Fly Fishers and Environmentalists Unite
Farlows held a reception to mark the launch of “Damnation” a film by Patagonia as well as several presentations on the threat to Europe’s rivers from unrestricted and unnecessary dam building
Article by Tom Jones
Farlows recently played host to an event organised by Patagonia championing their environmental causes. The brands have a close relationship, with Patagonia’s shop-within-a-shop launching recently in Farlow’s central location.
After opening remarks by Patagonia’s UK Manager, Alex Beasley and Farlows’ MD, Robin Philpott, the talk immediately surged into serious topics. The CEO of Riverwatch (an environmental NGO), Ulrich Eichelmann, then made a presentation about the group’s ‘Save the Blue Heart of Europe‘ campaign. The initiative is dedicated to the protection of Balkans rivers, a gorgeous and unique feature of uncharacteristic beauty – many of the photographs looked as if they’d been taken in topical climes, rather than in Slovenia or Croatia. However, these are now under threat by a huge number of damn construction projects – 2,700 in total.
Dan Yates then took the talk to a more local level, discussing the Save the Conwy project, of which he is a founding member. The Welsh river is facing the challenge of having up to 75 per cent of its flow being diverted for a small scale hydroelectricity project. The Save the Conwy group has seen an unlikely alliance between kayakers and anglers as well as local environmentalists.
The crowds then headed up and out of the Farlows store, migrating north to the Soho Hotel. Switching the light on in the cinema, it was quickly realised that this was no ordinary cinema – the traditional seat stalls replaced by huge armchairs that looked a little bit ‘edgy American trying a bit too hard to be alternative’ but were undoubtedly the comfiest chairs I could imagine to watch such an uncomfortable film. ‘DamNation’, produced by Patagonia, documents the history of American’s relationship with dams, from the obsessive building that occurred to feed America’s increasing need for power to the current situation, as American authorities begin large-scale demolitions of dams to restore natural habitats. An intense but thoroughly informative film.