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5 Alarming Things We Learned At the International Ocean Film Festival

All the films at the 15th Annual International Ocean Film Festival showcased the beauty, power, glory, and importance of the ocean. They highlighted many different stories that all come back to one thing — how the ocean is life. Each film simultaneously made us appalled at the current state of things, fearful for the imminent future, and then inspired to continue the fight.

The most alarming facts we learned at the 15th Annual International Ocean Film Festival:

  • Granny, the oldest known Orca, didn’t die of old age. She died of starvation, because we’ve eaten all of her food — chinook salmon — in the Salish Sea where she lives (“The Hundred-Year Old Whale”)
  • This is the last generation of wild tuna the world will ever know. We’ve eaten all the adults, and now we’re eating all the juveniles and babies. There will be no more fish to reproduce. In Cocos, we saw wild tuna hunting. We realize we may never see that again, nor will other divers. Within 5 years, 10 max. (“Blue”)
  • Plastic lasts forever! Marine plastic pollution is a real problem that will take a collective, intentional shift of priorities and choices to begin addressing. (“Straws” and “Albatross”)
  • Even our sunscreen does harm, killing off corals. Corals react like we do when stressed — they get pale and freak out (coral bleaching). (“Reefs at Risk”)
  • The issues of industrialization (silver mining, industrial fishing) directly impede native, coastal indigenous rights to the sea. We’re ruining their way of life with our actions. (“Nonoy”, “The Islands and the whales”, “Irreparable Harm”)

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It is important to tell our stories and share our love of the ocean. The more people see and know, the more connections they build to our oceans. Then, they transform into stewards and advocates as well. People protect what they love. These films give us reasons to love the ocean and to realize how important it already is to our lives. It’s the source of all life, and we’ve got to work together to make sure it remains healthy, beautiful, and alive.