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a project by TINKEBELL. about the future of the world. To save our children.
Will be presented during the World Food Festival, Rotterdam 2013.

Complete film in Dutch:


A short introduction film in English:

SAVE OUR CHILDREN – The slumbering threat of a worldwide phosphate deficit

TINKEBELL. presents a drastic, extreme conclusion and decides to sterilize herself.

Phosphate is as essential to life on earth as oxygen is. Without it no living organism can exist. It is a  main ingredient for the catalyst of the world's food supply: fertilizer. It can't be replaced nor can we artificially create it. And now it seems that supplies are running low. Not many people are aware of the importance of this element for our daily lives, let alone that the material is as finite as oil and gas. But the Moroccan mines which provide about 40% of the worlds Phosphate reserves are slowly but steadily being depleted. At least, that is the theory of Wouter de Heij, scientist and expert in the field of durable food production. According to his findings the world will run out of readily available, clean phosphate somewhere in the next 30-100 years. This deficit would proof disastrous world food production. Without phosphate De Heij estimates the food industry can only support an approximate 1.5 billion people. In the coming decades we will approach a world population of almost ten times this amount.

This frightful premise is the starting point of a new project by Dutch artist TINKEBELL. In her continuing quest to save the world she sets out to verify de Heij's claims, and to see if the problem is as daunting as he sketches it. She does so by making a film in which she speaks with several experts in the fields of biology, phosphate and the balance of nature. She asks them if it might be true that we will be without food within a couple of decades. This film, SAVE OUR CHILDREN, is scheduled to premiere on the World Food Festival next week in Rotterdam. Included are Louise Fresco ( professor in international durability), Dolf Boddeke (biologist, fishery expert), Brendo Meulman (innovator in urine recycling) and several other experts in the field. She also tries to uncover why nobody seems to be talking about this issue in interviews with several Dutch politicians from all sides of the political spectrum.

The film is set up as an attempt to prove de Heij wrong. This seems to be a natural response to the image of the future he is painting; a world in constant conflict over the final scraps of food available. Even when there still is a very limited amount of phosphate available prices will skyrocket and geopolitical struggles will increase. One way or another the human population on this planet needs to decrease for it to be sustainable, be it through war, (natural) disasters or, perhaps even more controversially, by limiting the amount of children people are allowed to have.
With this in mind, China’s recently lifting its single-child policy can be seen as a very threatening decision.

During the interviews with the experts several solutions to the problem are offered, but the notion that phosphate is finite and that this will cause considerable problems seems to be part of the consensus. Most of the possible solutions are quite practical, but will only work if recognition of the issue gains momentum. Ideas such as extracting phosphate from our own urine, filtering it from the sea through algae, or retrieving it from the bones of dead animals are extensively reviewed in the film. TINKEBELL. even attempts to create her own phosphate by adding seawater to her own urine. The magnesium in the seawater reacts with her urine and a small amount of white phosphate is filtered out. All these measure are drastic, expensive and will change the way we live our daily lives. And although there seems to be a growing acceptance of the need for sustainable energy and for a more effective use of raw, finite materials, phosphate is nowhere to be found in either politics or the public eye.

TINKEBELL. has made it her mission to increase public attention for the possibility of a phosphate deficit. She feels that politicians worldwide fail to address the problem. The global financial crisis is partly to blame for this, but it seems that any long-term thought is now absent from contemporary politics. So she feels she has to take responsibility herself.

 At the end of SAVE OUR CHILDREN, after a thoughtful and fascinating exploration of all sides of the phosphate debate, she arrives at a drastic and final conclusion. In spite of all the possible solutions to the phosphate problem solving it seems very improbable when there is no political pressure. In view of a future without phosphate she decides to get sterilized. By doing so she shows an extreme consequence of a worldwide problem.

The closing shots of the film show the artist lying in the hospital, crying. She becomes a testament for a problem bigger than us, a problem we have to take collective responsibility for.

Text by Emiel van der Pol

A project by TINKEBELL.
Film and editing: Chris Houtzager
Production: Nynke Vissia
Music: 0ne Trick Pony 'Lady by the river'
(title song: https://soundcloud.com/0netrickpony/0netrickpony-lady-by-the-river )

Thank you for your knowledge
Wouter de Heij
Midas Dekkers
Dion Graus
Liesbeth van Tongeren
Jaco Geurts
Brendo Meulman
Han Swinkels
Jaap Korteweg
Dolf Boddeke
Rob de Ruiter
Hajo Smit
Louise Fresco

Special thanks for your support:

This project needs your help!
We made this film with a small budget in the Dutch language, which is fine. But it would be great if we could share the project with all the non-Dutch-speaking people around the globe as well.
That's why we are looking for funding to translate this film.
Yes, with that, we could use some help!

contact for info or donate directly via this link.
(please mention your contact info and SAVE OUR CHILDREN)