Over the past 8 years, I have had the pleasure of collaborating with Mi’kmaq and African Nova Scotian communities and their allies to create awareness about and address cases of environmental racism in Nova Scotia through research; publications; student training; legislation; legal remedies; community organizing, development and capacity building; education; public engagement events; and multi-media.
These efforts have brought us closer to our goal of achieving environmental justice in Nova Scotia.
This year alone we have witnessed several victories – the closing down of the mill that had been contaminating Boat Harbour in Pictou Landing First Nation since 1967; the decision by the Shelburne Town Council to approve a new community well in the south end of Shelburne (a (predominantly African Nova Scotian community) paid for by Ellen Page, as well as the funding by Housing Nova Scotia of new wells in residents’ homes in that community; and the decision made by Justice Frank Edwards (released to the public yesterday) to overturn the Alton Gas approval, and ruling in favour of Sipekne’katik by reversing Margaret Miller’s (former Environment Minister) 2019 decision to uphold her industrial approval.
With the release of the film, There’s Something in the Water on Netflix this Friday, March 27, 2020, the voices of affected communities in Nova Scotia will now be elevated and amplified globally.
My hope is that the film will also help to build bridges and solidarity between affected communities in this province and other communities around the world that are on the frontlines of environmental justice struggles and movements, that are paying a disproportionate price for economic development, resource extraction, and industrialism, and that are challenging governments to re-think policies that prioritize profit over the well-being of its most marginalized citizens.
There’s Something in the Water – The Film
The scourge of environmental racism and its devastating effects across communities in Nova Scotia, Canada, comes into sharp focus in There’s Something In the Water, a new documentary from co-directors Ellen Page and Ian Daniel.
The film, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival last fall and will become available to stream on Netflix this Friday, March 27, is inspired by a book of the same name (https://fernwoodpublishing.ca/book/there8217s-something-in-the-water) by the sociologist Ingrid Waldron, who also appears in the movie and was a co-producer on the film.
Both works dive into the health impacts of environmental racism — the decisions and policies brought by local governments that expose marginalized communities to environmental risks — in particular on Black and Indigenous populations in Nova Scotia.
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