Dadigan, Marc

Marc Dadigan is a freelance writer and multimedia journalist.

Time to Save California's Pandora

By Marc Dadigan

In James Cameron’s online video “A Message from Pandora”, the director of Avatar is seen traveling to the Xingu river in Brazil, meeting with Amazonian indigenous tribes and condemning the Belo Monte Dam, a $11 billion behemoth that would displace some 20,000 people. In a compelling case of life imitating art, Cameron has since received some credit when a Brazilian judge last week halted the construction of the Belo Monte, citing the need for more study of its impact on the surrounding rainforest.

“All of a sudden I’m in the Amazon, and living a real-life Avatar.” Cameron says in the video moments after an indigenous woman dashes his face with red paint.

Cameron is to be commended for standing behind his film’s support for indigenous right, but he didn’t need to travel all the way to the Amazon to find his real-life Pandora. He could have driven a few hours north of his Palo Alto home to the pine-quilted mountains of the McCloud River canyon where another tribe’s existence is imperiled by a large dam.

A Salmon People’s Message: Saving Salmon Means Far More Than Jobs

By Marc Dadigan

The salmon hatchery was nestled among the foothills of New Zealand’s Southern Alps, its open-air cages discreetly occupying the banks of a purling creek. When the Winnemem Wintu arrived, they each received a bucket in which dozens of salmon fry swirled and eddied.

The Winnemem spread across the creek and began releasing the juvenile fish into the water.  One of the Winnemem teens, Nick, tipped his bucket about 10-inches above the water and smiled as the fry escaped down a gentle cascade. Many others took the fry in their hands and placed them carefully in the water. For nearly an hour, they stayed by the water, transfixed, watching the fry dart downstream.

Together, they began to sing in the Winnemem language, the language the salmon once knew when they spawned in the McCloud River.