Opening titles for Last Call at the Oasis, directed by Jessica Yu. Music by Jeff Beal.
Reviewed by Farah Momin for Savage Senses:
My experience watching Last Call at The Oasis was full of surprises, the first being that I was completely alone in the movie theater at 5pm on a Wednesday afternoon in NYC. Considering the direness of the situation regarding the world’s water crisis, I hoped that more people would be going out to see this documentary. Although it is beautifully shot, it presents an ugly picture of what we can expect to happen to this vital yet limited resource if we do not take action.
I wasn’t surprised to learn that the United States has the world’s largest water footprint: an average of 2842 m³/yr per capita compared to the global average of 1385m³/yr per capita according to a UNESCO study. This fact is evident of the American attitude of self-interestedness and wastefulness. Because we have eradicated water-borne illness in this country, we don’t think about those people around the world who do not have immediate access to clean water. At the same time, our own water and food supplies are contaminated with chemicals like Atrazine from pesticides. In places like the Nevada desert surrounding Las Vegas, the local water supply may dry up in as little as four years.
These facts are scary, but even worse is people’s reluctance to support innovative solutions such as recycled water. As psychologist Paul Rozin notes in the documentary, getting someone to accept the idea of drinking former wastewater that has been treated to be drinkable is just as much of a challenge as getting someone to wear Hitler’s sweater. Singapore has had great success in providing universal and affordable access to water in large part by putting in place a system to recycle it, and other countries should be following suit.
We see a lot of media coverage on the oil crisis, and what this documentary aims to make people realize is that water is the next natural resource over which wars will be fought if we don’t take action now to prevent that from happening. The Last Call at the Oasis website has a list of 10 simple things you can do to be part of the solution to the world’s water crisis rather than part of the problem.
Whether or not you’ve seen the documentary, we’d love to hear your thoughts on the world’s water crisis. You can also watch the trailer below: