Darwin’s Nightmare

Darwin's Nightmare

I’ve been finding it so hard to keep on top of this blog stuff and watching all the movies on my list. It’s quite overwhelming. But I’ve decided to give it all a red hot go (without causing myself a whole lot of stress… hopefully). Maybe I can also drop the quality of my writing (no comments on that one please…) so I can write faster. Anyway if this is the quick and dirty version of me blogging I may just click out a few low word blogs. For example – new blog on Dredd would be “Nope” and for Darwin’s Nightmare it would be “good but needs to be shorter” but I’ll add more shall I?

This is one of those documentaries that create life conundrums. Do I keep doing something or do I stop? Who benefits and who loses?  Basically it comes down to “is it better to keep buying a type of fish which is destroying an environment or do you stop buying and take away the only livelihood of an entire country”? Yes, that kind of life choice conundrum. There are so many – Do I stop buying clothes made in Bangladesh (one of many countries I could choose) where people work 7 day weeks in terrible conditions or do I keep buying clothes made in Bangladesh so those people working in terrible conditions at least have jobs? I could go on but I won’t because this is supposed to be about Darwin’s Nightmare.

Back to the doco – the Nile Perch which we all buy (in just about every country apparently, except Tanzania where the locals can’t afford it!), has destroyed the waters of Lake Victoria. It’s an introduced species which has eaten all the local fishes and is now cannibalising its own littlies for food. Ewwww, right? So it’s completely destroyed the water quality because all the small fish that ate the algae are gone and the water is becoming polluted with algae and Nile Perch poop.

At the same time these fish are the only source of income for Tanzania (except for prostitution it seems). There are some people who have profited from Nile Perch fishing but they didn’t look like locals.

This is an interesting doco, in parts, it could have been really good but it’s just too long and the director keeps himself completely out of the picture which can work but I thought here there was explanation needed. At one point a woman was talking about how lucky she was to have a job (and not have to be a prostitute for the fishermen) while she was hanging out fish carcasses covered in maggots and walking through maggoty entrails (sorry, and yes, it was really that gross) but because the director wasn’t making an appearance I have absolutely no idea what job she was doing or what was going on with the super gross fish carcasses.

Darwin’s Nightmare really will make you think about the effects of worldwide consumption on third world countries but it also leaves you in a conundrum with regard to the actions you take in spending. Unfortunately though it would have been a whole lot better to watch this over an hour on a tv show like 60 Minutes than to go movie length and I really hope someone told this director to explain themselves in future.

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3 thoughts on “Darwin’s Nightmare

  1. This comment is not necessarily directly related to this movie but I thought I would make it anyways, because it’s in the same sort of ballpark about ethics and capitalism in the third world.

    We would all love to do something that makes us feel good and benefits the global community, either by the environment or supporting farmers. Whether that is buying organic foods (most organic foods are bullshit however) or ethically sourced food (fair trade coffee, free range etc) but at the end of the day my cynicism of the intentions of humanity still prevail.

    The reality of the situation around the global production industry is complex and challenging in so many ways. For example if we only buy fair trade coffee and cease to purchase non certified coffee which is hand picked by children – is that actually good for the third world children whose income subsisted solely of that trade? By consequence will it force them into crime, prostitution or garbage picking? Is fair trade actually benefiting those children in other ways? Is it really being fair to the farmers? Often the reality of the situation is far more complex.

    Anyways Ellie, something that you may be interested in that really shocked me quite recently is a Ross Kemp documentary called Extreme World: India which looks at the sex slavery trade in India. It is truly eye opening, vile and disgusting stuff the amount of young women who are stolen, forced into slavery, raped and murdered in that country.

    • Yes, this is the exact problem! It’s such a Catch-22. There’s no winning.
      The documentary ‘Born into Brothels’ about generational poverty and generational prostitution in India was also really eye opening and confronting but well worth a watch. I’ll check out the Ross Kemp doco – thanks for the recommendation.

  2. I read your reviews and I think, that sounds really interesting, I’ll add it to my list. But then I have so many things on my list to watch and I also think to myself ‘would hubby watch this with me?’ and the answer is almost always a no…. I’m intrigued though…..

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