Do you think your favourite pair of designer jeans was overpriced? Think again. It should be impossible to put a price tag on a product that poisons the most important lifelines of our planet, but unfortunately it’s not.
Fashion is killing the world’s rivers. They are becoming more polluted every single year as textile manufacturers dump wastewater and residual chemicals directly into nearby waterways. The denim industry is particularly destructive, using a mix of toxic chemicals such as cadmium, mercury, and lead to create the jeans that we all wear and love.
This kind of production has a catastrophic effect on water quality and on the lives of the many people who depend on these rivers for survival. At a time when close to 1 billion people don’t have direct access to clean water, it’s absurd that our rivers should be pumped full of toxins on a daily basis. Countries such as China and India, which reap the economic benefits of producing vast amounts of textiles cheaply and quickly, now find themselves in the awful position of having to live with the ecological side effects.
If water pollution at this level continues, Greenpeace executive director Kumi Naidoo’s tragic prophecy will come true: “The wars of the future will not be fought over oil. The wars of the future will be fought over water.”
A new documentary called RiverBlue hopes to raise awareness among consumers about the declining health of our river systems and how the textile industry is responsible for much of it. The film’s team, headed by Canadian river activist and avid canoeist/kayaker Mark Angelo, includes director David McIlvride (National Geographic, Discovery Channel, History Channel) and producer Roger Williams (Discovery Channel), both of whom are Gemini Award winners.
The rough-cut version of the film has been made, but now the RiverBlue team has launched a 30-day crowd-funding campaign in order to raise money to complete the post-production phase, which includes animation, music, and voice-over talent. The campaign ends on July 25.
Why is this film worth supporting? Because it’s the most ambitious, in-depth, and extensive river documentary made in many years, and the team hopes to be an ‘agent for positive change.’ The denim industry is largely under-reported, despite the fact that the most serious polluters are linked to the world’s biggest and most popular denim brands. RiverBlue hopes to galvanize consumers into action; to turn them off conventional production and inspire them to seek out ethically-produced jeans instead; and to add their voices to the demand for better, more ecologically-friendly production practices.