FLOW – For Love of Water(part 1/9) by Irena Salina

FLOW is an award-winning documentary by Irena Salina, released in 2008.  This most excellent 84 minute film builds a solid case against allowing water privatization for profit.  The film begins in America.  I have transcribed most of the first 12 minutes of the film, as I believe water to be sacred.  Water is a natural resource to be cared for and respected, as we are nothing without water.

FLOW takes the viewer from Bolivia to South Africa, to India and Brazil, to France, Canada and the United States to dissect the $400 billion dollar global industry built around privatizing public water supplies.

Opening words, on screen:

“Thousands have lived without love, not one without water.”

W.H. Auden

FLOW, the documentary opens with a scene from the Ganges River bank by night.  First words spoken in this film:

More than 2 million people die every year from water-born diseases.  Most of them are children, about 5 years of age.” – Ashok Gadgil

“We have millions of people in the United States.  Every morning, they get up and turn on the tap not knowing that there’s rocket fuel in the water supply.”  – Erik D. Olson

“The world is running out of fresh water.  People will do anything.  They’ll give anything, their life savings, their house, anything for water.”  – Maude Barlow

“Without water, we have nothing, we have no culture, we have no society, we have no economy.  Without water, the Earth wouldn’t be what it is.”

When you think about our planet, it is one huge living body because of the water flowing through it.  And across the land masses, you can have veins of water and arteries of water flowing.  This flows into our ocean, which is the heart of our Earth.  And, it exhales.  It evaporates water and puts water back into the hydrological cycle, which then again, goes up to the mountain tops and again comes down in the form of veins and arteries.  So, our planet is just one huge, living body with water constantly circulating through it and it’s the water that gives it life.”

“We, too are like the surface of our planet, 70% water and 30% solid.  We too have a heart.  We have 60,000 miles of veins and arteries.  And just like the Earth recycles the water, we have a water cycle within us.”  – William E. Marks

The United States does not keep active records of how many people get sick from the water supply every year.  There are estimates that some 500,000 to 7 million people get sick every year from drinking their tap water.” – Erik Olson

One of the problems is that we have lots of bugs in the system, viruses, pathogens, bacteria.  A lot of those things that you think of as stomach viruses or flues come from your drinking water.” – Paul Schwartz – National Policy Coordinator for Clean Water Action

We are not removing things like industrial chemicals, rocket fuel, pesticides, certain pharmaceuticals, drugs that were discharged by like big animal factories or by sewage treatment plants.  A lot of people think they don’t have to worry about their water supply because they go out and buy a bottle of water.  Well, we have news for them.  In fact, a lot of your exposure to many of the chemicals comes from the simple act of showering.  So, some of these more volatile pollutants come in through your skin.” – Erik Olson

[Note: Bottled water also originates from the water supply]

There are over 116,000 human-made chemicals.  We have no idea how they interact.  We are becoming experiments for these synthetic chemicals.  And, when the liver takes these chemicals out of our bodies, what happens, they get flushed down the toilet and then they go into the aquifer and then they go into our rivers and streams.  We take the water from our rivers and streams and we put it into our public water supply systems and we’re drinking it again.” – William E. Marks – Author, “The Holy Order of Water”

“All those pharmaceuticals.  All those cosmetics and the stuff that’s in there.  You know what, it’s changing the chemistry in our bodies and it’s hurting us.” – Schwartz

For the last 20 years, since the Green Revolution brought chemical agriculture to India, there are two problems that it has created for water systems.  The first problem is the crops are actually highly inefficient in water use.  They need lots of water to dissolve the chemicals.  And that means five to ten times more water is used to produce the same amount of food.” – Dr. Vandana Shiva – Physicist

[Subtitled]  “70% of water worldwide is used by agriculture.  20% is used by industry.  10% is used by us.  So, it’s because of agriculture and industrial users, that we need more and more water to grow things that should not grow in these places.  And sure enough, to grow all of this, you need a lot of pesticides and chemicals.  And sure enough, all those chemicals, with water, in the earth.. it’s not a good marriage.” – Jean-luc Touly

[Quoted on screen] “Birth defects in Mexico increase near agricultural areas.”

