Everyday Activist - Artifishal (BMFF 2019)

Posted on Saturday, November 30, 2019 at 12:00 PM

Artifishal (Banff Mountain Film Festival 2019)

Movie Review by Everyday Activist X CalgaryMovies.com

Artifishal is Patagonia’s latest film about protecting the wild salmon that won the Mountain Culture and Natural History award at the 44th Banff Centre Mountain Film + Book Festival 2019. I had reviewed the first installment nearly five years ago called Dam Nation. Blue Heart, also available on YouTube, wasn’t as popular, but still important for river conservation purposes in Europe. More about fish, The Super Salmon was a short film sponsored by Patagonia, which I also wrote about.

Indigenous people don’t see nature as something to be conquered in contrast to colonial attitudes that nature is for the disposal of man. The Indigenous way of taking only what people need is a significantly cheaper method to maintain healthy habitats and environments. Constantly, trying to “help” nature by spending billions of dollars on fish hatcheries doesn’t seem like a cost effective idea. Genetically, hatchery salmon living in controlled environments aren’t as hardy as their wild brethren, but because of sheer numbers overwhelm the rivers. When they reach the sea, they are smaller causing declines in fish such as killer whales.

I grew up relatively close to a fish hatchery, but I don’t recall going there for a school field trip. Many of the lakes in southern Alberta are stocked with trout. It’s such a normalized procedure that I never thought much of it. After watching Artifishal, maybe Fish and Wildlife offices need to look at other options to maintain healthy fish populations. Overfishing is punished with expensive fines, but examining the greater ecosystem might indicate other solutions. The movie briefly points to agriculture putting stress on the river systems. In southern Alberta, I’m sure they would make a similar connection.

Fish farms seem like bad ideas given how well intensive animal agriculture works on land. Sure enough Norway has some polluted waters. A renegade fisherman, in his diving gear took underwater footage of one of the farms, exposing how sick the fish were with sores and disfigurements rarely if ever seen in the wild. Just off the coast in Washington State, an Atlantic Salmon farm collapsed releasing Atlantic Salmon into the Pacific Ocean. A journalist with diving skills went underwater to document the event before the authorities showed up. People politically protested and the fish farms will be eventually removed.

As much as we tout sustainable living, we have to practice indigenous ways of taking only what need and learning to live on less, so nature can regenerate itself. With fossil fuel use touching everything we do we’ve lost our ability to understand how energy intensive our lives are. Climate change awareness and incorporating rather than suppressing indigenous knowledge helps. Patagonia receives a lot of negative feedback on their environmental initiatives, because they are a big corporation; however, their philosophy is to put the environment first. They just happen to make money doing it. 

Calgary Showtimes: 44th Banff Centre Mountain Film + Book Festival 2019 > | Artifishal >


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