Since he was young, B.C.’s Mark Angelo has been captivated by the beauty and power of rivers.
“I have been passionate about rivers ever since I was a little boy and such a believer in the incredible value our waterways have,” he said.
In 1980, Angelo created B.C. Rivers Day to highlight both the strength and fragility of rivers. In time, it evolved into World Rivers Day, which is now celebrated in 74 countries.
His latest project is RiverBlue, a 90-minute documentary that chronicles Angelo’s voyages as he paddles the world’s rivers. While much of the documentary shows some of the most beautiful pristine rivers on the planet, its main focus is on the fashion industry’s impact on the world’s waterways.
“It is trying to create a much greater awareness as to some of the major threats that confront our rivers around the world and in this case, one of those big threats relates to fashion,” Angelo said.
“It always bothered me that environmental impacts of fashion tended to fly under radar,” he added. “Next to oil, fashion in its broadest sense is the next biggest industrial polluter of our world’s waterways.”
Angelo pays particular attention to the denim industry.
“We were on the Pearl River in China, and we saw some really disturbing things,” he said. “There, the water literally is denim blue because of all the stain from all the jean manufacturing plants.”
RiverBlue premieres this weekend at the Vancouver International Film Festival.