Northeast Ohio has proven ripe with opportunity for environmentalists. A week doesn’t pass without a nature-appreciation or sustainability themed event coming onto our radar. Every event I’ve attended has had an impressive turnout. Today was no different. The Cleveland Museum of Natural History hosted an estimated 250 guests for its 10th annual Wild and Scenic Environmental Film Festival. The festival featured 13 films (program available here) varying in length from four minutes to 44 minutes. One of the films was particularly moving. “Chasing Water” is a 2011 film directed by photographer Pete McBride, and runs 18 minutes. McBride’s family owns a ranch in Colorado which runs on an irrigation system fed by the Colorado River. The film documents McBride’s journey, born of pure curiosity, to trace the water that sustains his family’s livelihood down river to the sea. He follows the flow for 1500 miles at which point it abruptly ends in a disparaging landscape of stagnant pools laden with plastic waste and other garbage. The realization is astonishing…“For 6 million years water from the Colorado river emptied into the ocean, since 1998 it has not.” The film’s imagery is stunning and it’s message powerful. Without a visual aid like this short film, it’s difficult to truly appreciate the stresses the human population is placing on clean water resources. The global problem manifests itself right in our backyard. Plenty of cities in Texas have resorted to importing water from hundreds of miles away!
Biomimetic solutions to water access and management keep me hopeful! The 2012-2013 Biomimicry Student Design Challenge solicited solutions to this very issue. You can read about the first round winners of this Biomimicry 3.8 competition here.