Is sand the new gold? Watch and discuss the eco-thriller ‘Sand Wars’.
Eco-thriller ‘Sand Wars’ (Denis Delestrac, documentary, 52 min.)
Sand is everywhere around us, also if we never visit a beach or desert. Houses, skyscrapers, bridges, airports, sidewalks, computer chips, even many cosmetics are basically made of sand. And it’s getting scarce.
Based on encounters with sand smugglers, barefoot millionaires, corrupt politicians, unscrupulous real estate developers and environmentalists, this movie takes us around the globe to unveil a new gold rush and a disturbing fact: the ‘sand wars’ have begun.
The screening of ‘Sand Wars’ is introduced by Professor Ton Hoitink (Environmental Fluid Mechanics). He is an expert on flow processes and river bed changes in deltas, and holds knowledge on sand extraction and sand supplementation activities in these areas. After the movie there is a Q&A with Professor Hoitink.
About Ton Hoitink
Prof. dr. ir. Ton Hoitink studied civil engineering at the University of Twente. He carried out his PhD research at the Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research at Utrecht University as a member of the Physical Geography department. Currently, he is appointed professor of Environmental Fluid Mechanics at the Hydrology and Quantitative Water Management group of Wageningen University & Research. In addition, he is head of the Kraijenhoff van de Leur Laboratory for Water and Sediment Dynamics (behind Gaia).
His research and teaching focuses on flow processes and river bed changes in deltas using new monitoring methods using acoustic, optical and radar measurements. In the lab, he and his colleagues conduct scale experiments to investigate the river bed dynamics resulting from the interaction between water and sediment. In addition to projects in the Netherlands, Hoitink conducts research on the Pearl and Yangtze deltas in China and the Berau, Mahakam and Kapuas deltas in Indonesia.
In his work, professor Hoitink combines knowledge from hydrology, oceanography and geology, and aims to contribute to a better understanding of delta flow processes. This understanding is needed in order to develop environmentally friendly interventions that can help counteract the effects of climate change, which leads to more extreme river discharges and rising sea levels.
About Denis Delestrac
Denis Delestrac is the director and scriptwriter of the documentary ‘Sand Wars’. He is a French journalist, writer and award-winning director. Among his social-political and cultural documentaries are: “Human Rights”, shot in Israel, Colombia and Afghanistan, a powerful documentary that analyses how armed conflicts increasingly affect civilian communities and foster displacement; “The Mission to Educate” which examines the sustainability of the nomadic Nigerian tribes’ lifestyle; and “The Nomad Spirit”, which looks at how market economy has transformed Mongolian society. More recently, Delestrac contributed to the direction and writing of the award-winning large format blockbuster “Mystery of the Nile”. His first feature documentary, “PAX AMERICANA and the Weaponization of Space”, was selected in major international film festivals and acclaimed by the critics worldwide. Delestrac currently resides in Barcelona, Spain, where he runs Intrepido Films, a production company specializing in high-quality documentaries.
About The World of Sand (21-28 May)
Sand. Ordinary and incredibly diverse. Beautiful. Omnipresent and becoming scarce at the same time. In this theme week, Studium Generale explores the many aspects of this versatile material. What it looks like, how it sounds, how we source it, what you can do with it and, especially, its growing scarcity and the consequences this has.
Did you know that sand is the most consumed raw material on earth after fresh water? And that your smartphone wouldn’t exist without it? It is used for buildings, infrastructure, glass, computers, cosmetics and detergents – omnipresent things in our daily lives. With visions of deserts in your mind it might be hard to imagine, but did you ever realize that sand is a finite source, and actually becoming scarcer? And that the increasing pressure on this resource may have serious implications, ranging from sand conflicts and ecological destruction, to compromised food production and flood protection?
Delve into the everyday and at the same time unknown world of sand, and explore its special nature and role from various angles. Admire its beauty and diversity, and find out why sand has so many different uses. Discover where we get it from and how we extract it. Learn about the social and ecological effects of sand extraction, and discuss what role science and policy could play in promoting sustainable sand use.