Project

Bangladesh: Easy Like Water

In Bangla, "easy like water" translates roughly as "piece of cake." The irony is that in Bangladesh -- with 150 million people in a country the size of Iowa, water poses a relentless threat. With increasingly violent cyclones and accelerating glacier melt upstream, flooding may create 20 million Bangladeshi "climate refugees" by mid-century. India is already building walls to keep them out.

But Mohammed Rezwan, an architect by training, has conjured up the equivalent of environmental Jujitsu, harnessing the power of water to educate and unify the community. His idea is simple and elegant. "330 schools were flooded last year," he says. "So I decided, if the children can't go to school, why can't the school go to them?" With its solar-powered, internet-enabled school boats, his project is bringing education to rural Bangladeshis, including many girls who have never had access to school before.

Elsewhere in the country, the children are not so fortunate. For some, their villages must repeatedly move to evade the encroaching sea, and their families cannot sell the farmland because saline inundation has rendered it worthless. Others have already fled to the urban chaos of Dhaka, where they seek work as rickshaw drivers or brick porters. This documentary is the first film to explore the lives of "the children of climate change."

Rezwan sees Bangladesh's future, and it will float. He has extended the concept to offer a host of other services, from clinics and to adult education in sustainable farming. Plans are in the works for vegetable gardens and entire villages that float. But as the waters continue to rise, can one man make a difference?

Bangladesh has a tiny carbon footprint. It is us – the people of the industrialized world – who are contributing to global warming. And while this story may seem far away now, the oceans are all connected. Their future is ours as well.

Bangladesh: Water Service for Dhaka’s Slums

Solving Dhaka’s sanitation issue is simple. Steve Sapienza says the Bangladeshi capital needs only to provide slum residents clean water and worry less about the resources used to pay for it.

Southern Bangladesh: Climate of Fear

Satkhira district nervously awaits the next "mega-cyclone."

We came to the town of Koyra in this southern corner of Bangladesh to follow up on a news story about how river erosion had suddenly collapsed several houses, sweeping away a five-year-old girl in the process. These kinds of stories appear with alarming regularity, meriting only small mention in The Daily Star, Bangladesh's leading English newspaper.

Images: Hope Floats—and Soars—in Bangladesh

As we continue production of "Easy Like Water," our film crew re-visited the solar floating schools, libraries, and adult education centers run by the Bangladeshi NGO Shidhulai Swanirvar Sangstha a year after our August 2009 visit.

This trip we spent seven days with students who use the Shidhulai services, meeting their families and documenting their daily lives, including 10-year-old Rupa Khatun, whom I will get to later.

"Easy Like Water" Garners Media Attention

"Easy Like Water," a film that documents one man's mission to help Bangladesh's schools adapt to climate change, attracts notice from television broadcasts.