By Wendy Wilkinson, Contributing Editor
On June 28, venerable actor, activist, filmmaker, environmentalist, and Return to Freedom American Wild Horse Conservation Board Member Robert Redford addressed U.N Secretary- General Ban Ki-moon and representatives from 193 countries gathered at U.N. headquarters in New York to call for immediate action on global climate change. In advance of this address, Redford told CNN that: “This meeting is part of a growing ground-swell being felt throughout the world with citizens, cities, religious leaders, corporations and national demanding real action. And when world leaders meet in Paris this December, the world will be watching.”
In a more intimate phone conversation with me for Cowboys & Indians magazine, Redford spoke about a documentary film which he narrated, and his son Jamie produced; Watershed: Exploring a New Water Ethic for the New West. The film reveals the shrinking water flow of the Colorado River, but as also is full of hope and perhaps some solutions. “Watershed is all about the West and because I’ve spent so much time in Colorado rafting on the river, when it was revealed to me that the river no longer reached the Sea of Cortez I decided to explore why it was now falling short of its initial destination,” he explains. “The Colorado River is an iconic body of water and symbol of the American West. When filmmaker Mark Decena came to me with the idea of making a documentary about the River, our thought was to bring attention to the reality that this iconic symbol of the West is in jeopardy, as the water supply no longer meets the region’s demand.”
Redford and his team decided to make a balanced and fair film—not radical on one side or the other—to draw attention to the fact that for only fifteen million dollars, if applied right, the river’s course could be extended into Mexico where the farmers in these regions could once again grow their crops. Whole Foods came on board by making the film available on their “Do Something Reel” online Film Festival as well as being screened in select stores. “Through their outreach we have been able to raise both funds and public awareness. I’m very proud of this film,” he says.
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