Thursday, January 30, the world premiere of an inspiring film, “Mission Blue” by Robert Nixon and Fisher Stevens was attended by members of the DotGreen Foundation Board of Directors at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. The environmental documentary features Dr. Sylvia Earle and her life’s work spreading her long studied understanding about the state of our world’s oceans and our profound reliance on them.
Earle is an oceanographer, marine biologist, and botanist. She is an avid environmentalist who has dedicated over seven decades of her work to protecting marine sanctuaries. Earle has accomplished more than most in her field of oceanography. Her records at the Smithsonian document tens of thousands of species of seaweeds. Her efforts of conservation and global education include a presidential appointment as the Chief Scientist of NOAA. The thought provoking film exposes the amazing story of Earle’s personal love and understanding of the ocean as a child to an accomplished woman in science, leader of exploration, and her current urgent and worldwide quest to address grave issues facing our oceans – including overfishing, pollution, climate change, acidification, and other human impacts. The movie’s message through images is effective; bringing to light an ominous truth. The ocean from outside of the water looks the same whether it is alive, dying or dead. Earl’s accomplishments are many and her passion and connection to the ocean is truly amazing. What Earle warns us of in Mission Blue is perhaps one of the most important messages of our time.
The film documents the founding of Earle’s organization Mission Blue, which was a response to her TED award in 2009. Her stated goal then was to “create a campaign to ignite public support for a global network of marine protected areas; Hope Spots large enough to save and restore the blue heart of the planet.” As Sylvia Earle said at that time, “No blue, no green.” Today, the goal of the protected marine sanctuaries is to ensure that the underwater systems vital to human life on land can begin to repair themselves to once again support our global ecosystem. Dr. Sylvia Earle invites all citizens to join her in our own life saving mission; Mission Blue. The movie documents over 100 scientists, philanthropists, and activists gathered in the Galapagos to help support Earle’s audacious goal, and build an underwater network of protected marine areas, comparable to America’s national parks system. As the expedition ends, the Deep water Horizon oil well explodes, polluting the Gulf of Mexico. Earle and her team rush to track a rare group of whale sharks in the gulf, but quickly lose track of them. The importance of defending her ‘Hope Spots’ around the world starts to gain popularity.
At the end of the movie, there are some encouraging events documented in titles written across the screen. New policies, laws and people taking action as recently as 2012 and 2013. The viewer can see that through the three-year timeline of this very film, change is beginning to occur– but the ocean is big, human demand and insult on it is even bigger. The problems are daunting, but not hopeless. While parts of the film are difficult to watch, the message and impact of this film manages to remain hopeful. In 2009 Sylvia Earle stated “With knowing comes caring” and this documentary brings us one step closer to the collective consciousness needed to shift to a sustainable future.
At DotGreen Foundation, we believe in spreading knowledge and encouraging a concerted effort by many to work collaboratively and in concert with each other to restore our habitat. Planet Earth, our environmental reality must be a top priority. An honest assessment of the state of our oceans can help precipitate the behaviors and policies necessary to ensure sustainability of these resources for years to come. While the last several decades have seen a massive increase in environmental consciousness and sustainability measures, the knowledge must travel farther still, and we are committed to sharing in this effort. In this movie, Mission Blue, Dr. Sylvia Earle’s sentiment is echoed by James Cameron, who also says it is not too late – we are not yet out of the game, but we must act now!
Photos by DotGreen Foundation
Note: The film was dedicated to Mike de Gruy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mike_deGruy), a cherished filmmaker and friend to many involved with the making of this movie, including Harry Rabin, filmmaker and one of DotGreen Foundation’s Board Members in attendance. After the premiere, the VIP section was supportive and proud of the movie and congratulatory of Silvia, yet with most missing their friend Mike who appeared on screen – the mood was tempered by the industry’s loss.