Friday, June 6, 2008
I just returned from an incredible trip to Southern Chile, to continue filming our next film project, All Point South. This new film follows our past films "Pulp, Poo & Perfection" and "Lost Jewel of the Atlantic," and promises to be our best yet. We at Save the Waves take a different approach to conservation issues than many other non-profits. We believe that to win battles in a consumer society, it is just as important to influence the consumer market than it is to attack the polluters themselves.
All Points South is a documentary film about the pulp mill pollution in Chile and what all of us, as consumers of paper, can do to influence the problem. While Chile may seem a long way away, what many of us don't realize is that the US, and many other countries in the Northern hemisphere, make up the largest market for Chilean-manufactured pulp. Pulp is the raw material used to make paper, and its manufacture creates a waste stream of toxic chemicals that go straight into our oceans.
Every time we go to the office store and buy bright, white paper, we are supporting companies like CELCO (Celulosa Arauco-Constitución), which over the last few years has killed two of Chile's most beautiful watersheds due to industrial accidents, and promises to pollute one of the world's best surfing coastlines. Save the Waves has been at the forefront of the battle to stop this negligent polluting. We have funded legal research through FIMA (Fiscalía del Medio Ambiente) to start what will be a long legal battle against CELCO's practices. But in analyzing the best ways to fight this behemoth of an industry, we realized that the quickest and most effective tactic would be to influence their consumer market. After all, is their customers start to demand more eco-friendly paper, they would have no choice but to change.
I haver been visiting Chile since 1992, making an annual pilgrimage south to sample what I consider to be one of the world's best surf destinations. What I have learned over the past 15 years is that the coastline is being raped by industrial interests. This discovery has led to Save the Waves Coalition's ambitious campaign to put a stop to this abuse. We as surfers, along with the many thousands of native fisherman that eek out an existence along this coastline, will bear the brunt of this increasing threat of pollution. But we as world citizens cannot afford to ignore it. Chile's fisheries are some of the richest in the world, and they are rapidly disappearing. The fish that survive may someday be too contaminated to eat. What we hope to convince the Chilean government is that this is not a sustainable plan for the future.
All Points South will feature surfing from some of the world's best - Keith Malloy, Raph Bruhwiler, Timmy Turner - and some of the hottest upcoming surfers from Chile, such as Ramon Navarro, Leon Vicuña and Nano Zegers. On our last trip, accompanied by Portuguese friends João Valente, Edgar "Macaco" Nozes, and João "Massas" Macedo, we scored 16 straight days of perfect surf, including sessions at Puertecillo, Punta de Lobos, and string of secret spots in the deep south, hosted by our good friend Sergio "Pocha" Susarte at the home of the infamous Masi. Our luck couldn't have been better. Let's hope that our luck against CELCO will, in the long run, prove equal.
In the meantime, all of us can do our part to curtail pulp mill pollution. Next time you buy paper, get the one that is 100% recycled content, and chlorine-free. It's out there, and is even available in most large office supply stores. If you can't find it, buy from eco-friendly paper companies like New Leaf Paper, at www.newleafpaper.com. The ocean and the fishies will thank you!
- Will Henry
Posted by Save The Waves Coalition