Displaced People, Destroyed Environments

WHEN THE WATER ENDS (USA, 2010, 16 min.) Meet the Turkana of Kenya, and the Dassanech, Nyangatom and Mursi of Ethiopia, among more than two dozen tribes whose lives and culture depend on the waters of the Omo River and the body of water into which it flows, Lake Turkana. For the past few decades, Lake Turkana’s water is disappearing. Tribes now have to cross each other’s territories in search of water and land. Armed with Kalashnikovs and M16s, they kill, raid livestock and attack their rival’s villages, displacing thousands each year. These are “some of the world’s first climate-change conflicts,” according to one U.N. official. But this story is not only about climate change. The Ethiopian government is building a dam on the upper Omo River that threatens to halt the annual flood cycles if completed, spiraling 800,000 tribesmen even further into conflict. The herdsmen we meet in this short film are caught up in forces over which they have no real control. Although they have done almost nothing to generate the greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming, they may already be among its first casualties. Directed by Evan Abramson. Produced by MediaStorm.

LAST STAND ON THE ISLAND (USA, 2011, 7 min.) This clip documents the last generations of French-speaking Native Americans who live on an island disappearing into the Gulf of Mexico. They are the Isle Jean Charles Band of Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaws, descendants of French settlers who took Indian wives and moved to a strip of marshland in the mid-1800s. After five hurricanes in the last six years and serious erosion due to oil exploitation in the area, only 24 families remain, stubbornly refusing to abandon their ancestral land. Directed by Evan Abramson and Carmen Elsa Lopez.

I’M OUTTA MOSSVILLE (USA, 2011, 7 min.) This clip follows the seemingly fatalistic battle for environmental justice that a small African American community in Louisiana and a chemist face, as they take on the U.S. Government. Sicknesses that used to be disregarded as “unknown” are now associated with industrial contamination. Now residents have brought their evidence together in a case against the U.S. Government. Directed by Evan Abramson and Carmen Elsa Lopez.

Discussion with filmmakers Evan Abramson and Carmen Elsa Lopez follows screening.

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