Wednesday, September 07, 2011

ONE WATER: “We are all in this together.”

Most photos Courtesy of Knight Center for International Media
by contributor Marana Moore

At a special green screening and rooftop reception for the film One Water held by the Washington Film Institute, viewers experienced a worldwide view on a basic resource.  In the words of one of the wise women in the film: “It is not for nothing that the world is more than 70% water.  It is not for nothing that we are more than 70% water.”

The film highlights the incredible contrast between what some might be familiar with:  daily access to clean water as effortlessly as the turn of a tap handle, versus the incredible struggle to obtain this vital liquid resource faced by much of humanity.

A musical score recorded by the Russian National Orchestra compliments striking imagery from exotic lands and cultures around the world, showing the unique usage and management of this precious resource in each part of the world.  In parts of India and Africa, women walk for miles in blistering heat every day to carry just enough of the precious liquid home.   In Hungary, tension and potential war brews over who owns the rights to the rivers that flow through the lands.  

Commentary from the Dalai Lama and other thought leaders provoked lingering questions on the issue at hand.  After the film, a short Q and A was held with a panel including film producer Ali Habashi, Executive Director of International Lifeline Fund, Daniel Wolf, and CEO of The Adventure Project, Becky Straw.

Photo by Marana Moore
Photo by Marana Moore

Audience member Tom Hanshaw started the crowd off with the point that while the problem itself is certainly very “depressing”, the question raised by the film is: “What is the best way of addressing the issue as an individual citizen?”

Panel members had varying responses about ways which citizens might get involved in the cost effective and sustainable solutions that might be proposed—from desalination to solar disinfection and rain collection. However, one thing became clear, summed up well by the words of Vahid Jahagiri, Deputy Director for International Lifeline Fund: “A lot of these problems can be resolved” but much of the time, it comes down to distribution and communication problems.   “Education is extremely important--for us and for them.”

Becky Straw, CEO of The Adventure Project, shared with the audience her work in the field where water access is difficult.  She met a woman who had just received clean water who “shook” her back and forth to express her gratitude, while saying: “Thank you; now I am beautiful.”  Becky went on to say, ”We are all human.  We all deserve this access.”   The film is heralded by the fact that the UN made a declaration of access to water a human right this year. 
In the words of One Water Director and Producer, Ali Habashi: “We are all in this together.”

Watch the trailer here: