Last Call at the Oasis

By Miranda Todd


Last Call at the Oasis, a 2011 documentary directed and written by Jessica Yu, painted an alternatingly bleak and bright picture of our present and our future on planet Earth. The documentary had a wide scope of study, looking at corruption, chemicals, and the many faces of those fighting for our water, our lifeblood. It also presented some startling statistics.


The rate by which we are depleting a nonrenewable resource is startling. The movie bandied about numbers of gallons wasted, between excessive flushing of toilets and Las Vegas. That’s right, the entirety of the Las Vegas strip is pretty much a slap in the environmental face. People have always been fascinated by water, struck by its beauty, and the fountains and decorations at the Las Vegas strip are a testament to that.


Las Vegas, the movie explained, is fueled by people’s love. The frightening waste of water is a tourist attraction, and the city will continue to grow while its water sources continue to shrink. Soon it will go to small towns (like the population 150 example shown in the movie) and deplete their water, too.


At the rate we’re going, there will be no fixing our water crises—especially if places like Las Vegas go from resource to resource until the planet’s a dust bowl. So what are we trying to do, and what can we do?


People like Tyrone Hayes (American biologist and PhD) are striving to remove things like atrazine, the pesticide with horrifying side affects, from our waterways. Others, like Erin Brockovich-Ellis (famed environmental activist), are trying to help coach small towns through cancers cropping up due to damaged water. Jay Famiglietti (hydrologist) is trying to effect change on a bigger scale, with a team of researchers looking to find answers for questions and concerns over our resources.


Some states and cities such as Los Angeles are trying to build wastewater treatment plants that would change the water from our toilets into the water that we drink. While that may sound unappetizing, such great stakes require great measures. In addition, reclaimed sewage water is much cleaner on average than bottled water.


The movie’s main goal, at which it succeeded, was educating the public and showing the faces behind the environmentalist movement that is helping to save our planet. While every species goes extinct we should not, as Hayes says, help speed that along. We should make every effort to better our planet, to make new strides in insuring safer and more plentiful water supply, and conserve.


While Famiglietti said that he doubted conservation would save us, he also commented that in no way would it hurt. In fact, choosing to conserve is our only choice if we don’t want our next war to be the War of the Water. Last Call ranged from poignant to painful, and opened our eyes as to what is really going on behind closed doors.

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