Ten Square Miles

An Environmental Activism Resource

Category: Last Call At The Oasis

Last Call at the Oasis Response

Rarely will you hear me rave about the opening credits of a film, but the evocative nature of the images of water presented by Jessica Yu start this movie with the proper imagery: the preciousness off water as a pristine, natural resource has been threatened, and the time for a call to actions has nearly passed. That the Hoover Dam and Las Vegas expansion issue becomes relevant so early in the film, especially considering the rather controversial statements put forth with the proposal of a pipeline to preserve said constructions, becomes a powerful device for the audience by an ultimate portrayal of fairly complicated issue. The ethical question proposed with the anxieties compared in the town that will be afflicted by the pipeline and the overseer of the pipeline proposal remains one of the most famous ethical dilemmas today, portraying the situation as not one of right and wrong (we obviously do not want to make an objective decision between the lives of people) but one of “how can we solve the issue creating the issue?” Especially at a time when it has become increasingly easy to get swept up in the countercultural movements of our age, I am relieved to see such a methodology of problem-solving employed, as I hope my peers, naturally, question their own assumptions that could potentially be detrimental, even if, at heart, driven by an environmental cause.

When I say assumptions I, of course, mean a whole broad range of social interactions we take for granted, which is why I found the piece on bottled water so interesting. It is no secret that bottled water has become an issue that has plagued our landfills, shorelines, and even the biological makeup of the public now, but the solutions just one company attempts to advance on the public is an entirely sensible and already functioning model else wise in the world: recycled sewage water. While some of my peers felt this section to be silly in with an association to Jack Black, this association, however, I found fairly inspiring. As we look towards educating people in the future we cannot use brutal honesty; the environmental issue has progressed into such a depressing state that some intermediary needs to manage this interaction. Utilizing the principles of marketing, and questioning how we can make something reputable, how we can eliminate stigma, how do we face the consumer, and, simply, how can we sell as many of these bottles as possible, remains a vital tool to us as content creators and environmental missionaries.

Ultimately, I walk away from this film not pointing my finger at some target from an hour and a half of the blame game on the big screen, but with gained knowledge and facts of valuable information to draw my own relative conclusions. The plethora of reliable and noteworthy faces attempting to reduce this disaster over the past couple decades point towards a drive to correct the issue, rather than find a culprit. I would argue that, in large, much of the environmental movement could benefit from this approach, and should be adopted as we look towards making a mass movement.

Last Call at the Oasis Film Response

Film Response

By Matt Allchin

Last Call at the Oasis, directed by Jessica Yu and produced by Participant Media, is a 2011 documentary about the water crises that is going to be a huge problem in the years to come. The film touches upon many different water problems we are facing such as the decreasing water level by the Hoover Dam, the huge drought in California, and the contamination of many American’s water supply. The main point of the film was to inform and alarm the people who are not aware of this problem because it is coming sooner than many think.

The movie does a great job exploring the many different issues and spends a decent amount of time on each one. Each issue had a pretty simple yet in depth explanation making it accessible to the general audience who may not be knowledgeable on the subject. Each issue was definitely worth mentioning and did a successful job at scaring the audience into realizing we need to stop taking water for granted.

Erin Brockovich was a main character and she brought a lot of personality to the documentary. After seeing the Hollywood movie made about her, I strongly connected with her from the get-go and was more inclined to care about the issues she was covering. There is a part towards the middle in the movie where she is telling the people at a town meeting that they’re water is contaminated and that there is basically nothing they can do to make the government solve it. I felt this was the one of the strongest parts of the film because you witness these people realize how they are poisoning themselves and there is little they can do to stop it.

Throughout most of the film many problems were covered that involved a lot of the uses of water. Towards the end of the film solutions were brought up to help solve the water crises such as recycling our wastewater. I thought when the science behind this plan was explained it was an intriguing concept that we will have to implement in our society in the near future. However, the film then showed the company trying to market the water and use the actor Jack Black as their spokesperson in a humorous way. I thought this was a low part in the documentary because the film goes from talking about the impending doom of our water supply to watching Jack Black make a commercial about toilet water. The marketing team of the recycled water was going about it the right wrong way because people who were asked to try the water on the street treated it more as a dare instead of something we will have to adapt to in the near future. However, I did like how this scene showed how ignorant the public is to the water crises with one woman saying, “If we need to recycle sewage water that must mean we’re in some sort of shortage that I’m not aware of.” This is just an example of how unaware the public is and how little media covers this crisis.

