When you gaze out at the endless blue of the Ocean, it’s hard to believe that anything we do can impact this mighty ecosystem. Taking up 70% of the Earth’s surface and home to hundreds of thousands of species, from our planet’s largest, the blue whale, to some of its smallest, like zooplankton; the Ocean holds many mysteries under its surface.
One thing’s for sure though, humans, despite our relatively puny ranking on the animal size scale, are unwittingly (I hope) decimating our incredible, life-giving oceans. I know many find that hard to believe, but between overfishing, plastic pollution and climate change, our oceans are under attack like never before; and these are man-made problems.
The good news – if the problems were caused by us, they can be fixed by us; in conjunction with the amazing vitality of the Ocean and its inhabitants’ ability to bounce back when they no longer have to play defence.
Still not convinced? Or would you like to know more about the Ocean’s (and hence our) predicament?
Check out these three documentaries.
Exposing confronting, and often controversial, issues this documentary is a great Problems Facing The Ocean 101 introductory eye-opener for the as-yet unaware. For those that already think you know it all, this documentary may surprise you – I sure learnt a few new facts.
This film managed to balance the delicate job of not converting shocking into “Ok, that’s enough of that.”, a hard job when communicating huge problems such as shark finning, overfishing, plastic pollution, destruction of habitat and ocean change. Timing is key and they nailed it. Each topic was clearly explained by articulate, passionate ocean guardians supported and enhanced by absolutely stunning visuals to boot.
This film tugs at your heartstrings from the outset, but the shocking, emotional response that it evokes is what will get its viewers fired up to do something about the problems facing the Ocean. That something is outlined clearly at the end of the film, and on their website, as they invite you to become an Ocean Guardian. Take the pledge – your health, the Ocean’s health and the planet’s will all be better off for it.
Blue will be released in Australian cinemas on 12 October 2017.
Most of us have heard of coral bleaching and we know that the the Great Barrier Reef is in mortal danger, but do we really understand why? Do we even really know what coral is? Is it a plant or an animal? Or both????
What I loved about this film is it started with exactly this explanation. It didn’t assume we all already knew nor did it skip those elements as unimportant. As a result its message is all the more impactful.
Drawing attention to the epidemic of coral bleaching on reefs across the world, this film follows in the footsteps of the incredible documentary, Chasing Ice (if you haven’t seen it, watch it! It’s on Netflix). It’s a heavy topic, coral bleaching – 25% of all marine life relies on healthy coral reefs – if they die, the Ocean’s in big trouble as an ecosystem and we are too by association. Currently an estimated 500 million people rely on the Ocean for their livelihood and food source. That’s a hellavuh lot of climate change refugees if our oceans start to die. In fact, it’s 100 times the number of Syrian refugees that Turkey, Jordan, Egypt and Europe are currently struggling to cope with. Puts things into perspective, doesn’t it?
Despite the potential ramifications of this dilemma, the film devotes a lot of time to the ingenuity and dedication required to capture coral bleaching in action, all the while peppered with funny one-liners. This provides crucial “break time” from the saddening facts it covers. For me, I found these parts of the film heartwarming and hopeful – watching passionate problem solvers use their intelligence and creativity whilst maintaining a sense of humour and succeed, it’s an indication that humans have the capacity to solve coral bleaching and (I dare to hope) the other countless problems facing us as a society, if we work together.
What really made this film for me was Zackery Rago. A coral enthusiast, his passion and energy is contagious. He brings the emotive factor to the documentary and his likability pulls us along with him as we vicariously experience his personal journey chronicled in the documentary.
The documentary opens with the narrator commenting on humans’ fascination with space whilst we have this “other worldly” ecosystem just under the Ocean’s surface that, for the most part, remains overlooked and undiscovered. Start your exploration of this beautiful, endangered alien world by watching Chasing Coral.
Chasing Coral was released worldwide via Netflix on July 14 2017.
A Plastic Ocean
Brace yourself for this one. You’ll feel like you’ve been hit by a truck by the end of it – it’s incredibly overwhelming, and that’s coming from me, someone who walked into the screening already acutely aware of the plastic pollution problem. But I don’t say that as a deterrent but rather a warning. It’s still a must-see.
We often forget, or maybe some of us have never realised – plastic is a petroleum-based product. By consuming it mindlessly we are unintentionally supporting the fossil fuel industry and consequently, climate change. Am I being too dramatic? Watch A Plastic Ocean before you decide.
This documentary is loaded with horrifying facts, and you’ll finish it determined to avoid single-use plastics at all costs – and that’s a win for all of us! As the documentary slogan reminds us, we need a wave of change.
Have you seen any of these documentaries? What did you think? Can you recommend any others that would make us more dedicated ocean guardians? Let me know in the comments below! – Georgia xxx