David Korten, Elizabeth May and the Salmon Wars documentary
Two new interviews and an upcoming documentary!
I haven't written a blog post or a Newsletter about The Green Interview for weeks and weeks. There's a reason, and I'll get to that – but in the meantime I want to assure you that production has been rolling right along. We've released new interviews with two inspiring figures: David Korten and Elizabeth May.
David Korten was born, raised and educated in the establishment, and worked overseas for three decades, running business schools and helping administer U.S. aid. Eventually, though, he became disllusioned with the whole aid industry, realizing that the problems of the Third World were largely created by the policies and actions of the First World, particularly the United States. He came home to change his own country, becoming the cofounder and board chair of YES! Magazine, the founder and president of The People-Centered Development Forum, a board member of the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies, and co-chair of the New Economy Working Group formed in 2008 to formulate and advance a new economy agenda.
The wonderful thing about Korten is his fierce combination of ruthless realism and determined optimism. It's one thing to say – as many do – that "the system" in the US and other Western countries must change. It's quite another thing to create counter-institutions and alternative media designed to appeal to the best qualities in the American character, and to force change from below.
We interviewed Elizabeth May in our first round of Green Interviews, back in 2009, when she had become the leader of Canada's Green Party and was struggling to build the party, win a seat in Parliament and continue the good green fight she had been waging since she was a teenager. In 2011 she won the Saanich-Gulf Islands seat, and became the first-ever Green Member of Parliament in Canadian history. Then she set out to show that one determined and knowledgeable MP could indeed make an impact – criticizing legislation, proposing her own bills, asking probing questions in committee, raising the big issues on the floor of the House. She is no stranger to Parliament – she was a top adviser to the federal Minister of Environment during the 1980s – and we were fascinated to know how she was enjoying her new life as a legislator. Her courage, energy, indignation and knowledge are always an inspiration – and this encounter was no exception.
So we posted these interviews — meeting our commitment to our subscribers to post at least one new interview every month — but we didn't do blog posts because there simply wasn't time. The problem with time was our upcoming Special Presentation, a video documentary called Salmon Wars: Aquaculture, Wild Fish and the Future of Communities. This project has consumed us night and day for most of the first half of 2012. We'll be releasing it, at last, on June 13.
Salmon Wars grew out of a Sunday Herald column I published in early 2011 about a proposed major expansion of salmon farming into Nova Scotia. Being aware of the problems with salmon net-pen aquaculture because of the fabulous work of Alexandra Morton, I wrote that the Minister should refuse to grant the necessary leases and licenses. That column prompted Henry Hicks, an ardent conservationist, to call and congratulate me — and to ask how the issue could be kept at the forefront of the political debate in Nova Scotia. I opined that a video documentary to be shown in community halls, over the internet and on community cable channels would be a powerful tool. Henry was enthusiastic about the idea, and thought that he and some like-minded friends could raise the money to produce the show. And eventually they did, though it wasn't easy.
Armed with a modest budget, Chris Beckett and I went off to do interviews in Toronto (Alanna Mitchell), BC (Alexandra Morton, Daniel Pauly) and Seattle (David Montgomery) – all of which are already available on the site. We roamed Nova Scotia and New Brunswick by car. In the end, we collected nearly 40 video interviews and a huge pile of research information. As we worked, the subject of the proposed leases and licenses heated up, steadily becoming a more important issue in Nova Scotia; trying to make a documentary about it was like trying to paint a moving bus. As I write this, at 38,000 feet, flying to Vancouver for a round of Writers Union meetings, Chris is editing the show, assembling the interviews and narration, laying in sound and music, and preparing the show for its launch. There are more details below – and the show will be available free both on this site and on its own www.SalmonWars.com site, where you can see the trailer right now.
Salmon Wars: Wild Fish, Aquaculture and the Future of Communities has turned out to be a wide-ranging exploration of net cage salmon aquaculture and its social, economic and environmental impact on the communities where it operates. It's an eye-opening 70-minute video documentary that surveys industry representatives, community activists, scientists, environmentalists and politicians, including Nova Scotia's Minister of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Environment. Financed entirely by citizen donations and designed for free distribution, Salmon Wars probes not only our stewardship of the oceans, but also the alliances between industry and government, the ability of local communities to influence their own futures, and the health of democracy in Atlantic Canada.
Salmon Wars will premiere as part of the Oceans Film Festival at the Spatz Theatre in Citadel High School, Halifax, at 7:00 PM on June 13, 2012. It will be introduced by Eric Thomson, a lawyer, who is one of the investors, and it will be followed by a question-and-answer session and a panel discussion, with panellists representing such fields as marine biology, conservation, tourism, politics, and the traditional fishery.
Salmon Wars will launch simultaneously in small Maritime communities affected by the issue. It will also be web-cast, and it will be posted on its own website, www.SalmonWars.com for free download. In every format, the show is free of charge.