I just watched the sobering and informative film Flow: For Love of Water.
I highly recommend it if you want to know more about the effects of the clash between corporate profit and public health in the context of water supplies. Those familiar with the documentary “The Corporation” will be familiar with the style and unapologetic tone. The film provides glimpses into water wars from the ‘global south’ including Coca-Cola’s nefarious deeds in India to Bechtel & Suez’s role in Bolivia, but also the Nestle Company conflict going on in Michigan right now. The film begins on a distressing note but ends on an inspirational note. Plus it has Vandana Shiva–I love that woman!
The film mentions the role of institutions like the World Bank, the Asia Dev Bank, and the IMF (which are a few of the several villains in the film) in pushing the kind of deals that result in mega-dams and water privatization contracts. Though it doesn’t give much context for those dynamics, it does talk about why a multi-billion dollar project is the type of thing likely to be financed and gives some examples of low-cost alternatives that have real positive impacts on local communities. I would have liked to see more insight into public-private contracts to see more clearly specifically how corporations get these deals with cities, states, and countries that run so counter to certain public interest and benefit. I’d also like to see a case study of one specific case in detail from beginning to end. Furthermore, I’d like to know how and why the Appeals Court and the Supreme Court of Michigan sided with Nestle after the first court decided in favor of the community.
On a related note, I saw Vandana Shiva in Nairobi at the World Social Forum a couple years ago as part of a panel of Nobel Peace Prize winning women along with Wangari Maathai, Shirin Ebadi, and Jody Williams, all extraordinary women we should be learning about and learning from. They are fighting the good fight. In fact, right now Shirin Ebadi is yet again being harassed by Iranian authorities and antagonists for having the audacity to right for civil liberties.
Check out these resources if so inclined:
(I recommend any of her books. Pick one up and you will be enlightened in some way)
(I highly recommend her Unbowed: A Memoir, which tells her life story and her involvement in starting the Greenbelt Movement)