New Documentary Explores How Pollution Affects Whale Hunting In Remote Islands 

New Documentary Explores How Pollution Affects Whale Hunting In Remote Islands 
Updated 7 months ago

Scottish film maker Mike Day turns his focus on the ethical and environmental concerns surrounding the Faroe Islands, a remote archipelago in the Northern Atlantic between Iceland and Norway, with his new documentary The Islands and The Whales, a winner of the DOC NYC Grand Jury Prize and the Hot Docs Emerging International Filmmaker Award in 2016.

Airing October 9th on PBS, Day's documentary explores the lives of Faroese whale hunters and shows how their ancient hunting practices are exposed to modern day international and local pressures. Since the islands are often exposed to extremely cold temperatures, the Faroese people have always depended on the ocean around them to provide food for their community. That is until they started to feel the effects of environmental pollution.  

The Islands and the Whales

While this remote area is not as polluted as more populous areas around the world, pilot whales can travel great distances and as they return to the islands they bring back with them the effects of contaminated water. Pál Weihe, a doctor on the Faroe Islands, warns the locals about the dangerous effects of eating seafood with high mercury levels. After testing hundreds of children on the islands for over a long period of time, he discovered that consuming toxic whales can cause brain impairment in children and is linked to other serious health problems in the community.  

Day learned about the Faroe Islands while shooting his previous film, The Guga Hunters of Ness (2011), a BBC feature documentary about a Gaelic island community in Scotland embarking on its epic annual seabird hunt in the treacherous North Atlantic.

"The Islands and the Whales shows the unique Faroese community wrangling with the environmental problems we face," said Day. "I hope the film gives us a chance to take stock of how we interact with the natural world and encourages us not to ignore the clear signs of the damage we are causing. There is a chance to act now before it's too late. If we don't, like the Faroese, we all risk putting contaminated food on the table," he said.

The Islands and the Whales has its national broadcast premiere on the PBS documentary series POV (Point of View) on Monday, October 9, 2017 (check local listings). POV is American television’s longest-running independent documentary series, now in its 30th season.

Food3 Innovators Reveal How Their Companies Are Changing The Future Of Plant-Based Food

Dominique Barnes, Patrick Brown, and Kimberlie Le are leaders in the food industry focused on how to offer more sustainable alternatives. By leveraging science and food research, they are finding ways to create plant-based shrimp, fish and burger alternatives from natural ingredients. 

By Desiree Kaplan
21 hours ago
NewsCosta Rica Plans To Eliminate Fossil Fuels By 2021

Costa Rica's new president, Carlos Alvarado, plans to eliminate the country's carbon footprint by banning fossil fuels by 2021. While the timeline seems unrealistic, the country is close to fully running on renewable energy, but they have to fix their transportation infrastructure.

By Brian Spaen
4 days ago
Style'Be Zero' Founder Reveals The Waste-Free Staples She Keeps In Her Purse

Andrea Sanders, founder of Be Zero, knows a thing or two about creating a green beauty regimen. The popular author and educator teaches people every day how to create sustainable and mindful habits. And today, she's giving Green Matters a peek inside her purse.

By Desiree Kaplan
5 days ago
NewsLouisiana Creates Unique Plan To Save Its Coast By Diverting Mississippi River

Levees are built to help prevent the overflow of rivers and to save land from storm surges, but they've had a negative effect on Louisiana's wetlands. The state is creating divisions in these levees to bring needed sediment to marshes in order to restore land.

By Brian Spaen
6 days ago
Stay Green
Sign up for our newsletter