Films for the Planet’s Virtual Cinema Experience
Honoring the Great Rivers
Through stunning photography and timely narratives, we embark on a revealing journey that contemplates the river’s timeless bounty and gives voice to its urgent challenges. It’s up to us to listen—as together we set an intention to value, heal and protect our most precious natural resource. From pollution, industrial agriculture and water privatization to the rights of nature—we will explore how our personal and planetary health depends on fresh perspectives and collective action.
Our journey starts at the Mississippi River which runs through the heart of North America. In partnership with the Missouri History Museum and the Global Being Foundation, Films for the Planet invites all to join a virtual conversation about the challenges facing our rivers.
The freshwater biomes represented by the Confluence of two Great Rivers in the heart of North America requires our care and attention and presents us with an opportunity to forge a new social contract – one that calls upon humanity to meet and match the Earth’s resilience by turning towards the life-giving waters.
The availability of clean and abundant water impacts the health and well-being of everyone—rivers are essential to Earth’s resilience and regenerative power. The clear priority in our future story is about WATER. Water covers 71% of the planets surface with 95% of that in the Ocean. Only 2.5% of the water on earth is fresh, and two-thirds of earths freshwater is found in glaciers and ice caps, leaving approximately .08% of freshwater for all life on the land to share.
According to the United Nations, the dwindling supply of water for drinking and basic sanitation poses an unprecedented threat to human health and safety. One-third of Earth’s people now live without safe drinking water, the shortage already fuels international conflicts and mass migrations, and the situation grows worse with global warming and desertification. Pollutants from industrial waste and agriculture threatens the river’s aquatic life and accumulates creating ocean dead zones which effect marine life and economic stability for those who depend on the rivers for health and well-being.
Yet, far too many people cannot answer one of the basic questions of life: Where is your watershed? And What is the health of your watershed? Our inability to answer and connect to the life-sustaining importance of these answers fuels the pervasive disregard for how fresh and clean water impacts our life – and how we impact it.
From the U.S. heartland, Pennsylvania and the Colorado River to New Zealand’s Canterbury region and the renown Whanganui River where the Maori are leading freshwater reform — our rivers have a story to tell. We find communities world-over waking up to the fact that their water supply has become overburdened with highly toxic waste which damages the health of their water, soil, wildlife and livestock, as well as their personal health and economic livelihood. When challenging the source of industrial pollution, communities are realizing their citizen rights have been usurped by the rights of corporations to profit regardless of human or environmental costs.
But a growing movement is recognizing the sanctity of our planetary life-support system. All life is connected, if nature flourishes, all creatures flourish. In order to promote human life in harmony with Nature, national and local governments in South America, India, New Zealand, Mexico and elsewhere have recognized the rights of rivers, forests, and other elements of Nature to exist and flourish. This view fosters respect for the natural world by adopting a new paradigm in which Nature is no longer viewed as mere human property but is, instead, recognized as a single system to which all life belongs. Initiatives to forge a new relationship with the river by, among other things: protecting it from pollutants; renaturing its banks; restoring and conserving the wetlands, marshes, forests, and grasslands within its basin; and promoting sustainable agricultural practices are long overdue.
Image: NASA satellite image of Sundarbans. The foreground image by Thea La Grou represents earth’s water cycle, also known as the hydrologic cycle, which describes the continuous movement of water on, above, and below the surface of the Earth.