Toxic Tears

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Subjects: Agriculture, Business Studies, Ethics, Global Issues, Globalization, Human Rights, India, International Trade, Pesticides, Sustainability

Grade Level: SrH-Adult
Producer: DUS Media
Closed Captioned: No
Running Time: 24 mins
Country of Origin: The Netherlands
Study Guide: No

Copyright Date: 2011
Available in French: No

Salesmen peddling pesticides come into tiny villages in the Punjab with promises of increased yields and great riches if the farmers would just buy and use their products.  The pesticide sellers are often also the only local source of loans.  The farmers buy the pesticides, borrowing money to do so and begin a cycle of increasing debt that they just can't pull themselves out of.  The farmers feel terrible shame and they are commiting suicide in alarming numbers.

In the little villages of Chotian and Kurna Kalan (Punjab, India) the farmers cooperative society registered 25 suicides of young farmers in the last seven years. They drank pesticides to end their lives and to escape their debts.

Indian physicist, Dr. Vandana Shiva, blames the introduction of the Green Revolution in the 1960s. The Green Revolution was brought about by the Nobel Prize winner Dr. Norman Borlaug and its aim was to end starvation in the Third World. The scientist Dr. Norman Borlaug developed high yielding varieties of rice and wheat seeds. These high yielding variety seeds require chemical fertilizers, pesticides and lots of water to enable them to grow.

The Green Revolution led to increased food production but the environmental, social and cultural price that had to be paid was high. The Green Revolution led to disharmony, indebtedness and as consequence suicides amongst farmers in Punjab, other parts of India and the world ... A revolution with no blessing.

The personal stories of everybody involves in the pesticide drama are shown in the film Toxic Tears.

Winner Best International Short Documentary, Global Wake-Up Festival, Chicago

Official Selection:
International Documentary Film Festival, Amsterdam
DOCSDF Mexico City
GLOBIANS Documentary Film Festival, Berlin
Environmental Film Festival of Accra

Screened at:
Eco Film Festival Malaysia


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