Monday, July 05, 2010

two movies about water and life

This first movie is actually two movies; Jean de Florette is a father who moves to the country to make his way as a farmer, close to the land. In the sequel, Manon of the Spring, his daughter continues to be affected by the land, their neighbors. Water is central to these beautiful movies set in Provence. The tale is surprising, profound, and ultimately a spiritually uplifting experience.

Just today, we caught the second half of Flow on television. It is a heartbreaking tale of corporations polluting and stealing water away from the poorest people in the world.

Interestingly, Flow has much in common with Jean de Florette. People who only care for large profits will disregard the suffering and death their enterprises can cause to communities.

My parents lived in Cochabamba, Bolivia for 7 years of my childhood. Not long after we left, the struggle between the people and a foreign for-profit water company came to a head. Protests over large increases in water prices eventually led to the corporation being forced out of Cochabamba.

Stories like these don't always end well. In Flow we meet people from communities in India and Africa and even in Michigan whose water has been contaminated or stolen by corporations. Corporations have dammed rivers in order to harvest water that they then sell to citizens at high prices. Not only this, but dams have also displaced many millions of people from their family lands.

However there are tales of many years of struggle ending in an eventual victory for communities.

Watching Flow made me want to make sure that any retirement plan I benefit from does not make money from these unethical corporations. Nestle and Coca-Cola both show utter disregard for the impact of their practices on communities and the environment.

I feel like I am still finding out what it is I am supposed to do. For now I am taking in almost too much information about corporations and the terrible toll they are taking on our planet. I have come to believe they are the Beast, the insatiable appetite for money that doesn't care what it consumes, and leaves behind desolation, pollution, illness, and death.

Our government is giving these entitites immunity to devastate the environment and at the same time giving them massive tax breaks. When it's time to clean up the mess, the cost falls to tax payers.

I am not sure how this beast will eventually fall. Do I need to re-read Revelation and interpret it as a message that somehow this evil power will be toppled in the end? Or perhaps my inspiration should simply be the small but beautiful stories of success around the world. Aquifers replenished, greenery restored, children playing in ponds that had disappeared and now are back again.

I highly recommend both these films. Watering your garden will never feel the same.

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