“Fertility declines throughout Europe primarily in areas with heavy pesticide use.”

“Tasmanian cancer rates shoot up 200% after heavy use of pesticides.”

And today, in lab studies that are not open to the public… we are discovering that in the water of the Seine… in the last five years fish are changing sex.  Ther are only females.  There are no males.” – Touly

[On screen] “In Texas, toxocologists find high levels of Prozac in tissue of every fish they sample.”

“We still have to drink water, no matter what.  Unfortunately, pollution is everywhere.” -Touly

[On screen] “Industrial toxins travel in water and have been found in seals, whales, polar bears and in the breast milk of Inuit mothers.

We musn’t forget that these chemicals were designed for warfare.  They are the ultimate weapons of mass destruction.  Every one of them came out of the war system.  Now, they are in our drinking water.” -Dr. Shiva

“It could sound exaggerated, but really it’s not.  This is not 50 or 100 years, it’s happening right now.” – Touly

“People assume that there’s somebody in their government protecting their water supply and that’s often not the case.  One of the most extraordinary examples of that is the most common pesticide sprayed in the United States, Atrazine.” – Erik Olson

Atrazine itself is an herbicide for weed killer.  And it’s used on products such as corn.  It is the number one contaminant found in drinking water, ground water, surface water.” – Tyrone Hayes – Biologist, Univ of California, Berkeley

[On screen] “Atrazine is manufactured by a Swiss company  called Syngenta.”

“Syngenta is one of the largest agrochemical businesses in the world.”

“Initially, we were contracted by Syngenta, the makers of atrazine.  And, their interest was in trying to understand whether or not, so they said, whether or not atrazine could function as an endocrine disruptor.  Meaning, could it interfere with hormones, such as thyroid hormone, testosterone, estrogen.  We found that atrazine has a number of effects, but most significantly atrazine demasculinizes the exposed male frogs, I would even say chemically castrates. – Dr. Hayes

Continued in part 2/9 :

“We went on to show that in addition to being de-masculinized, they were also feminized.  So, another words, male amphibians would grow ovaries and even produce eggs.  Fish show similar effects.  Their sperm counts drop and they start to make egg yolk protein.  It doesn’t mean that atrazine is causing the global decline in sperm count that’s in men.  Again, the experimental and epidemiological data indicate that atrazine may play a very significant role.” – Dr. Hayes

On screen ] “Low sperm counts blamed on pesticides in U.S. water” – National Geographic, 2005

Atrazine contamination has also been linked with increase incidence of prostate cancer and breast cancer.

“One concern is fetuses that are in effect living in water.  So, if that fetus gets exposed to a chemical, it’s constantly drinking its ambiotic fluid.” – Dr. Hughes

Sweden banned atrazine in 1989, Norway 1990, Italy 1991, Germany 1991, Finland 1993, Austria 1995, Denmark 1995, Belgium 2002, France 2003.

In the entire European Union, atrazine has been banned.  And, in effect that’s the only way you can limit atrazine levels because it can travel up to 600 miles(1000 km) in the rainwater.  In fact, of the 80 million pounds of atrazine we use in the United States, about 1/2 million pounds of that atrazine comes back in the rain water.” – Dr. Hayes

And the irony I guess is that here’s a European company selling 80 million pounds of a product in the United States where it’s not even legal in the home country.” – Dr. Hayes

“When the United States Environmental Protection Agency. and the Bush administration decided that it needed to at least appear to to do something about the problem, after we sued them  They ended up sitting down with the people that made atrazine in private negotiations.  They met over 50 times privately with the company and they cut a deal.  No crack down, no enforcement action, no banning the pesticide.” – Erik Olson

In 2006, the EPA declared that “no harm will result” from exposure to atrazine, according to Olson.

The film goes from here to Bolivia and Lake Titicaca…


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