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The Whanganui River, New Zealand recently granted legal personhood
photo – Reggie Luedtke

Global Freshwaters Virtual Theater


Session Replays

Enjoy the recorded sessions which are available via video playlist as well as throughout this page


Troubled Waters – Mississippi River Story

A Film by Larkin McPhee and Barbara Coffin
Produced by the Bell Museum of Natural History

Session Replay
Watch the film discussion moderated by Don Shelby with special presentations by Tracy Fredin of Clean Water Minnesota and John G. Shephard, multimedia producer and Professor at Hamline University Center for Global Environmental Education.

Troubled Waters Film Poster

The Emmy Award-winning Troubled Waters: A Mississippi River Story tells the story of the unintended yet severe consequences of farming along the Mississippi, and the efforts being taken to reverse this damage. America’s heartland boasts some of the world’s most productive farmland, but this bounty has come with a price. Excess crop fertilizers are contaminating the nation’s rivers, lakes and aquifers, while at the same time precious soil is washing away.

The film traces the development of America’s bountiful harvest and examines its effect on the legendary river, as well as the “dead zone” created in the Gulf of Mexico. Knitting together federal energy, farm and environmental policies, the film makes a compelling case for revamping US agricultural policy and practices. It also helps viewers to grasp a profound truth — that a single drop of water in the upper Midwest has an impact far downstream.

Through beautiful photography and narrative, Troubled Waters emphasizes solutions, providing a hopeful blueprint for progress and positive change. The film tells the stories of farmers, scientists and citizens who are pursuing more sustainable land-use practices that meet the goals of an ambitious, food-producing nation, while ensuring the long-term health of its most precious natural resources.

People’s Resolution Honoring the Great Rivers Mississippi and Missouri. penned by Marsha Moutrie, Senior Advisor, Earth Law Center, ELC and former city of Santa Monica Attorney and marked up by Grant Wilson, Executive Director of  ELC and Myra L Jackson, Founder of the Global Being Foundation. 


Global Rights of Nature

Invisible Hand – Who will speak for nature?


1 hour 24 minutes. Documentary – TV Series

From award-winning directors, Joshua B. Pribanic and Melissa Troutman  

Session Replay
“Invisible Hand” Rights of Nature documentary discussion is moderated by Thea La Grou with film directors, Joshua B. Pribanic and Melissa Troutman.

Recognizing nature as an entity with legal rights is revolutionary. It’s not an environmental movement unless it protects nature as a right bearing entity. Lean more about this groundbreaking film and international movement.

Troubled Waters Film Poster

Produced by award-winning actor Mark Ruffalo, INVISIBLE HAND is a paradigm shifting story about the Rights of Nature Movement –the current global battle between capitalism and democracy where the fight for our survival is at stake.

In the fall of 2014, for the first time in United States history, an ecosystem filed to defend itself in a lawsuit claiming its ‘right to exist’ in Grant Township, Pennsylvania. For attempting such a radical act, Grant’s rural community of 700 people were sued by a corporation, then by the state government, and are now locked in a battle to defend the watershed they call home through civil disobedience. The water they drink, the Rights to Nature laws they’ve passed are all on the line in this exclusive story.


Rights of Nature: A Global Movement


Issac Goeckeritz, Hal Crimmel, María Valeria Berros
52 minutes

Session Replay
Emmy and Peabody Award-winning journalist, Don Shelby, moderates the “Rights of Nature: A Global Movement” film discussion with Marsha Moutrei, former City Attorney, Santa Monica, CA and co-author of Rights of Nature legislation, and Dr. Alessandro Pelizzon – founder of Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature, Australian Earth Laws Alliance.

The discussion centers on the concept of “person-hood” that is a state of rights for nature which would be equivalent to human rights or the rights of corporations.

Troubled Waters Film Poster

Western views and the legal system tend to view nature as property, and as a resource from which wealth is extracted, a commodity whose only value is to provide for human needs. But for millennia indigenous communities have viewed themselves as part of nature.

As pressures on ecosystems mount and as conventional laws seem increasingly inadequate to address environmental degradation, communities, cities, regions and countries around the world are turning to a new legal strategy known as The Rights of Nature.

