Friday, September 3

Blue Gold: World Water Wars

Blue Gold: World Water WarsToday's documentary is Blue Gold: World Water Wars. It is based on the book Blue Gold: The Fight to Stop the Corporate Theft of the World's Water by Maude Barlow and Tony Clarke. The movie is intense and emotionally demanding, and purposefully so.  I had to turn away during a couple of scenes, including one showing a protester that had been shot in the face.

Blue Gold opens by showing that a stable water supply is a basis for civiliation. According to the documentary, we are entering a unique stage of history where water is being used for profit. The world water crisis has created a situation in which water is a precious commodity that only the rich can afford. We are living in a world where more children die from waterborne diseases than AIDS or war.

The movie is very critical of the World Bank and the WTO. One commentator calls WTO rules the new colonialism and another wonders why the MDGs do not include pollution. The movie also discusses the Bush family purchasing land in Paraguay and speculates that the family is shifting from black gold (oil) to blue gold.

The movie is heavy on background, but only the last third of the movie depicts examples of actual water wars and potential solutions. This I think is a mistake.  The movie spends too much time talking about corporate control of water, and not enough on the practical effects of the problem or what can be done about it. They also missed the biggest water war of them all: the conflict of Israel. The only mention of the region was to mention Israel's toilet system. To make a movie about water conflicts without any mention of the middle east, even areas where religious conflicts are not part of the issue, is an amazing oversight. The region is living through the problems that the movie makers are warning the rest of the world about. As the movie says, water is power. Take a quick look:

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