Sunday, February 12, 2012

Two Films About Water

All thumbs up for these two incredible films.

First, Alamar (2009 dir. Pedro González-Rubio). This little boy leaves Rome where he lives half the year with his mother to swim and fish with his father over a Mexican coral reef. It is as beautiful a landscape, waterscape, as I could ever imagine, and the story is profoundly moving and dreamy at the same time. The boy and his father are so in love with each other, and watching them have time to talk and discover hermit crabs and fresh coconut and sleep in hammocks without the buzz of clocks and cars is exquisite.

Our oceans are so, so beautiful, and we have never lost our potential to live with care.But we are careless, especially with our planet's water.

Tapped (2009, dir. Soechtig and Lindsey) follows the bottled water industry to Maine, where Nestle buys small amounts of property and sucks out billions of gallons of fresh water for free, then sells it back to the people of Maine. By selling water back to in-state residents, bottlers like Nestle, Coca Cola and Pepsi bypass federal inspection laws. What? Yep, your tap water is tested many times every day, but your bottled water may contain (as samples in this film did) arsenic, benzene, toluene, dangerous bacteria and a host of contaminants that would trigger immediate reaction if it were in your municipal supply. Not to mention the BPA in the plastic. And bottlers are selling the water back to you at a 1000x markup. It's complete genius on the industries' part, and complete insanity on ours.

But that's not all. The human and environmental toll for manufacturing and then disposing all those bottles is a nightmare. People living downwind from the petrochemical factories are sick and dying young. We go back out onto the sea to spinning gyres of garbage, largely plastic bottles, whirling masses that are larger than our country. The plastic breaks down over time and is swallowed by animals and washes up on beaches. One environmentalist scoops up a handful of  shreds of plastic - remember your rock tumbler? - from miles and miles on the shoreline, and calls it the sand of the future.

Watch Alamar to calm your soul and give you hope, and remind you what's at stake. This is a beautiful, beautiful film. And watch Tapped. One by one we'll stop buying bottled water, and the planet will be better for it.

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