This film takes viewers on a journey that explores the more recent origins of this legal concept, and its application and implementation in Ecuador, New Zealand, and the United States. Learn how constitutional reforms adopted in Ecuador have helped recognize nature as a legal entity, and how partnerships between the Māori and the government of New Zealand have led to personhood status for rivers (Wangahui), lakes and forests, and a renewed sense of balance between people and nature. The film explores the successes and challenges inherent in creating new legal structures that have the potential to maintain and restore ecosystems while achieving a balance between humans and nature.


Kiss the Ground


Featured on Films for the Planet
1 hour 25 minutes

Directors | Producers:

Rebecca Harrell Tickell, Josh Tickell
Narrated and featuring Woody Harrelson

Session Replay
Moderator Jodi Gustafson (Gates Scholar, Univ. Cambridge Conservation Leadership) joins Erin Matariki Carr (Co-lead at We Are River, Co-Manager New Zealand Alternative) and Mike Tiatoko (Takiwa and Calm the Farm – New Zealand) to discuss New Zealand’s fresh water crisis and corresponding films:
“Troubled Waters” by Yaara Bou Melhem reporting from New Zealand, “Seven Rivers Walking” by New Zealand filmmaker: Gaylene Barnes; and “Kiss the Ground” by Directors | Producers: Rebecca Harrell Tickell, Josh Tickell

Troubled Waters Film Poster

Narrated and featuring Woody Harrelson, Kiss the Ground is an inspiring and groundbreaking film that reveals the first viable solution to our climate crisis.

Kiss the Ground reveals that, by regenerating the world’s soils, we can completely and rapidly stabilize Earth’s climate, restore lost ecosystems, and create abundant food supplies. Using compelling graphics and visuals, along with striking NASA and NOAA footage, the film artfully illustrates how, by drawing down atmospheric carbon, the soil is the missing piece of the climate puzzle.

This movie is positioned to catalyze a movement to accomplish the impossible – to solve humanity’s greatest challenge, to balance the climate, and secure our species’ future.

Troubled Waters Film Poster

Making America’s Rivers Blue Again: Connecting the Dots Between Regenerative Agriculture and Healthy Waterways

Building a regenerative food system where bees buzz, dragonflies hover, and fish and frogs thrive will begin when we change hearts and minds. Fake meats and GMO soy are not the answer.

By the Founder of Nutiva and Executive Producer of Kiss the Ground  John W. Roulac


The #1 reason for rivers and streams pollution in the US is agriculture -EPA

Agricultural water accounts for 70% of global water use

With a rising populations demands, agriculture must find solutions to increasing water shortages

More than 60% of the largest US aquifer has run dry due to agriculture – Natl. Geographic

30% to 60% of agricultural water is lost to evaporation

38% of European water bodes are polluted by agricultural discharge- WWAP

Seven Rivers Walking – Haere Mārire


1 hour 54 minutes
Filmmaker:  Gaylene Barnes

Session Replay
Moderator Jodi Gustafson (Gates Scholar, Univ. Cambridge Conservation Leadership) joins Erin Matariki Carr (Co-lead at We Are River, Co-Manager New Zealand Alternative) and Mike Tiatoko (Takiwa and Calm the Farm – New Zealand) to discuss New Zealand’s fresh water crisis and corresponding films:
“Troubled Waters” by Yaara Bou Melhem reporting from New Zealand, “Seven Rivers Walking” by New Zealand filmmaker: Gaylene Barnes; and “Kiss the Ground” by Directors | Producers: Rebecca Harrell Tickell, Josh Tickell

Troubled Waters Film Poster

With walkers, rafters, farmers and fishing folk, we journey the alpine to spring rivers of Canterbury.  Exploring above and below the surfaces, uncovering ways through our current freshwater crisis. This lyrical documentary from New Zealand is an intimate portrait of the struggles around water – globally the most precious resource of our time.

New Zealand’s Troubled Waters

Troubled Waters Film Poster

29 minutes

ABC News  Foreign Correspondent
Yaara Bou Melhem reports 

RECOMMENDED: Troubled Waters interactive media report

Session Replay
Moderator Jodi Gustafson (Gates Scholar, Univ. Cambridge Conservation Leadership) joins Erin Matariki Carr (Co-lead at We Are River, Co-Manager New Zealand Alternative) and Mike Tiatoko (Takiwa and Calm the Farm – New Zealand) to discuss New Zealand’s fresh water crisis and corresponding films:

“Troubled Waters” by Yaara Bou Melhem 
“Seven Rivers Walking” by New Zealand filmmaker: Gaylene Barnes; 
“Kiss the Ground” Directors | Producers: Rebecca Harrell Tickell, Josh Tickell

New Zealand’s pristine and dramatic landscapes have been a magnet for tourists and film directors alike, but the country has some of the developed world’s most polluted rivers.
Last year, a government report found nearly 60 per cent of the country’s rivers carry pollution above acceptable levels, with 95 to 99 per cent of rivers in pastoral, urban and non-native forested areas contaminated.

