Here along the Lake Pepin/Mississippi River flyway, we’re too busy bird-watching to worry about such things as the decimation of the oceanic coastlines. —I say! Was that a rose-breasted grosbeak? I daresay it was! —What’s this about rising sea levels threatening the lives of millions along the coasts? Tut, tut. Look there—an indigo bunting!
Shored Up, a new documentary directed by Ben Kalina and executive produced by 2009 Flyway keynote speaker Brian Newman, is about to shake us out of our ornithological complacency. The film looks at the impacts of a rising sea on coastal communities. Remember Hurricane Sandy? Kalina was already more than three years into shooting his film when that little event pretty much made his point: that our current “solutions” to rising sea levels are not working out very well.
The film uses animation, interviews with scientists, surfer footage, and policy debates to tell the story of coastal erosion. As Kalina told the New York Times, he had been struggling to find powerful imagery for his film when Sandy hit. The moral of that story: be careful what you wish for.
Put Shored Up on your list of must-see films at Flyway 2013. Watch the trailer and wring your hands in distress. Then see below for some pretty pictures of migrating birds on Lake Pepin.
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Segue to birds. The Mississippi River is a “flyway” for migrating birds, meaning they follow the river up from Mexico in the spring, and down from Canada in the fall. Lake Pepin is the part where the river widens and slows, so we call it a lake. Birds consider it a commodious rest stop. Of course, the same climate forces that are destroying the coasts are also wreaking havoc on the birds…and everything else. Well, anyway.
Photos by David Meixner, who lives on the lake/river and takes these beautiful pictures right outside his house.