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Water: A Wake Up Call


If you drink water, Last Call At the Oasis is a movie you should see, according to film critic Christopher Campbell. The movie

…presents a powerful argument for why the global water crisis will be the central issue facing our world this century. Illuminating the vital role water plays in our lives, exposing the defects in the current system and depicting communities already struggling with its ill-effects, the film features activist Erin Brockovich and such distinguished experts as Peter Gleick, Alex Prud’homme, Jay Famiglietti and Robert Glennon.


More links:

Last Call At the Oasis

NY Times movie review: When There Really Is Not A Drop To Drink

11 Comments leave one →
  1. Martin Lack permalink
    2012/05/09 8:13 am

    Thanks for the tip off, Christine. I will look out for it.

    This movie tackles an issue to which attention is long overdue. It is the reason a first became a hydrogeologist – and yet it will undoubtedly be dismissed as yet more “environmental alarmism”; as has been every attempt over the last 40 years to assert that limits to growth exist.

    In the final analysis, it is ultimately the arrogance of humans to believe they can master their environment – rather than accept that they are part of it – that may well be our downfall. As I said nearly six months ago,
    “When you live in a wilderness, it is probably safe to treat a passing river as your source of drinking water, washing room, and toilet. However, if you are unfortunate enough to live in a Mumbai slum, this will almost certainly contribute to causing your premature death.”

    We may not all live in a Mumbai slum but, as over-population is a function of the capacity of a population’s environment to support individuals , one person can constitute over-population in a desert; and the Earth is clearly already over-populated.

    • klem permalink
      2012/05/09 1:18 pm

      “..the Earth is clearly already over-populated.”

      Wow I’m glad you know about this, Martin ol’ pal. I have been trying to get a specific population question answered for years, I’m sure you’ll know the answer:

      Back in the 1970’s experts said we’d have 20 billion people by 2000 and that was too many, we would all die of famines and war. Today we have 7 billion people and experts say that is still too many, we are going to die of famines and war. If we had only 2 billion they’d say it was still too many, we’ll all die from famines and war.

      So now I’ll ask you Martin, if 20 billion was too many and 7 billion today is still too many, what is the number supposed to be?

      • 2012/05/09 10:36 pm

        Silly argument, Klem, not worthy of one purporting to be fond of science.
        If you think that everything’s fine with the world, then carry on. The rest of us are working to help make it a better place for our children and grandchildren (BTW, the argument can be made that it’s not the population numbers that are the problem – there just should be less North Americans and Europeans, who are using up the lion’s share of the world’s resources). It’s time for the human species to grow up; if we don’t we will commit collective suicide, whether the final weapon is ocean acidification, global climate instability, lack of clean water, or nuclear war. But we can evolve – this can be human kind’s best moment, not our worst. It’s up to all of us, collectively.

      • Martin Lack permalink
        2012/05/10 4:13 am

        Unlike you, Klem, I do not second-guess genuine experts; or claim to be one. However, I do consider myself very fortunate to have spent and entire year in full-time education studying the politics and psychology underlying the denial of all our environmental problems. Mmmm, that phrase sounds strangely familiar to me…

        As I said over-population is not a number, nor a density. It is species-specific; and dependent upon the complexity and resilience of the ecosystem that supports it. Our problem as humans is that many of us don’t recognise the value of the global ecosystem that is currently failing to support us; and which we are therefore continuing to degrade… In nature, populations generally do not exceed the carrying capacity of their environment because food supply limitations or predation intervene to stop them. However, human interference (such as the sudden removal of a predator or prey species) – can suddenly have that effect – resulting in overshoot and collapse of a population. Have you noticed humans have no predator (apart form disease) to control their numbers?

        Far more importantly, of course, humans have used technology to help support a global population that has already exceeded the Earth’s ecological carrying capacity and – in our hubris – some of us continue to believe that technology can solve all our problems.

        In 1968, Garrett Hardin warned us that the battle to feed all of humanity was over (i.e. we had lost). Malnutrition, starvation, and death are not a failure in food distribution; they are a consequence of regional over-population. Furthermore, charity is not the answer; nor is milk powder or disease resistant GMOs (from which only multi-national companies benefit). The solution is less people; and this will only be achieved through better education (so that people stop thinking of children as a permanent healthcare insurance); and the emancipation of women (so that they control their own fertility).

        I think it is Joyce Meyer who once said, “Your charisma can get you to places your character cannot keep you” and I think humanity is about to learn the lesson of this truth by a fall – not from grace but – from supremacy.

    • klem permalink
      2012/05/16 7:48 am

      Thanks. Great responses Christine and Martin, they were long and obfuscatory as expected. So I’ll summarize them here; there is no number.

      This is a straightforward fundamental question and after roughly 40 years that people have been asking it, the overpopulation alarmists still cannot answer. We could have 1 billion and it would make no difference. I guess those who benefit from spreading population fear will continue to benefit from it.


      • Martin Lack permalink
        2012/05/16 8:44 am

        Klem, I have answered your question. Over-population is not a number. Just because you insist that it should be one does not invalidate my response that it isn’t. Life is not that simple. This is called a false dichotomy. Therefore, it is you that needs to stop the obfuscation and state clearly whether or not you accept that the Earth’s resources are finite; and that it has a finite capacity to recycle the waste products of human activity (including CO2)?

        Can you please tell me exactly who does benefit from spreading what you call “population fear”? Over-population is a reality. Fear doesn’t come into it. However, we will only be able to solve the problem once we stop denying that we have one.

        Advances in technology have allowed us to stave-off the effects of limits to growth phenomena (as was acknowledged in the early 1970s that they would do). However, we were also warned (by the same team of MIT researchers employed by right-wing bunch of plutocrats called The Club of Rome) that this would just mean that humanity would be confronted by numerous limits to growth phenomena simultaneously (because technology cannot change reality).

        As Herman E Daly put it… “The Earth may be developing but it is not growing!”

  2. 2012/05/09 9:57 am

    Putting it on my “to see” list.

  3. 2013/02/10 7:23 am

    Putting it on my “should be on general release at major cinemas, and, oh, also on the idiot box now and then, too” list.

    I had hoped Dogwoof would carry it, but it seems not. Amazon can only offer me a ‘region 1’ disc (I’m in the second class ‘region 2’). Gotta love ‘anti-piracy’ measures.

  4. 2013/02/10 7:48 pm

    Do you have Netflix? This movie is not available in Canada (much aren’t!) but it might be available in your region!


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