Sixty years ago the oil patch and how to cultivate it loomed large on our horizon. Today, oil’s importance recedes in the sands of time. Instead, the water patch remains paramount. Few had anticipated that climate change’s increasing impact could endanger life on our planet. Yet all species’ relationship to water rings a warning bell for our future. Reflection: A Walk with Water by documentarian Emmett Brennan explores stories of water and its hopeful regeneration despite growing scarcity.
Keenly aware of the impact of climate change on water sources, the filmmaker and a select team journeyed on a “water-walk.” Carefully, he recorded his activities with participants, picking up stories, wisdom and knowledge along the way. Initially planned as a 200-mile journey along the Los Angeles aqueduct, their walk morphed into a panoply of hope. On their water travels they gleaned profound and far-reaching insights and recorded examples of what might happen if we designed our watersheds, soil, cities, and farms differently.
Through interviews, we come to understand the inside of water preservation and life. Throughout, we note the wisdom of Kathy Bancroft, a Paiute-Shoshone advisor to Walking Water and a Tribal Historic Preservation Officer (THPO). Second, Rhamis Kent, an international ecological designer and permaculture teacher, discusses the importance of soil bio-organisms in retaining water. Third, Andy Lipkis, founder of Tree People at age 18, he guides others to use trees for urban climate resilience around the world. And many others, including people in land management, environmental thought leaders, indigenous voices, and community activists provide their wisdom.
Brennan examines how these individuals effectively tackle environmental troubles. For example, they analyze droughts, water waste and water scarcity in Los Angeles and other parts of California. These water preservers provide their unique knowledge clearly and succinctly. Importantly, the film delves into the cases of California wildfires, from climate change to dead soil. Using archived video footage and testimony from those whose homes had burned, Brennan’s film remains acute and timely. His team pointedly reveals how the ecology, permaculture, soil health, and forest health can fight such disasters promoted by climate change.
The film features original music from multiple-Grammy-winning musical artist Jacob Collier, the film’s executive music producer of the film. With accounts and wisdom that resonate with millennials and others, Reflection is both a poetic meditation on water and a guide for practical change.
To conclude, the documentary cogently and powerfully presents an empirical re-imagining to positively impact water resources locally, nationally, and globally.