Thursday, September 16, 2010

Great Bear RAVE Profile: Andy Maser + Trip Jennings of EP

This month, the iLCP, a group of internationally renowned photographers are taking part in a RAVE (Rapid Assessment Visual Expedition) in British Columbia's Great Bear Rainforest. Home to white spirit bears, ancient forests, and stunning marine biodiversity, it is one of the planet's most priceless treasures, but overseas oil interests wanting access to western Canada's tar sands, the second largest known oil reserves in the world, have put the region in threat, prompting the action of conservation groups and the iLCP. Throughout the expedition we'll be bringing you profiles, stories, statistics and photos to learn more about the region and why it's so crucial that we all work to protect it. Please follow along here on the iLCP blog, on Facebook and Twitter.


Trip Jennings and Andy Maser started their filmmaking careers as professional kayakers searching out the most remote and extreme rivers in the world. As paddlers, they have a special connection to rivers and the natural world. Seeing many of our favorite wild places threatened by human development, inspired them to change their focus. So, they're now a team of National Geographic explorers committed to using compelling outdoor, environmental and adventure media to inspire people to protect wild places.

We caught up with Trip and Andy before they left for Great Bear to ask them a few questions...

Why is it important to save the Great Bear Rainforest? What’s at stake?

With wild places disappearing all over the world, we need to hold on to special places like Great Bear — an intact ecosystem rich in terrestrial and aquatic biodiversity and home to the First Nations people. It would be incorigable to see all of this destroyed for the sake of oil dependence.

Why do you personally care about the Great Bear Rainforest? And have you ever been before this trip?

No, I’ve never been to Great Bear. I live in Portland, so it’s relatively close to home. We’ve seen a similar project proposed here in Oregon with the LNG pipeline projects. We’ve temporarily defeated most of those projects here and we're still fighting. And we hope to protect Great Bear from the same fate.

How far did you travel to come and shed light on this important issue? What is your assignment on the GBR RAVE?

Not far, just a quick trip up from Portland, Oregon. Our assignment is to produce a film that brings the issue to life, puts this proposed pipeline project into context and gives us the opportunity to tell the story of this incredible place, the threats that face it and the people working to protect it…

What do you think the power behind a RAVE is?

These RAVEs provide a unique perspective on an issue not normally seen. And working with some of the world’s best photographers, we’ll undoubtedly come out of this expedition with images that compel people to take action.

Why is conservation photography, video and filmmaking such essential elements to the conservation movement as a whole, and this project in particular?

If you present the issue in the form of provocative and engaging film and images, you’re more likely to inspire people to care and ultimately take action. If you want people to care, you've got to connect them to this place. And that's exactly what we plan on doing.

What is the ultimate desired outcome?

Short-term, we want this pipeline proposal rejected. Ultimately, the Athabasca tar sands themselves are the root problem. Hopefully, a victory in Great Bear will be a step towards addressing that.

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