As part of the 2007 Environmental Film Festival in the Nation's Capital, the Environmental Change and Security Program (ECSP) at the Woodrow Wilson Center hosted a screening and discussion of Maquilapolis: City of Factories on March 20, 2007. Spotlighting the on-the-ground impacts of globalization, the film travels to Tijuana, Mexico—also known as "Maquilapolis" (city of maquiladoras, or sweatshops)—where Lourdes, Yesenia, and Carmen are three of many women fighting for better wages and conditions that will not irreparably harm the environment in which they live. Through video diaries, interviews, home visits, and industrial imagery, the film reveals the stark realities of globalization.

Following the film, Margrete Strand Rangnes, senior representative for the Sierra Club's Responsible Trade Program, discussed how trade institutions and agreements—such as the World Trade Organization and NAFTA—have enabled environmental and labor injustices. Andrew Selee, director of the Wilson Center's Mexico Institute, acknowledged some of the negative impacts of NAFTA, but argued that development in Mexico (specifically Tijuana) has increased in the past 15 years, partially as a result of the agreement. The question and answer period touched on a wide array of topics, from human rights to environmental health indicators. But the discussion focused on finding other success stories like that of the women's group highlighted in the film, and ways in which to replicate them on a larger scale.

Drafted by Alison Williams and Gib Clarke.