 25 years, as much as two-thirds of the world’s population will be living in conditions of water scarcity; and the demand for water will outweigh the world supply by half. There are already some 30 Nation States currently facing serious water shortages. Water expert Dr. Michel Kravcik states in the film that we're only about 50 years from a collapse in the planet's water systems. That’s a sobering statistic. As a result, when the water cycle is damaged, it causes back many serious negative effects to people lives such as the shortage of water, desertification, diseases and disasters such as hurricanes, storm, tsunami, etc…

Second part is "The Politics," which introduces the transnational corporate players in the privatization and commoditization of water and the popular resistance around the world to keep its water. The film also depicts the story of bribery and corruption of public officials that led to the transfer of some municipal water supplies to private hands; some corporations have found a new way of gaining money and power by forcing countries to limit and charge the water with higher price to gain their own profit without caring how people needs water. The government has even turned water into a product. They use water for both economic and political gain and the grassroots fight in communities to block the pumping and sale of local water to companies that bottle and sell it for huge profits across the globe. What are the Suez, RWE, and Veolia? They are three major private water companies, which are gaining control of water supplies in cities around the globe, suck up millions of gallons of water, leaving the public to suffer with any shortages. There is shocking information that caught my attention while watching the film is the fact that in Mexico, a plastic bottle of water is more expensive than a glass bottle of Coke-Cola. They showed that in Africa Coca Cola rules all and the only water you can get is Dasani which is made by Coca Cola. Some places in Africa, people are able to afford to buy a coke more than a bottle of water. That is kind of ridiculous facts. People are literally dying due to the privatization of their water supply and the scarcity of water. One particularly scene made me heartbreaking is the story of two young girls in Kenya whose shack caught fire one day while they were home alone. There was no way for the girls to access water, and their neighbors, who were able to access corporate-controlled water only for an obscenely high price, literally could not afford to put the fire out. Both girls died.

I am so admired some success stories are told in the film, the notably the water riots in Boliviav and especially Ryan Hreljac’s foundation, Ryan’s Well.  Ryan is a young Canadian boy who heard about the lack of water access in the developing world and decided to do something to make a different. His teacher told him that a well cost 70$ to build. Ryan started on his quest as a first grader, and his story is inspiring for those wishing to make a positive change in our world. Later, he finds that wells actually cost something more along the lines of $2,000. Ultimate, he has risen over $2 million to build wells around the world and helps a lot people have an easier access to water.

The last part of the movie brings us back to a more positive side and basically has the message that it is not too late to make a change. Blue Gold is a worthy documentary for everyone to watch. I highly recommend all of you to take your time to enjoy a thoughtful and meaning film. I can guarantee that your relationship with water will be changed after viewing this film. This documentary takes us all over the world and is a great story of the scarcity of water, corruption, greed, desperation, tragedy, hope, and success all wrapped up in an hour and a half long. Water should not be commoditized. Clean water should be a basic human right. Blue Gold reveals that if we all are not together to solve this sustainable problem, war of future will be fought is Water War.

Work Cited

Sam Bozzo, Blue Gold:World Water War

Patrick Ivers, 2009, Laramie Movie Scope: Blue Gold. Retrieved from

Schertow, 2008 Blue Gold: World Water Wars. Retrieved from

Markham, 2009 Blue gold, retrieved from

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