________________ CM . . . . Volume VII Number 6 . . . . November 17, 2000

cover Footprints in the Delta.

Peter C. Campbell (Director). Jerry Krepakevich and Katherine Rankin (Producers).
Montreal, PQ: National Film Board of Canada, 2000.
43 min., 57 sec., VHS, $39.95.
Order Number: C9199 026.

Subject Headings:
Wetland conservation-Canada.
Environmental degradation-Canada.
Endangered ecosystems-Canada.

Grades 10 and up / Ages 15 and up.

Review by Joanne Peters.

*** /4

Environmental impact assessments, task forces, public hearings - today, these typically precede the undertaking of major construction projects which will have significant impact on undeveloped areas. However, in 1967, when the W. A. C. Bennett Dam was built to contain waters from the Peace and Athabasca Rivers, environmental impact was not a consideration. More than thirty years later, the wetlands of the Peace and Athabasca deltas have dried significantly, altering living conditions for vegetation, wildlife, and the indigenous peoples who have lived here for centuries. The "footprint" of environmental impact is deep, and, in this video, it becomes very clear that high standards of living in urbanized areas are purchased at the cost of potentially hazardous ecological change. Stewardship - the concept of responsibility towards and care for the environment - is sadly lacking. It is easy to ignore the impact of these changes when they happen hundreds and thousands of miles away from the city in which one lives. Canada and Canadians have long had an ambivalent relationship with the wilderness: on the one hand, we celebrate its beauty and enjoy its recreational opportunities, but, on the other, we show little hesitation in "conquering" and destroying it, if it will advance our standard of living. Footprints in the Delta makes it clear that we cannot continue to have it both ways. While the video focuses on one area of Canadian wetlands and natural habitat, the lesson it offers is valid for any part of the country threatened by man-made environmental change: no community is "isolated," and the changes we bring to one area ultimately affect others. The video would be a useful in courses with a significant environmental studies focus, and senior high school Canadian geography courses might find it a useful supplementary resource.


Joanne Peters is a teacher-librarian at Kelvin High School in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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