In the Canterbury region, which includes the city of Christchurch, some scientists blame an explosion of dairy farming and large-scale irrigation since the late 1980s for polluting many of the region’s rivers.

Learn how the Maori are leading freshwater reforms in New Zealand. Each waterway has its own mauri, or life force, creating a deep connection between Maori people and the natural environment. Generations have built a way of life around the waterways, boating and fishing in New Zealand’s pristine aquatic environment. But after decades of degradation of the South Island’s rivers, Ngāi Tahu are seeking “authority and autonomy” over waterways in their tribal area. 


Achieving balanced relationship between humans and nature

Where There Once Was Water


Directed & Produced by : Brittany App

Watch the discussion moderated by “Once Where There was Water”, Director & Producer Brittany App, with Mark Dubois and cast members Clare Dubois – founder of Tree Sisters and Florencia Ramirez – Author Eat Less Water

Troubled Waters Film Poster

 This is a story about water. A song for the sacred in all of us. A documentary centered on solutions. This is a look at the driest of places – California and the Southwest – and the deepest of spaces – our inner worlds and the stories we choose to tell. We are invited to change our perspective, to rewrite our stories, and ultimately, to heal our broken relationships with the natural world. 

Where land is desert, and water is scarce, we find hope and resilience in Navajo Nation. Where statewide infrastructure is failing in California, we find innovation and conservation. Where salmon and beavers are reintroduced into streams, we find restored ecosystems. With reforestation, we find healthier watersheds. In cities, we find urban farmers, healing soil and building community, in conversation with mother earth. Where cattle are managed holistically on grassland, we find cleaner groundwater and healthier springs. Instead of vineyards depleting aquifers, we find biodiversity, responsibility, and hope. Where traditional agriculture has sucked wells dry, we choose a new way forward. And in our own kitchens, we find we have great power, and great choice to use less, waste less, and ask questions. To choose the water story we tell, one meal at a time.
The choice point has arrived. The old story will bring scarcity. But a new story, one that we can write together, may indeed lead us to abundance and water for all. Only through personal relationship with the sacred can we truly begin to heal. Water is life. Water is love. What can you do in your life, to be a voice for the water?


Industrial waste, fashion, plastic pollution


Dark Waters

Troubled Waters Film Poster

A tenacious attorney uncovers a dark secret that connects a growing number of unexplained deaths to one of the world’s largest corporations. While trying to expose the truth, he soon finds himself risking his future, his family and his own life.


Featured on Films for the Planet | On demand at Amazon

2 hours 7 minutes | 2019

Directed by Todd Haynes, starring Mark Ruffalo and Anne Hathaway. Drama based on a true story.



Forever Chemicals” Pollute Water from Alaska to Florida

-80% of wastewater worldwide is discharged into our soil untreated -UN

-1 in 3 cities in the US have traces of pharmaceuticals in their water – Assoc Press

-10 billion gallons of wastewater every year in the US are released untreated – EPA

-More than 700 pollutants can be found in European water

There’s Something in the Water

1 hour 13 minutes
Directed by Elliot Page and Ian Daniel
Starring: Elliot Page

Featured on Films for the Planet | Netflix

An examination of environmental racism, the film explores the disproportionate effect of environmental damage on Black Canadian and First Nations communities in Nova Scotia. Based on Dr. Waldron’s book of the same name, this documentary spotlights the health impacts and struggles of minority communities as they fight officials over the lethal effects of industrial waste.


