The poisoning effects of pesticides, the helpless deterioration of traditional diets, and the search for alternatives to growing food are explored in Silent Snow . Pipaluk Knudsen-Ostermann ““ the narrator and a sort of main character of this film ““ starts out with deep concern about the environmental damage currently found in her native Greenland. The detrimental effect of pesticides on the traditional diet of those who survive in an Arctic climate is her biggest concern. She then sets out to explore the use of pesticides around the world, as well as to search for possible solutions.
This film makes one topic its point of origin ““ the effect of pesticides on the food in Greenland – and branches out from there, demonstrating a variety of issues that exist in an interconnected network around the world. It shows that pesticide use, diseases, hunger, debt, and the decline of traditional lifestyles against the will of those who practice them are all subjects that cannot be adequately understood apart from each other. Nor do pesticides in food only affect the particular, clearly defined community in which they appear. The use of these chemicals in one country, such as India, will have strong effects on a place as far away from it as Greenland. This is not only due to the international trade in goods produced with the use of pesticides, but also because the toxins can easily travel long distances by air and water. Once they lodge into the bodies of the people that consume them, they will be passed down to future generations.
Throughout the film, Knudsen-Ostermann visits three places ““ Uganda, India, and Costa Rica. She spends time with many interesting people, learns about their ways of life, and documents their experiences with pesticides. Although these countries are the only ones profiles in this film, the far-reaching effects of chemical poisoning is established as a global problem with the use of these examples. Certain patterns and themes emerge over the course of the narrator’s journey that seem very likely to occur in various other places all over the world.
The broad range of issues in this film is revealed through Knudsen-Ostermann’s narration (which is somehow both calm and urgent) and the firsthand stories of the farmers and activists in the places she visits. They describe the effects that pesticides have had on their own health and the health of their communities, and outline the seemingly insurmountable difficulties in overcoming the institutional barriers to the elimination of toxic chemicals from their everyday life. Still, an optimistic spirit manages to prevail when the efforts to practice organic and sustainable farming are touched upon. One of the major themes in this film is that the knowledge and practices of indigenous communities often hold the key to creating lifestyles that do not take away more than they require from their environments.
I really enjoyed Silent Snow‘s approach to presenting the topic ““ taking one person’s learning experience, and making it available to the audience. It was an effective method of imparting the unsettling information that is often disregarded because it can be so difficult to handle. The film even manages to put in a positive note and stir the interest for more information.