Sixty percent of the human body. Seventy-one percent of our planet. Only 1.2 percent drinkable. Familiar numbers that illustrate the immense impact that water has on this planet’s life. At its source, a dependence on water is an interconnectedness that we all share.
This is an interconnectedness that the L’Eau Est La Vie camp recognizes deeply. Literally meaning ‘water is life,’ the floating resistance camp was protesting the Bayou Bridge Pipeline, constructed by Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) in 2018.
Documenting the resistance was Grassroots International board member Sam Vinal, filmmaker and founder of Mutual Aid Media, together with producer Melissa Cox and a team of collaborators including other filmmakers and social movement activists. In their film “L’Eau Est La Vie (Water is Life),” they piece together firsthand accounts from L’Eau Est La Vie camp organizers, including Cherri Foytlin and Anne White Hat, along with images of the life in the bayou and the devastation wrought by the pipeline construction.
In stark contrast to the sweeping, often glorious views of the bayou, the film shows brutal attacks by so-called ‘law enforcement,’ who were illegally on the land. In protesting the illegal occupation of the land, the L’Eau Est La Vie water protectors were not only assaulted, but now face multiple felony charges, despite having permission from the landowner to be there.
“Three for every one you take, there will be three more,” Foytlin calls in a striking video of the violent arrest of three water protectors. For many, the price of protecting the bayou can seem high. But between images of the environmental lushness and devastation, the message is clear: To protect water is to protect life itself.
While the ETP was forced to reroute around the L’Eau Est La Vie Camp, the Bayou Bridge Pipeline was eventually completed in 2019. But the fight continues, as does the incredible strength and conviction of the water protectors. Updates can be found on the L’Eau Est La Vie Camp’s Facebook and Twitter.
“L’Eau Est La Vie (Water is Life)” is free to stream here. It was recently featured, along with two other excellent films, as part of the ‘Building Movements in Defense of Life’ film festival of which Grassroots International was a co-sponsor.
L’EAU EST LA VIE (WATER IS LIFE): FROM STANDING ROCK TO THE SWAMP from Sam Vinal- Mutual Aid Media on Vimeo.