Skip to content

Maude Barlow, the inspiration for Mad Max?

Ottawa – As Warner Brothers released the trailer for Mad Max: Fury Road, the long-awaited reboot of the 1979 classic about a world deprived of water and oil, you can’t help but notice similarities with a certain Canadian activist who has also shed light on the world’s upcoming water shortage.  

In the trailer, at 12 seconds, a female voice says, “The world is actually running out of water.” It‘s actually an audio clip of Council of Canadians national chairperson Maude Barlow. Right after, another voice says, “…water…water… water wars.” It sounds a lot like Vandana Shiva.

In Blue Gold: World Water Wars, by Purple Turtle films, filmmakers Sam Bozzo, Mark Achbar, and Si Livintoff portray the environmental and political threats to fresh water all over the world. Maude Barlow is seen at the Nairobi Social Forum saying the following (6:16): “I want to talk, comrades and friends, about a global crisis in which we know the world is actually running out of water.” In the trailer, renowned activist Vandana Shiva then concludes, “We have the generation of water wars.”

Compare the two clips for yourself below.

At the Council of Canadians, we have serious questions about this trailer: Is it foreshadowing that Maude Barlow will, like Mad Max, start her own police force to challenge the lawless gang of private companies wishing to privatize water, making it a commodity out of reach of the many? And more importantly: Is Maude Barlow’s character going to make it into the sequel?

“I dearly hope that life is not imitating art, but alas, we have a lot of work to do to avoid the apocalyptic scenario presented in Mad Max,” says Barlow.

Blue Gold filmmaker Sam Bozzo says he was surprised that the film pulled audio clips from his documentary for the trailer. 

“Their film looks fantastic. I feel saddened that my documentary so accurately predicted our future of water conflict and hope the dire circumstances presented in Mad Max remain science fiction.”

Having successfully lobbied the United Nations to declare water and sanitation a human right, Barlow recently wrote Blue Future: Protecting Water For People And The Planet Forever. In 2008/2009, she served as Senior Advisor on Water to the 63rd President of the United Nations General Assembly and is also the author of dozens of reports, as well as 17 books. 

For more information about the Council of Canadians’ water campaign, please visit:


Mad Max: Fury Road

Maude Barlow: Mad Max's Muse?