Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Blue Gold

I love eye-opening and thought-provoking documentaries. However, the more such films I watch, the more pessimistic I got towards mankind as more and more inconvenient truth is revealed in front of me. Blue Gold is one of such documentaries I watched recently. Based on the book Blue Gold: The Fight to Stop the Corporate Theft of the World's Water, the film provides a critical examination of the global water privatization.

As stated in the film, water is today’s oil. Water crisis and privatization is simply beyond our imagination. Some shocking facts I learned include: the French water giants Suez, RWE and Vivendi buying water all over the world including many American cities such as Seattle, Chicago and Pittsburgh; the Cochabamba protests in 2000 against privatization of water in Bolivia (even collecting stormwater was against the law!); Bush family buying vast lands in Paraguay which sits atop one of the world's largest fresh-water aquifers…

The title of the film recalls another provocative documentary Black Gold which uncovers the extremely unfair trade in Africa’s coffee planting. Actually Blue Gold also briefly mentions the unfair tea trade which prevents African countries from getting rid of poverty. Both films accuse WTO, World Bank and big corporate firms of rapaciously exploiting resources and labor from developing countries. These agencies are secretly pulling the strings only to ensure the weak always remains weak so that they can always make huge profits. Of course they never forget to play a benevolent role by donating food and money to the poor countries. Without changing the world’s political and economic system, no environmental changes (or any other radical changes) can be made, precisely the key idea conveyed in the film.

The non-profit organization Solutions for a Better Planet has been organizing environmental films and lectures around the world, and Blue Gold is on their list. I’m excited to find out about their China Green Tour -
In June 2010, a month after the official opening of the Shanghai Expo, in eight universities across China we will screen documentaries on the main eco-issues of our current environmental crisis: water, waste, energy, climate change, urbanisation, food, deforestation, desertification..., and present positive examples of pragmatic solutions from all over the world.

I'll be back in China at the time, so hopefully I can attend some of the events!