It’s hard to fathom the amount of negative PR generated by Nestle (and its questionable business practices) in the tiny northern California town of McCloud.
After less-than-complimentary articles in Businessweek, the International Herald Tribune and several others, the parade of bad Nestle PR continues – this time on a nationally broadcast fly fishing television show set to appear on the Outdoor Channel:
- February 13, at 9:30 pm (PST)
- Saturday, February 14, 6:00 am & 1:00 pm (PST)
On The Rise is an extremely popular fly fishing show that profiles not only beautiful fly fishing destinations, but also those under threat from the usual suspects: habitat loss, water diversions, etc.
After reading about the threat to the McCloud River on my Trout Underground fly fishing blog and researching it with Trout Unlimited and CalTrout, the On The Rise producers scheduled a visit to the McCloud – an internationally known, blue-ribbon trout fishery that draws thousands of fly fishermen to the area every season.
While that visit occurred during record high (and largely unfishable) flows, it also coincided with Nestle’s disastrous “Community Input Meeting,” and the show’s video crew attended and taped the proceedings.
Trout Unlimited (the series’ sponsor) and CalTrout representatives briefed the crew and fished the McCloud the first two days of their visit; I fished with the video crew on the final day of taping, and while the fly fishing was tough, they got enough to make the episode – including some apparently telling footage from the Nestle meeting (I have yet to see the show).
Barrett Productions Producer Nick Davis had this to say about the McCloud episode of On The Rise:
“TU wanted to highlight the McCloud River in this episode of On The Rise for several reasons.”
“The first is that bottled water companies are posing threats to pristine watersheds around the country. The second is that the work done by TU and other conservation forces on the McCloud may well provide a template for other rivers and streams in the country. And, of course, it never hurts to shoot a show in a location so beautiful that the images go well beyond a thousand words in value.”
The show abstract describes episode #7 of On The Rise thusly:
“Bottled-water companies once had no problem drawing their product from anywhere they chose. That’s no longer the case, in part due to the resistance put up by those devoted to this incredibly beautiful watershed.”
In my contacts with activists across North America, a common refrain is heard: bringing Nestle’s predatory business practices to light in the media is an uphill struggle – especially in small, rural communities.
Finding a national stage to skewer Nestle for their “extract first, ignore the studies later, and use whatever legal means available” approach to rural communities is always a good idea.