When I finished my blog post yesterday I was thinking that I should advertise some of the documentaries Joe and I watched that we think are simply amazing.
The first documentary we watched with the ocean as the topic was Chasing Coral (2017). It describes how corals all over the world are dying due to global warming. Even a few degrees make enough of a difference that the corals are vanishing and what used to be a colorful, lively reef, slowly turns into a graveyard of coral skeletons. It’s disturbing and sad to see how quickly this beautiful world on the bottom of the ocean vanishes and since it’s so hidden from the eye of the everyday person, nobody really seems to care because they don’t know.
We were shocked after watching this documentary and followed a recommendation on Netflix called A Plastic Ocean (2016). The writer Craig Leeson started to research the current situation of the ocean after noticing that more and more plastic was floating on the surface. He shows where plastic comes from, how it ends up around the neck of sea lions, in the noses of turtles, and in the stomachs of sea birds and how it turns beautiful beaches into landfills.
Finally we learned of Dr. Sylvia Earle who is one of the leading activists for preserving ocean life. The documentary Mission Blue (2014) tells her life story and how she continually fights for the ocean. Mission Blue is also the name of her campaign which has the goal to create a global network of marine protected areas, so called “Hope Spots”. There is so much to learn in this documentary; not only about the marine life, but also about activism, being brave, and standing up for what is right.
I feel like I’m pretty late with this but today I stumbled across this video about The Ocean Cleanup project.
I’ve heard of this before, that a young man from the Netherlands developed something that would filter the plastic out of the ocean in an easy and eco-friendly way but I never really researched this myself. So today, I researched briefly because I was very curious after watching this video. What is the story of this project?
It seems like it started with a TED Talk of the then 18-year-old Boyan Slat. He had this vision to clean up the ocean by fishing out the plastic.
5 years later, after tons of research, lots of crowd funding, and building up a team of over 80 engineers, researchers, scientists and computational modelers, The Ocean Cleanup could go into production. On September 8th 2018 the first cleanup system was finally launched into the North Pacific.
In another TED Talk I heard that the plastic in the ocean is like a sink that is flooding. It doesn’t help much to clean up the water on the ground, you have to turn off the faucet. In this context that would mean to stop the production of plastic first and then cleaning up what is laying/swimming around on landfills and in the oceans. But since it can take so long until laws change to force companies to produce less to no plastic (besides the possibility that the consumer avoids buying plastic as much as possible) it seems to be such a wonderful project to me. The Ocean Cleanup Foundation expects 50% less plastic in the ocean within 5 years, which I can barely believe. So I decided to write about this project so that others not familiar might become interested in knowing more and maybe even support The Ocean Cleanup.