Unsure on the oceans, unrivalled on land, humankind is by nature a terra-centric species. For primates, the seas are more than a physical boundary, but a psychological finisterre, an end of the earth. Blue is a film that sends us back into the sea from which we came, a film that creates an oceanic consciousness unbounded by illusions of species primacy.
Travelling with seven guardians of the oceans, the documentary reveals the destruction that the “industrialisation of the oceans” is wreaking on marine life.
First Blue takes us to Lombok, Thailand, where thousands of sharks are hauled in every day, their fins dismembered and their carcasses thrown back into the waters; victims of the East’s fin fever which removes over seventy million sharks from the seas each year. Once, shark fin soup was considered a delicacy worthy the Emperor, now, billions hunger for it.
“Polluted, heated, emptied of life, we are destroying the beauty and diversity of the ocean.”
– Lives and Times
Then we are taken to the Filipino island of Mindanao – the origin of your tuna can – where we see “the emptying of the oceans” of one of its apex predators, the tuna. Bluefin, Yellowfin, Big Eye, all of them are bound for extinction if we do not curb our casual appetite for one of the strongest, fastest beasts in the open ocean. Imagine the outrage over a can of cheetah, a tin of lion.
Blue’s next stop is Cape York, Australia, so far and so wild, where turtles become trapped in kilometres of nets carelessly tossed from the sides of fishing boats further to the north. Skulls line the beaches, a sandy cemetery of leatherbacks and green turtles.
“The ocean has done us so much, now it is time to do something meaningful for the ocean: to offer it protection.”
Even further afield, on Lord Howe Island and Hawaii, sea bird chicks starve to death in their nests though their bellies are full. Full of plastic, mistakenly regurgitated into their stomachs by their mother seabird.
Even plankton cannot escape the “plastic soup” sea, their little bellies filling with micro-plastics that pollute the food-chain to end up in the bellies of whales, in the bellies of us.
Polluted, heated, emptied of life, we are destroying the beauty and diversity of the ocean; “the mother of all life.” If we do not act now, if we do not change the system that so poisons, suffocates, and decimates the underwater world, then it will all be lost, forever: the peaceful turtles and enchanting seahorses, the powerful tuna and ancient sharks, the reefs of coral and forests of seaweeds.
Only by declaring swathes of ocean “blue parks”, by reducing, reusing, recycling the tonnes of plastic produced each year, and by renouncing an appetite for sea life, can we save the seas. Though the problems are enormous, radical actions by both individuals and governments may give the ocean the breathing space it needs to recuperate after years of neglect and exploitation. “The ocean has done us so much, now it is time to do something meaningful for the ocean: to offer it protection.”
To watch the film Blue, visit the website to see screening and streaming options.
To attend a community screening in Sydney, visit Films for Change.
Lives and Times…
Explore the Blue Planet with Lives and Times…
…Writing on the World Around Us