Raincoast Conservation Foundation
Last week's showing of Groundswell went extremely well for Patagonia, Woodshed Films, and Raincoast Conservation Foundation. They completely filled the seats at the venue in the Eco Trust Building, with plenty of people standing in the back and sitting on the floor in the front.
All of those people for a short 20 minute film. But really, there was so much more to the evening than that. In addition to the film, band, and free beer and pizza (for donations to Raincoast), there was a very informative 15 minute intro from a research scientist who has been studying the Great Bear Rainforest and a question and answer after the film with both the scientist and Chris Malloy.
They talked with the curious and engaged crowd about the beauty, harshness, diversity, and frailty of the unique stretch of coast north of Vancouver Island. It's a place with grizzly bears, black bears, the spirit bear (a white black bear that only lives in this area, with only about 200 of them total), wolves, cougars, humpback whales, orcas, eagles, and I forget how many feet of rain per year, but a lot more than Portland gets. They also talked of the native Haisla Nation and their passion to protect the land where their ancestors have lived for many thousands of years.
Protect it from what? From a massive oil pipeline running over the Rocky Mountains from Alberta. The oil would be pumped to the coast and huge oil tankers would try to navigate through uncharted, super narrow fjords and channels to load up the oil before taking it to Asia. The coast where these tankers would be loading this oil is one of the most dangerous coastlines in the world for ships. It seems very likely that an accident would happen, and it would be devastating to all of the wildlife, plants, first nations people, and the land itself. There's a lot more to the issue than that, but that's a general summary, at least. Raincoast and the First Nations people are willing to fight hard to make sure that this pipeline isn't built. Woodshed films did an amazing job at spreading the word about the issues in a fun way.
The movie was not just a surf movie. It was more of a conservation movie with a little surfing, but it was better because of that. It was a refreshing change to see a surf related movie with more of a purpose than just getting people inspired to surf, to tell the story of surf culture, or to show how good a certain surfer or group of surfer's are. Groundswell can really make a lasting impact.