Upon finishing discussing water (and all of its magical properties that help sustain life), my AP Biology class watched the movie FLOW. The film focuses on the fact that many of the poor in other countries, such as Bolivia, lack access to clean drinking water. The film states that 1.1 billion people in the world do not have access to safe, clean drinking water. Due to the fact that these people have no way to get clean water, they are forced to drink the water of contaminated streams or rivers, which causes sickness or death. 1 out of 10 children in Bolivia die of water borne illnesses. This film really put the value of safe, clean water in perspective for me. In the Bay Area anyone can easily go to their kitchen and get clean water from their faucet. But in some places, people have to travel miles on foot just to get water that may not even be clean. Luckily, there are companies such as charity: water that focus on bringing water to these impoverished people. People at home can donate whatever amount they please to help deliver this basic necessity to those who cannot gain access to it. Click here to donate: charity: water.
Another topic the film touches upon is the immorality of the privatization of water. I have always felt that water is a natural resource that should not be sold for a profit because it belongs to the public. Water cannot belong to one person or one corporation because it exists in nature and nature is for all to enjoy. The privatization of water disregards the public ownership of water. I feel that while the distribution of bottled water to those who may not have clean drinking water, such as in the event of an emergency, is moral, water-bottling companies are in the wrong as they are making profit off of a public good. The film particularly focuses on the conduct of the Michigan-based company Nestle. According to the film, Nestle’s pumping of water has led to a decrease in the water levels of nearby rivers and streams. Their conduct has therefore affected the water supply in Michigan. Nestle made a video rebutting this claim, which can be view by clicking here: Nestle FLOW Response. Nestle brings in various “experts” who claim that the water levels of Michigan’s rivers and streams have been closely monitored and are not dropping. In response, stopnestlewaters.org posted an article stating that Nestle’s claim is a lie and presented more data on the decreasing water levels of the rivers and streams, which can be seen here: Stopnestlewaters.org Response to Nestle. Overall, FLOW, Nestle, and stopnestlewaters.org present a blurred idea of the effects that Nestle’s pumping of water in Michigan has on the levels of river and streams in Michigan. This debate made me wonder: how is a member of the public supposed to know if what is being reported is falsely reported in order to support a specific side of the argument?
Click here to visit the FLOW website and find out more: FLOW Website.
Check out the FLOW trailer.
FLOW: For the Love of Water. Dir. Irena Salina. Prod. Steven Starr, Gill Holland, Yvette Tomlinson, Stephen Nemeth, Caroleen Feeney, and Brent Meikle. 2008. DVD.