The Issue for Our Time?


“At the Toronto Film Festival, program director Thom Powers called Last Call at the Oasis a “feel-angry movie,” which he later amended to “feel-smart movie.” I was rather partial to both labels, since they emphasize the “feel” part. We wanted to make Last Call an emotional film as well as an educational one. One hope was for people to connect viscerally and personally to the water crisis. We wanted to bring water problems into the open, to show the impact on the lives of real people — to bring oft-hidden abstractions into the light of day where we can finally see what’s going on.” — Director Jennifer Yu

Less than 1% of the world’s water is fresh and drinkable, and thanks to drought, climate change, waste, and population growth, water is likely to be the most critical global issue for many years to come. On May 4th, a new documentary film from Academy Award winning director Jennifer Yu takes on the complexities of water in our lives. A companion book, Last Call at the Oasis: The Global Water Crisis and Where We Go From Here, has just been released, and features the analysis of scientists, policymakers, and writers such as Peter H. Gleick, Robert Glennon, Alex Prud’homme, and William McDonough. Reading this collection has put Jennifer Yu’s forthcoming film on our must-see list!

Knowing how central water is to our lives and future, the Land Library has slowly build up a considerable collection on this issue. We’ve especially focused on studies of North American watershed and rivers. Books such as these:

river in ruinhudson
River in Ruin: The Story of the Carmel River by Ray A. March (only thirty-six miles long, this California river is also one of the top ten endangered rivers in North America), and The Mightier Hudson: The Spirited Revival of a Treasures Landscape by Roger D. Stone (building a new economy around the health of the river).

elwhario grande
And from the Pacific Northwest, Finding the River: An Environmental History of the Elwha by Jeff Crane, and from the Southwest, Reining in the Rio Grande: People, Land, and Water by Fred M. Phillips, G. Emlen Hall, and Mary E. Black.

And here’s the subject of one of our earlier posts, and one of four books selected for the Water 2012 Book Club:

colorado river
The Colorado River: Flowing Through Conflict by Peter McBride and Jonathan Waterman.

“From the beginning, I was fascinated by the whole psychology behind the water crisis. Problems such as drought, pollution, contamination, competition for resources, and privatization aren’t new; they’ve existed since before civilization….In the movie, we wanted to explore this paradoxical behavior: Why don’t we act in ways that are in our own self-interest, especially when it comes to something as crucial as water?” — Director Jennifer Yu


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