A Tale of Two Cities is a short film that tells the story of communities in Michigan and their fight to secure safe, affordable, public water in their communities.
In A Tale of Two Cities, The Story of Stuff Project visit two very different Michigan communities – picturesque, small town Evart and gritty, industrial Flint – who have found their futures inextricably linked by a threat to the one thing that all life requires, water.
The film explores the growing threat of water privatization and what happens when the government runs a critical function, like providing clean drinking water, as if it were a business.
After years of progressively damaging cost-cutting measures that favour corporate interests throughout the state of Michigan, Flint’s water crisis made international news. Four years later, a water emergency, in an area where local water is tainted with lead, is still ongoing. Many still rely on bottled water for their everyday needs and have some of the highest water rates in the country.
Despite the state’s failure to protect its people’s access to water in Flint, and its intentional deprivation of water to thousands in Detroit, the multinational corporation Nestlé nets massive profits from the state’s abundant water sources. The world’s largest water bottler, Nestlé pumps mere hours away from Flint, outside of Evart, paying only a $200 annual permit fee and nothing for the water itself.
A Tale of Two Cities is the latest short film from The Story of Stuff Project, which focuses on solutions to environmental issues – “the big, exciting innovations driving the environmental and social change we need, as well as the little things individuals and communities can do to make a difference”.
Fights over public water – from struggles to ensure clean water access to efforts to secure public water sources and systems against privatisation attempts – is becoming widespread in the US as well as worldwide.
The Story of Stuff Project have launched the Story of Stuff Water Defenders where people can sign up to receive updates and action alerts on these fights as they work to keep water clean, affordable, and public for all. To sign up to the Story of Stuff Water Defenders, click here.