Harm in the Water (in production)
Photo by Ryan Watson
Harm in the Water, funded by the National Science Foundation as part of the BlueGap Award, examines the history and legacy of water pollution in Black communities along the Mississippi River. The film’s focus is on fertilizer, pesticide, and other toxic pollution, foregrounded by the history of colonialism, plantation slavery, and agribusiness and their long lasting negative impacts on Black communities and our environments. The documentary will also draw a clear connection between plantation slavery, deforestation and climate change. The film will be told through the lens of Black in Marine Science’s Tiara Moore, PhD, who researches nutrient pollution, but more importantly examines the problem of underrepresentation of African Americans in marine science. Along the way, she learns more about how Black communities are shaped by the expectation–and failures–of accountability and how the ethics of honesty and transparency, personal and political, are an important tenet of Black life. We follow her along a water pollution path from a farm in Iowa, along the Mississippi, through the Delta, along the coast of Florida, concluding in St. Croix. Along the way, we meet farmers, scientists, community activists, and scholars, who work on environmental justice issues and see the problem of water pollution as an abuse of human rights. The film is intended to be a documentary short (under 40 minutes) and screened for festival and television audiences.