ONE DROP Starts Ripple Effect – an AQUA Review

“ONE DROP Starts Ripple Effect – an AQUA Review”
a Fascination! Guest Submission
By: Gena Colton – Perrysburg, Ohio (USA)

The Montreal Science Center hosts the world premiere of AQUA now through September 7, 2009. AQUA is one method developed by the ONE DROP™ initiative founded by Guy Laliberte´, to raise awareness of the global water crisis.

What I expected: A typical IMAX film about how we take for granted/waste/destroy our natural resource and a sermon about conservation and saving the planet . . . yada-yada-yada.

What I experienced: A beautiful, thought-provoking, interactive demonstration of how unevenly water is distributed throughout the world and how we need to take care of what we have and decide to take action to preserve it and help those who do not have access to a sufficient quantity and quality of water.

I loved that we had to stand – – not sit and be entertained. There was prerecorded narration, music, sound, light and of course, water effects. No one told us what to do, but a guide silently demonstrated what we could do – if we chose. We had to choose for ourselves to take action (interact with the screen) – or not.

A small group of people (20?) are guided into a dark room. On the left is a display of blue illuminated orbs shaped like giant water drops. To the front is a big screen. To the right is a “wall” of water sheeting down. The wall of water has different pictures and shadows projected on it. Sometimes behind the water, an old well with a hand pump is revealed.

As the scene progresses, the guide silently gives each person a giant blue illuminated water drop to hold. The water wall parts and we are guided through it to a big round space – 360° of floor to ceiling projection screen. We surround the hand pump in the center of the room. The lever starts pumping water. The 360° screen comes to life — scenes of fresh water abound. The guide shows us that if we move(take action) we can make a difference (move the water by waving ourarms – with our hand-held blue water drops or walking in front of the
screen — waaaay cool technology).

The fresh water scenes turn to pollution in industrialized countries and unsanitary water in 3rd-world countries. At one point everyone’s hand-held blue water drop extinguishes. A scene of barren land is on the 360° screen. The water pump stops pumping water, but the handle continues to squeak. Over the horizon, the shadows of 5 children appear and move closer – until the shadows are standing right in front of us. The narrator tells us that every 8 seconds a child dies of dehydration. The looming sound of a ticking clock is heard. Every 8 seconds, a child shadow disintegrates . . . 40 seconds. Silence.

Our hand-held water drops start to flicker on as scenes of relief and hope appear. The well starts pumping water again. The guide leads us to place our blue-again water drops into the pool surrounding the pump as a pledge to become more aware of our use of water and how it affects others.

As we leave the 360° room, there are quotes about water from children around the world. The one I remember said something like, “I hear there are places in the world where you turn a handle and water comes out.”

We are lead through a dark hall where there are little horizontal computer touch screens for everyone to go to – if they want. Again, cool technology. Every time the screen is touched, it sends water ripples – even when typing in your name.

The AQUA experience was unexpectedly entertaining as well as educational, and inspiring. Afterward, I sat on a bench for about a half hour just to absorb what I’d experienced – seriously.

My suggestion to ONE DROP: Make and sell giant blue “water drops” out of recycled glass and sell them, proceeds would go to the foundation of course.