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"White Water, Black Gold": a Documentary About "Ethical Oil"

Posted: 03/20/2013 12:31 pm

As part of this year's nation-wide, week-long celebration of water, Canada Water Week, here are some questions for getting the most out of your documentary viewing experience.

David Lavallee's film, White Water, Black Gold, has received myriad distinctions, including the John Muir Award at the Yosemite Film Festival, Best Canadian Film at the Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival, and has made selections for the Banff Mountain Film Festival and most recently the Tyrolean International Film Festival in Innsbruck, Austria.

I remember when I first met David. It was at Pat and Baiba Morrow's home in Wilmer, B.C. As a young, first time film-maker, the Morrow's saw in David the same energy and passion that has propelled their own film and photographic adventures. This ever humble team has claimed the first ascent of the seven summits, for which Pat received the Order of Canada. And since my initial meeting with David, Wildsight has worked to spread the message of White Water, Black Gold and hosted the first public screening of the film in our small community theatre, the Toby Theatre in Invermere, B.C.

With increasing distribution of the film and all of the attention and awards, David sparks a deep discussion wherever he goes. Questions often lead to more questions and in his search for uncovering the answers, David has embarked on his second film project -- To the Ends of the Earth. Keep your eyes, ears and minds open for this film, which looks at energy mining practices across North America. From the Boreal Forest, to the Arctic Ocean and the Utah Desert in between, we have moved beyond "easy oil," moved beyond "our grandfather's oil." Now what?

The following questions are real questions, asked by audience members throughout David's travels, and they're intended to fuel a national dialogue about the "world's thirstiest oil industry."

1. What is your understanding of the term "ethical oil"?
2. What are your expectations for monitoring and reporting on the activities in the oil sands?
3. What does the future look like with, and without, oil?
4. How do you think the world views Canada's oil sands development?
5. How do you feel about foreign investment in Canada's oil sands? What level of regulation is appropriate for multinational corporations working in the oil sands?
6. What is the most effective way for Canadians to voice their opinion on the oil sands?

White Water, Black Gold will air on TVO Wednesday March 20 at 10 p.m.

By Heather Leschied, Program Manager, Wildsight

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  • 5 Minutes: Take A 5 Minute Shower

    If you only have five minutes to spare, Ryan Mulligan recommends cutting back on your showers. "Take shorter showers. Most people think they won't have enough time but try taking a shower under five minutes," he says. On average, if you take a five minute shower everyday for a month, you can save up to 3,800 litres of water in your household.

  • 5 Hours: Fix A Leak

    Drip. Drip. Drip. That annoying sound of dripping water that wakes you up in the middle of the night could be wasting about 90 litres of water, according to Mulligan. In five hours, try fixing all your leaks around the house or install a water-saving faucet.

  • 5 Days: Go Meatless

    Try a vegetarian dish! A week is a lot of time to save water and for five days, Mulligan thinks we should be thinking bigger. "Go meatless for five days. From start to finish, it takes a lot of water to grow crops that feed animals to cleaning meat before you eat it," he says. A piece of steak for example, from start to finish, can use up to 7,000 litres of water.

  • 5 Weeks: Update Your Home

    Five weeks gives you enough time to update key areas in your home. Get a rain water barrel and use collected rain water to water your garden and plants, Mulligan says. He also recommends letting your grass grow a little longer before mowing the lawn to avoid over-watering your greens.

  • 5 Months: Flush Less And Learn More

    In five months, there's a lot you can do to save water. For starters, putting a brick into your toilet tank can increase your tank's water level and decrease the amount of water that's being used during flushing, Mulligan says. His team also encourages Canadians to dig a little deeper into the impacts of water in developing countries and read a little bit more about how scarce and limited water is for many countries.