Review (DVD): Blue Gold–World Water Wars

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5.0 out of 5 stars Worthwhile, Not as Epic as I Hoped, But Still Tops

August 27, 2010

Malcolm McDowell

I'm watching this in the context of reading and reviewing twelve books on water before I leave Guatemala. Having read Marq de Villier's book, Water: The Fate of Our Most Precious Resource several years ago, and more recently The Water Atlas: A Unique Visual Analysis of the World's Most Critical Resource, this movie is a collage. I recollect Human Footprint and The 11th Hour as better films but this one is focused and I am coming down on a five rating.

The tid-bits are certainly a pleasure to watch….

+ Pumping 15 times more water out of ground than going in
+ Sewage coming back into the food, especially vegetables, via groundwater pollution
+ Malaysia has imposed the death penalty on anyone polluting water
+ Cities can fall into hollowed out underground aquifers
+ Focus on how we are building housing that is out of synch with what local water can support
+ Focus on dams and other measures as changing the hydrocycle and destroying watersheds
+ Water privatization is the major disruptive and corrupting force right now–world-wide
+ Margaret Thatcher gave away England's water and set stage for global campaign to “own” and “sell” water
+ World Bank is in cahoots with water companies, including privatization of water as a condition for debt relief
+ Clearly time to shove back on “the Quad” (US, Canada, EU, Japan)
+ Suicides are a major side-effect of drought
+ Water privatization IS colonialism
+ First thing companies do (after bribing politicians) is to slash the workforce and lose the local memory
+ Then they raise rates and cut services (as well as safety of water)
+ Corruption is endemic at the state and province levels, and often for trivial amounts
+ Coca-Cola and Nestle come out as the new face of colonialism
+ Major players with terrible records are hiding behind new names, new brands, no change in corruption
+ Fifteen stock indices for water
+ Changes in governments turn contracts for export of water upside down
+ Desalination is a more stable solution BUT creates its own energy and pollution side-effects
+ 87 major corporate players in the water business including General Electric
+ They profit from dirty water
+ Millenium Goals over-looked entire issue of polluted water and who owns the plants, the products, and the pollution
+ Bottle of water $2.00, tap water less than a penny for the same amount
+ US legal framework gives corporations same standing as citizens–they also abuse legal counter-attacks
+ New term “hydrostitute” (prostituted hydrologist)
+ Wisconsin beat them, Michigan is making huge mistakes–if water is shipped it does not return to its basin
+ Supreme Court in late 1800's held Great Lakes to be a public trust that could not be privatized
+ Great T-Shirt: “My Mom Eats Transnationals for Breakfast”
+ 210 million gallons a year being shipped by various means
+ Contest for water heating up between “city people and real people” as corporations try to buy/rent farms
+ Virtual water/embedded water discussed, agribusiness is a huge stake in the heart of local ecology
+ 120 liters for a dozen roses–need many more examples
+ World Bank demanding that poor countries with low water export it to cover debt, this is being called murder and theft
+ Assassinations of water activists have occurred (e.g. Kenya)
+ Choice: cholera water from river or pay for clean water (“can only afford two flushes a month”)–state pays for illness!

WAY COOL: Ryan Hreljac $70 will buy a well. 10 steps versus 10,000 steps. Ryan's Well has raised money to fund 266 projects helping a half million people. I've heard about the Twitter fund-raising that does $250 wells, with proof on the web very quickly of accomplishment.

+ Export crops–cash crops–are for national foreign exchange, but not in the public interest
+ Lawrence Summers testified to Senate, US corporations get 1.30 back from every 1.00 in foreign aid
+ Fair trade rather than free trade is what the indigenous peoples want and need
+ The Western system creates losers, that is the system that has to be taken on

Minute 59: Begin Water Wars

+ Theft of water from clouds via cloud seeding now popular
+ When the water system does not work, the civilization crashes
+ So many water wars are presented as religious or ethnic conflict, this is not correct
+ Governments put military on side of corporations
+ Brazil, Canada, Russia already treating water as a strategic asset & planning protection
+ World wide water channels are being militarized
+ Bolivia a case study of public finally getting government to kick Bechtel out for its criminal behavior
+ Huge resorvoirs can become stagnant and mercury concentrations rise–ground water does not have this issue
+ Local control of growth can take years in court, but it can be done–live within limits of watersheds
+ America could save 25% or more of its water
+ Constitutional Amendments are the model–establish right to water
+ World Social Forum worthy and worth keeping an eye on
+ Small town mayors being convicted and sent to jail

Bottom line: know your water source, ask the questions, be active for future generations

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