240 thousand water main breaks per year occur in the US – ASCE

6 Billion gallons of water are lost due to leaking pipes ever day in the US – ASCE
385,000 toxic lead pipes are still delivering water in Chicago – T. Preckwinkle
6.5 million toxic lead pipes are delivering water to U-home and businesses.  AWWA
8,000 children have been exposed to toxic chemical in Flint, Michigan – World Vision
11,800 households had their water shut off in Detroit last year – City of Detroit
80% of nonwhite respondents worry “a great deal” about their water  – Gallup
65% of black Baltimoreans cannot afford water – NAACP

River Blue

Watch on Films for the Planet  $3.99
1 hour 35 minutes
Filmmaker: Lisa Mazzotta

Directed by David McIlvride and Roger Williams

Narrated by Jason Priestley

RIVERBLUE travels around the world to uncover the dirty secret behind how our clothes are made. This award-winning feature reveals stunning and shocking images that truly change the way we look at what we wear. Through harsh chemical manufacturing processes and the irresponsible disposal of toxic chemical waste, one of our favorite iconic products, blue jeans, is destroying rivers globally.

White Water Black Gold

Troubled Waters Film Poster

Watch on Films for the Planet $4.00 on demand

57 minutes

Directed by David Lavallee

An investigative point-of-view documentary about David Lavallee’s journey down the Athabasca River and across Western Canada in search of answers about the battle between water and oil. Following an imaginary drop of water, and later an imaginary drop of oil, he discovers the threats to the third largest watershed in the world and two separate oceans. White Water, Black Gold is a film about the inextricable link between water and oil in our modern world

Flow: for the Love of Water

Troubled Waters Film Poster

Flow: for the Love of Water

 Featured on Films for the Planet
1 hr. 23 minutes | 2008 

Trailer |  Amazon

Directed by Irena Salina

This award-winning documentary investigates what experts label the most important political and environmental issue of the 21st Century: the world water crisis. Building a case against the growing privatization of the world’s dwindling fresh water supply, the director focuses on politics, pollution, human rights, and the emergence of a domineering world water cartel

A River’s Last Chance

Troubled Waters Film Poster

1 hour 7 minutes

Directed by Shane Anderson

The Eel River in Northern California is arguably the best opportunity for wild salmon recovery on the entire west coast. The river and salmon have weathered decades of overfishing, abusive logging, catastrophic floods and droughts, a hydro power dam that diverts water out of the basin. Today the Eels recovering wild salmon compete for water with the region’s underground multi billion dollar cannabis economy and the multi billion dollar wine industries of Sonoma and Mendocino.

This film is rooted in the belief that we can live symbiotically with our watersheds and encourage both a rivers recovery and economic future.

Read more
Humans have affected fish diversity in nearly half of all rivers


Last Call at the Oasis

Troubled Waters Film Poster

 Participant Media
1 hour 39 minute

Directed By: Jessica Yu

Writers:  Alex Prud’homme  -inspired by the book “The Ripple Effect” and Jessica Yu
Stars:  Erin Brockovich-Ellis, Jay Famiglietti, Peter H. Gleick

A look at the vital role of water, exposing the defects in the current system, the communities already struggling with the effects of water shortages and the individuals who are championing revolutionary solutions.


Community activism to protect waterways, local economies, our planetary commons

Chasing Water Movie Poster

Chasing Water 

Directed by Peter McBride

Follow the Colorado River, source to sea, with native Coloradan Pete McBride who takes a soul searching, personal journey downstream to focus his cameras on the “American Nile” and what becomes of the river’s most precious resource — water — as it supports 30 million people in the West.

AWARDS: “Best Short Mountain Film” 2011 Banff Mountain Film Festival. “Most Inspiring Film” 5 Point Film Festival, Carbondale, CO. “Best Environmental Film”, Frozen Film Festival, San Francisco, CA. “Best Documentary” Clearwater Film Festival, FL. “Best Cinematography” and “Best of Category”, CINE Film Fest, Missoula, Montana. Winner “Activism Through Adventure” Adventure Film Festival, Boulder, CO; Winner of “Water for All” CMS Environmental Film Festival, Delhi, India; Nominated “Best Cinematography”, Telluride Mountain Film

More by Peter McBride


Colorado River  

Directed by Peter McBride
12 minutes

Rivers and lakes are the most degraded ecosystems in the world. Can we save them? By National Geographic

We rely on fresh water for drinking, food, and sanitation, and they’re in trouble. But freshwater issues are becoming a higher priority for conservationists.
Colorado River: Flowing through Conflict BOOK