A solution that I am glad the film touched on was turning salt water into drinkable water because this was a solution that I had in mind going in to this movie. However, this is shot down due to the fact of how expensive it would be to do it also produces a huge quantity of green house gases. A solution that I’m surprised was not touched upon and was talked about in class was harvesting rainwater for daily use. This could be a solution any citizen could do at his or her own home and be implemented into future housing developments. It was odd to me that this was not talked about in the film.

Overall, I thought the message of the film was portrayed well. A lot of issues that will become big problems in the future were brought up and made the audience aware of them. It seemed that the main theme of this film was urgency because of we do need to start acting now. This was represented well by scaring the audience by showing what is to come in the next couple of years if we don’t start doing something.

Last Call at the Oasis

Last Call at the Oasis is a documentary film made in 2011 that was directed and written by Jessicu Yu and features Erin Brockovich, Robert Glennon and Jay Famiglietti, among others. Additional cast members include Tim Barnett, Gina Gallego, Jack Black and Peter H. Gleick. This film was produced by Participant Media, which is a production company that focuses on being politically active. Other films from this company include Food Inc. and An Inconvenient Truth. This film is organized by place, and at each new place, such as Los Angelos, Las Vegas or Australia, there is new people with new stories. The film also travels with Erin Brockovich, an environmental activist, for some scenes and documents her effort to create environmental change, specifically her efforts to stop companies from polluting water with chemicals that is harming residents in small town areas. Additionally, this film features a somewhat humorous campaign for selling bottled renewed (sewage) water, as well as a bit from people bathing in holy water in “The Promised Land”. This film is an expository film, because it exemplifies a classic documentary. While being entertaining, it has an educational feel, and employs the use of talking head interviews, footage, and narration.
I think the thesis of this film is the earth’s water is running out, and it is up to everyone to find new ways to recycle and conserve it if we want to sustain this population on Earth. Many people believe that the Earth can never run out of water, but that is extremely false. Most people do not even realize we are in a water shortage crisis. Breaking the film up into different locations because besides keeping the film organized, it helped the viewers personalize the story. Often people can think of climate change and water shortages as something that is happening far away, but by naming the towns where people were suffering the consequences of the global water shortage and water pollution, it made viewers realize these horrible things were happening in their own backyards. This film had many strengths which included good use of music, bringing in Erin Brockovich to give the film direction and a wide range of people, thus opinions, featured. Erin Brockovich gave viewers someone to rally behind, and she was factual while still remaining hopeful about the environment. The weaknesses of this film were some of the images and bits could be considered tacky. During some parts, it seemed confusing who the intended audience of this film was. The scenes with very emotional, difficult stories told by farmers, grandmothers and environmentalists- those seemed like scenes in a documentary intended for educated adults. However, the scene with the animated water droplets seemed intended for children. The film would have been better if its creators had picked an intended audience and stuck to that more strictly.
Despite its weaknesses, I really enjoyed this film. I felt it was extremely engaging while still being informative. I feel Last Call at the Oasis absolutely belongs in an environmental class. The film was educational, eye opening and made the current water crisis hard to ignore. My favorite part of the film was the scenes shot in Midland, Texas featuring the grandmother who after writing many letters to her senators about her granddaughter’s skin rashes she believed the water was causing and getting no response, took matters into her own hands and emailed Erin Brockovich. This woman is a great example of people taking charge and fighting back to protect themselves and their children from harmful chemicals in the water and the environment. If people keep fighting back, whether it be in a small town or big city, there will be change.

Last Call At The Oasis – Film Response

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After watching the film Last Call at the Oasis, a documentary about the limited water resources on earth, I began thinking about all the water that we use but do not see. The film has a segment which shows how much water is used in the production of good and agricultural commodities that we tend not to think about. For instance, how much water is used to fill an average home swimming pool is equivalent to how much water is use to farm four pounds of steak. In the scene, the hidden reality is exposed. This made me think about how much water I use on a daily basis, not through drinking, washing my hands, and showering, but in the clothes I wear, and the food I eat. I did some research to determine how much water was necessary to for only the clothes I was currently wearing. A pair of jeans from the farming of the cotton through production requires 1,800 gallons of water. A shirt requires 400 gallons of water. One pound of wool, enough to make a sweater needs 400 gallons of water. Enough plastic to make a pair of sneakers requires 72 gallons of water. Just the clothes I was wearing required 2,672 gallons of water. If you multiply that by all the clothes the average person owns and then by all the people in the Unites states, you realize just how vital water is to the production of nearly everything. I think if more people saw this documentary and realized this they would understand the necessity of water conservation. To learn more about the hidden reality of water needed for production check out http://www.treehugger.com/clean-technology/how-many-gallons-of-water-does-it-take-to-make.html Also, by watching the film Last Call at the Oasis, you can learn more about the water crisis the earth currently faces.

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