News & Commentary

Forbes Magazine “Last Call at the Oasis: Atrazine Held Hostage“

by Richard Levick, May 24, 2012

Having been an environmental activist through much of my life – including a youthful affiliation with Ralph Nader I still cherish in memory – I well understand the passions that drive zealous advocates in their concerns for the world we live in. Among those concerns, the quality and quantity of our water supply is naturally second to none, especially at a time when Americans drink 29 million bottles of water every year. So it is with some misgivings that I ponder a high-profile media event like the release earlier this month of the documentary film Last Call at the Oasis, which chronicles the world’s water supply crisis. For corporations, farmers, and anyone who just wants unvarnished facts without apocalyptic prophecy, it’s a mixed bag. While it is reassuring that the film is not just another tendentious assault on the evils of vested power, I am disappointed on two scores. First, even a few unsupported assertions and questionable facts can compromise an entire presentation. I am particularly referring to the film’s pronouncements on the health and environmental impact of a critical herbicide called atrazine (more on that in a bit). If there is reason to question those particular pronouncements, doubt gets raised about everything else in the film – which is unfortunate since the just cause that inspired Last Call at the Oasis demands that every i be dotted and every t crossed… (Click here to read the full text of Richard Levick’s Last Call at the Oasis commentary on Forbes.com.)