Ground WarA filmmaker's investigation into the death of his father takes him deep into the world of golf, lawns, chemical lobbying, and citizen activism. Available on CBC Gem
Troubled by the death of his father, Andrew Nisker is provoked to search for answers as to why his remarkably healthy and fit dad (who was still a ski guide at the age of 80) would have developed an environmental-related cancer: non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Over the course of his journey, he discovers his father’s golf course of forty years has been spraying toxic herbicides and pesticides for decades on its grass. Could all those chemicals have some connection to his father’s illness?
In his search to find out how his father got lymphoma, Andrew uncovers scientific study after scientific study connecting certain pesticides to cancer. Nisker becomes determined to find out why our golf courses and sports fields are allowed to keep using toxic chemicals instead of reducing them. He worries too about his children, who love to play baseball and soccer on fields which are also chemically treated. What is the risk for them?
Nisker’s original, honest, and sardonic investigation explores humanity’s obsession with conquering and perfecting nature: “the Augusta Syndrome,” as it’s called on the golf course. He confronts our ignorance, hunts down the details of what exactly is sprayed where and when, and gets his head around the difficulties of epidemiological science and the power of the chemical industry. He asks: should we not be reducing risk, rather than accepting it? What risks are we really prepared to take with our health just to kill dandelions?