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Water Crisis is Focus of Moving Mountains Symposium at Telluride Mountainfilm

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Full day of expert presentations, panels place spotlight on water

Telluride, Colo. – This historic mountain town will be the site of a confluence of leading experts from around the world who will share insights and solutions to the global fresh water crisis as the Moving Mountains Symposium on Water kicks off the 30th Annual Telluride Mountainfilm next May. “There will likely be no more pressing resource issue in this century than the scarcity of fresh water,” says Mountainfilm Executive Director Peter Kenworthy. “The growing global fresh water crisis may well become the greatest threat ever to survival of the planet.” Experts from diverse fields will address water-related issues at the day-long, interactive Moving Mountains Symposium, a signature feature of Mountainfilm. “Mountainfilm prides itself on being solution-oriented,” Kenworthy says. “So, we’re not just about highlighting the issues and advertising the dangers. There is a crisis, yes, but crisis and opportunity, as the Chinese have always believed, go hand in hand. So we will definitely try to shine a light on the way ahead and on how ordinary people can help save the world’s precious water supply.” Water scarcity and water pollution are very real and very scary realities, Kenworthy asserts. “More people chasing less water will inevitably lead to destabilizing social, political and economic impacts. Throw into this mix the rapid privatization of water supplies and services, with multinational corporations increasingly determining who gets water and at what price, with water resource management based on increasing consumption and maximizing profits rather than sustainability or equal access, and a disturbing picture becomes even worse.”

Statistics in support of Kenworthy’s contention are compelling:

  • • Over one billion people worldwide have no daily immediate access to clean drinking water.

  • • Half the world’s population, some three billion people, has no sanitation services.

  • • 90 percent of waste water in the Third World is discharged, untreated, into local streams and rivers.

  • • Water borne pathogens and pollutants kill 25 million people annually.

  • • Every eight seconds a child dies from drinking contaminated water.

  • • Per capita water consumption is expanding at twice the rate of human population growth.

  • • Billions of pounds of industrial weed and bug killers and trillions of dollars worth of chemicals degrade water systems every year.

  • • Major rivers around the world, including, locally, the Colorado, are so dammed, diverted and overtapped that little or no fresh water reaches its final destination for significant stretches of time.

“Water is fundamental to life – it’s Nature’s lifeblood,” says Kenworthy. “And yet, in addition to largely taking it for granted, we are depleting it and degrading it at a frightening rate.” Expanding industrial farming, manufacturing and mining around the world is straining water resources tremendously while simultaneously producing unprecedented amounts of seriously polluted surface and groundwater. Plastic bags, produced by the trillions every year, litter the oceans, lakes, rivers, streams and wetlands, clogging drainage systems and killing aquatic life. Water-dwelling wildlife have become living toxic-waste carriers. America’s premier showcase for independent films dealing with world cultures, adventure and the environment, Mountainfilm takes place every Memorial Day weekend in Telluride, Colo. The 30th annual festival will begin with the Moving Mountains Symposium on Water on May 23rd and continue through May 26th, 2008 with a host of activities, events and leading independent films from around the world.