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Filmmaker looks at bigger picture

Feb 02 2012

First the sharks, now the world.

Filmmaker Rob Stewart, producer of the award winning documentary Sharkwater, thinks big when it comes to crusades.

"After we had done Sharkwater and met some of the best environmentalists and scientists in the world, everyone said, 'What you're doing for sharks is cool, but it's not just the sharks we are going to lose, it's everything,' " Stewart said in an interview.

Now Stewart, who will give a public presentation at the University of Victoria this Thursday evening, wants activists to change the world while they continue trying to save the sharks.

"In our current movie, we want to show people what is going on because of our insane consumption habits," he said.

The new movie, Revolution, shows that humans need to evolve and make massive changes to protect the environment, Stewart said. "We are now facing the biggest catastrophe any species has ever faced," he said. Small efforts such as recycling will not be enough, said Stewart, who was born and raised in Toronto. "We need to change the economy, so it's not based on perpetual growth."

Revolution will be released in September and Stewart has formed a new group, United Conservationists, to tackle some of the most pressing environmental issues.

In the meantime, there is a continuing need to save the sharks, said Stewart, who faced boat-ramming and attempted murder charges when he and Paul Watson of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society revealed corruption and the exploitation of sharks in Costa Rica and the Galapagos Islands.

It is estimated that 100 million sharks are killed for their fins every year and many shark populations are now threatened. In the largely unregulated fishery, the shark's fins are sliced off while the animal is still alive and the shark is then tossed back in the water where, unable to swim and bleeding, it suffers a slow death. The fins are used to make shark fin soup and for medicinal purposes.

Stewart will speak at the University Centre at 8 p.m. For details, call 250-721-8480 or visit auditorium.uvic.ca/tickets.

jlavoie@timescolonist.com

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