March 22 is World Water Day, a time to celebrate and reflect on our treatment of this life-giving resource. It's also a great time to learn something new about the way this limited resource is taken for granted and mistreated right here at home.
To that end, here's two movies that will shock, inspire and remind all of us why water is always an important election issue.
Water Warriors (2017) is a modern-day David and Goliath story set in Mi'kma'ki, the unceded territory of the Mi'kmaq people living in New Brunswick. Water Warriors follows the epic three-year journey of diverse communities united by the need to protect their water from corporate greed.
In 2010, the New Brunswick government awarded Houston-based Southwestern Energy (SWN) a license to explore for natural gas. Undeniable environmental damage results from hydraulic fracturing and that motivated residents to halt the exploratory process before it reached that point.
That's when Elsipogtog First Nations people, French-speaking Acadian settlers and English-speaking white settlers came together to defend their water and land as well as the animals and plants living there.
Water Warriors is the amazing story of unexpected comrades whose resistance not only stopped exploratory fracking, but led to a complete change of the provincial party in power which eventually placed an indefinite moratorium on fracking in New Brunswick.
Storyline Media pride themselves on creating collaborative productions led by the people affected by the issues in question. To date the documentary has been screened at over 40 film festivals in the U.S., Canada, and Europe.
Enhancing the entire Water Warriors experience is a unique scalable installation. Augmented by photographs, video projections, and an audio soundscape, the exhibition deepens community engagement while fostering meaningful public discussions.
Michael Premo, executive director with U.S.-based Storyline, has a definitively Canadian connection -- he was an impact producer for Naomi Klein's documentary This Changes Everything.
During a phone interview with Anvil, Premo said, "We're always looking for narratives that will help communities tell their stories, find solutions, and change their community for the better."
For more information about Water Warriors and other Storyline documentary installations click here.
To book Water Warriors and the accompanying installation, visit this page.
Crap Shoot: The Gamble with Our Wastes reminds us just how easy it is to keep things we'd rather not deal with out of sight and out of mind. That pretty much sums up most people's perspective on what we flush down the toilet and into the sewer system. Where exactly does all that sewage go? But, more importantly, what precisely does it contain?
Follow the history of our modern-day sewer system from its beginnings in Rome to Canada where billions of litres of water are mixed with unknown chemicals, solvents, heavy metals, human waste and food.
It's a case of risk-benefit analysis versus the precautionary principle. Unfortunately, for the most part in Canada, the "perceived benefit" of releasing untreated sewage into our most important water sources or using poisonous sewage sludge on agricultural land far outweighs the heavy price we are paying by the onset of preventable diseases and the permanent contamination of our prime farmland.
See how municipalities in St. John's, Winnipeg, Uxbridge, Edmonton and Bear Pike deal with this toxic mess. Learn why Sweden, the Netherlands, and Belgium have banned the use of sewage sludge on agricultural lands. And, be introduced to an in-house fragrance-free composting toilet that could make every home self-sufficient when it comes to creating great top soil.
The disposal of our sewage waste in Canada is a gigantic problem that needs radical change, but that's only going to happen with massive social resistance that brings us face to face with what we flush.
The National Film Board of Canada production can be viewed for free here.
For those who want to do more, please check out the Wellington Water Watchers Water for Life Not Profit campaign.
A version of this article originally appeared in the March edition of the Anvil newspaper published in the GTHA.
Image: Screenshot from Water Warriors trailer
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