“Everything is connected by water. Sea to cloud, cloud to rain, rain to river, river to sea.”
From the opening scenes at the Seattle International Film Festival debut, The Wild makes you feel a connection with Earth, a connection with the water. This life giving water that sustains every living creature on this planet is vital and yet, we as humans, seem to take it for granted.
Director Mark Titus explores the relationship water has with the cycle of life, be it through a metaphor of drowning in our own self destruction, the flood of idealistic capitalism and the life giving waterways of Bristol Bay’s salmon runs. Mark cleverly interweaves his own personal journey to sobriety along with the story of The Pebble Mine and Alaska’s life-giving salmon population.
A short background, the Pebble Unlimited Partnership is trying to construct the Pebble Mine, a copper mine in the headwaters of Bristol Bay’s salmon country. Mining, while a provider of jobs for the local economy, strips the land of everything, leaving nothing but a scarred and barren landscape in its wake. The proposed location of the Pebble Mine is right at the Bristol Bay watersheds, where salmon begin their upstream journey to spawn. With salmon populations declining everywhere throughout the world and especially in the Pacific Northwest (which directly affects the endangered Southern Resident orca population), any disaster that could occur at the Pebble Mine would be devastating.
The film goes through other mine disasters that have occurred around the world and watching how the toxic mess completely destroys everything alive is heart wrenching. While Mark does interview supporters of the mine in a fair and balanced way, it’s hard to reconcile something that provides temporary jobs and a boost to the economy with completely destroying the environment in the process.
In the end, Mark leaves the viewer with one of the most powerful quotes, which perfectly sums up the story that The Wild wants you to remember:
Through the lens of addiction recovery, I’m beginning to see how we as a society have been willing to damage our home planet that sustains us based on the false illusion of control over and over again.
Go out now and see The Wild.