Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Levinson's Eco-Horror Film 'The Bay' Highlights Need to Protect Our Water

EcoWatch

By Paul E McGinniss

911. What are you reporting?  There's something really wrong. Help me!

Fourth of July. A quaint, idyllic, small town on the Chesapeake Bay, the largest inlet on America's Atlantic coast, prepares for annual Independence Day festivities. Little does the quintessential American town know something is seriously wrong with the water. First there are dead fish floating everywhere in the bay as isopod parasites eat the fish from the inside out. 

Next the isopods get into the towns drinking water supply, and swimmers and people drinking the water start getting infected. Suffice it to say, the rest of the story isn't pretty.

The Bay, Oscar-winning director Barry Levinson's new film inspired by the plight of the Chesapeake Bay opening in theaters tomorrow, lies somewhere between the mesmerizing horror film 28 Days and AMC's The Walking Dead. It echoes Steven Soderbergh's realistically haunting, nowhere is safe film Contagion, and makes the audience think, yes, this could happen to us.

Importantly, the creative genesis of the film was when Levinson was asked to direct a documentary about the environmental crisis affecting the Chesapeake Bay, which as a local Baltimore, Maryland native he knows well. But, instead of making a documentary, Levinson thought making an eco-horror film might have more of an impact on raising consciousness about the fragile health of the Chesapeake Bay. Despite wanting to entertain as a filmmaker, the acclaimed director is not hiding his eco-agenda: a title card in The Bay states that the Chesapeake Bay is 40 percent lifeless.

While The Bay is certainly an exaggeration meant to frighten people, like any good horror flick should, the water we swim in, fish in or drink from can make people sick. Levinson says 85 percent of the film is drawn from scientific facts.

“We certainly don’t think the conditions described in the film are within the realm of possibility,” said William C. Baker, president of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation in a New York Times article. “But they are a literary exaggeration of real issues that the Bay does confront.”

The Chesapeake Bay is the largest estuary in the U.S. and the third largest in the world. Its watershed encompasses the District of Columbia, as well as six states, including Delaware, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia. Massive pollution in the Chesapeake Bay is seriously degrading the environment and adversely impacting the health of people and other species in the region. Pollution comes from industrialized agriculture and urban sprawl. Besides run off from roads, pesticide and herbicide laden lawns, toxic manure waste from factory farms leech into the environment containing a foul mixture of pathogens, antibiotics, cleaning fluids, heavy metals and pesticides.

The movie is presented as a whistle blower documentary depicting the town being infected by the flesh eating organisms which take control of the inhabitants minds and bodies. The horrific story unfolds as pieces of information are strung together from digital recordings, cell phone videos, voice mails, surveillance cameras, police dash-cams and footage from a young journalist, all of which was confiscated by the government in attempts to cover up the incident.

The trailer of The Bay ends with the words of a character saying: "I am going to show the world what happened here. If you find this tape, please get it out."

In a way, Levinson might have meant these words as a message about revealing the truth and showing the world we must clean up the grossly polluted Chesapeake Bay. 

Visit EcoWatch’s WATER page for more related news on this topic.

--------

Paul E McGinniss is The New York Green Advocate. He is a green building consultant and real estate broker in New York. He is pretty much obsessed with all things environment and has lately become a resiliency addict.

 

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Although natural gas produces fewer greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants than coal or oil, it is a major contributor to climate change, an urgent global problem. Skitterphoto / PIxabay

By Emily Grubert

Natural gas is a versatile fossil fuel that accounts for about a third of U.S. energy use. Although it produces fewer greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants than coal or oil, natural gas is a major contributor to climate change, an urgent global problem. Reducing emissions from the natural gas system is especially challenging because natural gas is used roughly equally for electricity, heating, and industrial applications.

Read More Show Less
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has approved two Lysol products as the first to effectively kill the novel coronavirus on surfaces, based on laboratory testing. Paul Hennessy / NurPhoto via Getty Images

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently issued a list of 431 products that are effective at killing viruses when they are on surfaces. Now, a good year for Lysol manufacturer Reckitt Benckiser just got better when the EPA said that two Lysol products are among the products that can kill the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

Read More Show Less
U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez unveils the Green New Deal resolution in front of the U.S. Capitol on February 7, 2019 in Washington, DC. Alex Wong / Getty Images

By Judith Lewis Mernit

For all its posturing on climate change, the Democratic Party has long been weak on the actual policies we need to save us from extinction. President Barack Obama promised his presidency would mark "the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow," and then embraced natural gas, a major driver of global temperature rise, as a "bridge fuel." Climate legislation passed in the House in 2009 would have allowed industries to buy credits to pollute, a practice known to concentrate toxic air in black and brown neighborhoods while doing little to cut emissions.

Read More Show Less
About 30,000 claims contending that Roundup caused non-Hodgkin's lymphoma are currently unsettled. Mike Mozart / CC BY 2.0

Bayer's $10 billion settlement to put an end to roughly 125,000 lawsuits against its popular weed killer Roundup, which contains glyphosate, hit a snag this week when a federal judge in San Francisco expressed skepticism over what rights future plaintiffs would have, as the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Read More Show Less
Hundreds of sudden elephant deaths in Botswana aren't just a loss for the ecosystem and global conservation efforts. Mario Micklisch / Flickr / CC by 2.0

By Charli Shield

When an elephant dies in the wild, it's not uncommon to later find its bones scattered throughout the surrounding landscape.

Read More Show Less
Trump sits during a meeting about safely reopening schools during the coronavirus pandemic on July 7, 2020, in Washington, DC. JIM WATSON / AFP via Getty Images

The Trump administration began the formal process of withdrawing from the World Health Organization (WHO), a White House official said Tuesday, even as coronavirus cases continue to surge in the country.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Refrigerated trucks function as temporary morgues at the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal on May 06, 2020 in New York City. As of July, the states where COVID-19 cases are rising are mostly in the West and South. Justin Heiman / Getty Images

The official number of people in the U.S. who have lost their lives to the new coronavirus has now passed 130,000, according to tallies from The New York Times, Reuters and Johns Hopkins University.

Read More Show Less