A Year of Yes, Week 21: Blue The Film

Blue is an award-winning documentary about the ocean and the effects we as a society are having on it. I was lucky enough to find out, day of screening, that there were still tickets available with the bonus of a Q&A with the film makers afterwards. What luck!

The documentary was playing (coincidentally?) on Clean Up Australia Day at the Ritz Cinema, in Randwick, over the weekend. My Fiona had been working on an environmental website with her high school peers as a group project this term so I decided to bring the whole tribe with me for this week’s outing.

The film was beautifully made but sad and shocking at the same time. What we as a society have done to the ocean as a result of an over consumption fish, depleting supplies and not leaving enough young fish to grow and reproduce for the next generation was difficult to watch. The focus then switched to sea birds with their little bellies so full of plastic, suffocating to death. This is happening locally, on Lord Howe Island, just off the coast of Australia.

It’s amazing to me that we have created something like plastic that will never go away. It seems like a crime against humanity and yet, we continue to consume it every single day. Even the microscopic critters of the sea were shown to have these very tiny plastic particles within their little bodies. The ocean was portrayed as toxic and depressing but then the film maker would switch gears and motivate the audience with stories of people working to fix it. It’s a monstrous uphill battle to clean up and protect but one that can be done with the support of people like us.

I watched my kids shudder as the birds were dissected and the hundreds of pieces of plastic trash were removed from their bellies. The jaw dropping footage of seals and turtles all twisted up in thoughtlessly discarded fishing nets left to succumb to an unnecessary and early death. The film was honest and confronting but also very motivating. Shedding light and hope with stories of their “ocean guardians.” Scientists and surfers alike who spend their days cleaning up beaches, the sea and spreading awareness.

At the completion the director Karina Holden and two of the men who made appearances throughout the film, marine biologist Luke Handley and environmentalist Tim Silverwood, popped up on stage to chat with the audience. Many children with arms in the air, keen to ask cute questions about the film maker’s experience and how they too can help. There were two people asking why the cinema didn’t choose real glasses to sell drinks in as opposed to the plastic they were served in. I’m not sure why they just didn’t bring a reusable bottle? My Fiona had her hand in the air the entire Q&A but was never called on. Luckily her questions were asked by others: Are they vegan? What can kids do to spread the word and encourage others?

We were told at the end they would hang out at the front of the cinema if anyone else wanted to have a chat. Of course, my Fi, was determined to have an encounter. She approached Tim and asked about her school blog and what she could do to make more of an impact. He offered her advice on sharing what she and her family do to help as that is more inspiring for others to follow. A good answer. I think most people prefer to be inspired and make their own choice rather than to be preached to.

I encourage people to watch this film with their families and discuss what you too can do. If every person made a small change, we would together make an even greater impact.

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