Water Flows Together

Directed by Palmer Morse, Taylor Graham and Matt Mikkelsen

11 minutes 

For time immemorial, the Diné (Navajo) have considered the San Juan River sacred. Centuries-old stories and teachings connect the people with the river as it continues to serve as a physical and spiritual resource for the peoples who rely on it. Yet at the same time, economic and social barriers have kept the number of Native people recreating on the San Juan to a minimum, and trends of globalization and urbanization continue to widen the gap between many Navajo and the natural world. Created by SpruceTone Films, Water Flows Together is told from Colleen Cooley’s perspective, exploring the ways in which her upbringing and her native identity have shaped the way she interacts with the world. The film is a meditation on the challenges Colleen and her community have faced, the unique relationship she has with the San Juan River, and the unique opportunities her role as a river guide affords as she seeks to create positive change. We would like to acknowledge this film was produced on the traditional lands of the Diné, Hopi, Ute, and Zuni peoples and honor with gratitude the land itself and the people who have stewarded it throughout the generations.

Guardians of the River


Directed by Shane Anderson
Produced by American Rivers

14 minutes

A film by American Rivers and Swiftwater Films, where Indigenous leaders share why removing four dams to restore a healthy Klamath River is critical for clean water, food sovereignty and justice.

“Guardians of the River” features Frankie Joe Myers, Vice Chair of the Yurok Tribe, Sammy Gensaw, director of Ancestral Guard, Barry McCovey, fisheries biologist with the Yurok Tribe, and members of the Ancestral Guard and Klamath Justice Coalition.

The Story of Plastic: Where Your Recycled Plastic Ends Up

Directed by Deia Schlosberg

4 minute segment from  Story of Plastic film by Story of Stuff
Buy Season 1 on Amazon 

Photo of a river filled with plastic

World’s most Polluted River  (fashion pollution)

Directed by Martin Boudot | Produced by DW Documentary
42 minutes 

The Citarum River in Indonesia is the world’s most polluted river. One of the main polluters is the fashion industry: 500 textile factories throw their wastewater directly into the river. The filmmakers teamed up with international scientists to investigate the causes and consequences of this pollution. With the help of concerned citizens, the ‘Green Warriors’ team analyzed water samples, rice, children’s hair, etc. and discovered that toxic chemicals are endangering the lives of the 14 million Indonesians who use the Citarum water. What was once considered paradise is now a brown sludge of human waste and dangerous substances like nonylphenol, antimony and tributylphosphate. These findings prompted the Indonesian government to change its wastewater regulations. Recently, President Joko Widodo announced a new plan to clean up the Citarum. The fashion brands questioned in this documentary promised to better monitor their Indonesian suppliers.

Additional Resources 

Urban Rivers
Urban Rivers works in partnership with the City of Chicago’s Department of Planning and Development, community groups, large corporations and local businesses to ensure thoughtful planning and acceptance of the Wild Mile as a long-term and cherished asset.

Great Lakes
Right to Water

Water Innovation Accelerator

World Water Year / World Water Law


Corporate accountability 

Law to protect ecosystem degradation

Humans Now Control The Majority of All Surface Freshwater Fluctuations on Earth

Very few of the worlds rivers undamaged by humidity Study finds

Nature as an Ancestor: Two Examples of Legal Personality for Nature in New Zealand

New Zealand has upheld the Maori cosmological view of nature as an ancestor and devised a legal framework for better protecting its interests. A river and what was a National Park have been accorded legal personality, with human guardians appointed to protect their interests. This chapter briefly outlines the indigenous Maori concept of nature as an ancestor, with the correlative human responsibilities of guardianship for nature. It then describes the two examples where nature is being given legal personality in New Zealand law: that of the Whanganui River and of what was previously Te Urewera National Park, now simply called Te Urewera. It then offers some concluding observations and comments.

Creating a Community Currency with Water  

10 Fundamental Questions about the Mississippi River Delta



– More than 4 BILLION people on earth still do not have access to even basic hand washing and hygiene facilities at home.

– 45 million Americans are drinking water in violation of health guidelines – PNAS

– Every 15 seconds a child dies of waterborne disease somewhere on Earth –

– 900 million children worldwide lack basic hygiene service at school – WHO/UNICEF

– 200 million hours spent a day by women and children collecting water – UNICEF

– 30 minutes of a girls studies are lost every day to collecting water – UN

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