By Samantha Harmon
During this Pandemic, the best thing we can do is to better educate ourselves and to develop perspectives based on the information we hear. The best way to educate myself on important topics is to watch documentaries, such as ones on Netflix. Recently, I have watched the 90 minute Seaspiracy film. This story starts off with the illegal catching of whales, but transitions in a very impactful way. This ends with the impacts of overfishing, bycatching involving species, such as sea turtles and dolphins, and how most of the plastic in the ocean is caused by plastic fishing nets that get discarded into the ocean after use. The documentary also discovers how big corporations know that eating fish would stop these big commercial boats from overfishing, but fail to put this on their websites because they are endorsed by these huge companies. Overall, this discovers that if we stop eating fish, then the growth of species in the ocean will begin to recover itself.
When I started watching this I had no idea what it was going to be about, but after watching this I have discovered a new perspective of commercial fishing and the effects that it has on the ocean ecosystem. Before this I always thought that the plastic that we dump into the ocean was the reason why all of these animals were dying, but I was mistaken. The reason so many animals are dying is because they are wrapped up in fishing netting that is designed to kill animals for meat. Although our plastic that we drop into the ocean is huge it still doesn’t even compare to what fishing netting is doing. If you look up pictures of animals that have washed up dead onto shore, then most likely you will see fishing nets wrapped up around them. This is just one of many Netflix documentaries that gives you a closer look into what is really going on in our environment.
Another great documentary that does this is David Attenborough’s “A Life on Our Planet.” This documentary is all about David Attenborough and the way he has seen a shift in species and the toll we are taking on the environment. He documents what he has been able to see through his lifetime and the dramatic changes that Global Warming is causing, especially with human contamination on the planet, but this documentary has a twist. In the last half of the documentary it discusses the change of the environment through the decades. For example, if we do not make great changes by 2040 or 2050, then most of our planet will be covered in Carbon and there will be a dramatic change in temperature. This is a result of the deforestation that is going on, especially in places like the Amazon where they cut down a tremendous amount of trees for lumber and a way to create more space for industry. This is causing a numerous amount of endangered species, even extinct species because there is no environment for them to live in and no food for them to reduce their extreme hunger. No matter how you look at this topic you can see that humans are a destructive species. Sadly enough it all comes back to money.
My perspective over the two years has changed immensely. Not because I didn’t think that humans impacted the environment or that Global Warming wasn’t real, but because in the past two years I have continued to educate myself tremendously about what is actually happening and paying attention to the effects that we have on species and the atmosphere. If you think about it we all have morals, but these morals start to become grey when money is involved. You would think that if these huge commercial fishing boats knew what they were doing to the environment, then they would stop right? Unfortunately, they know what they are doing and still continue to do it anyway because commercial fishing is one of the biggest global industries we have in the world today. They are not concerned about how they kill eight dolphins for every tuna they catch, but what they care about is how much that tuna is worth. They slaughter dolphins because they are seen as a threat to fishing because dolphins eat the fish, so they see it as more profit. No matter how you look at commercial fishing or any harmful effect on the environment, sadly, it comes down to big business and the profits they are making while completely destroying the environment. Watching documentaries about how we treat the environment might make you sad and in disbelief, but isn’t it more sad to know that these things are happening and choosing to ignore them? There are so many problems in the world that go unsolved because we feel as if we have no power to do something about these issues, so nothing gets changed.
It doesn’t take one person to become the person who changes everything, but it takes a little change from everyone to make a revolutionary change to better our environment. Although bringing your reusable water bottle wherever you go and eliminating plastic straws is a step in the right direction it’s nothing compared to the effects big corporations have. In the documentary “Seaspiracy” he also discusses the use of “Dolphin Free” labels and how the corporations motify if they really know if the tuna in the can is really dolphin free. In an interview with a man who works for the corporation who gives out these labels he said that “The world is a tough place” when asked about if they really know what goes on during these trips out to sea. The documentary also discusses the horrific amount of slave laborers that are involved in the commercial fishing industry.
No matter how you feel about tough topics, whether you ignore them or you face them head on, we can’t keep ignoring the harmful effects of not educating ourselves. It’s our job as humans to become self educated and aware of our surroundings. Not everything that you read about or see on the news is deeply thought out. When factors, such as money and politics, come into play, then we can’t rely on the news because we are now aware that there is such a thing as bribery in the media and big corporations. So take the time to watch documentaries and research topics that you are interested in. We are the solution to the world’s problems. It takes a little big from all of us to make change.