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July 4, 2009

It seems as though it’s been raining in the Northeast forevah and, according to the 10-day forecast, it’s gonna keep raining forevah—or for the next 10 days, at least. In “honor” of this disgusting weather, we bring you a little bit of news on the latest environmental films.

Last week, we watched a screening of “A Sea Change” at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute. The feature-length documentary explores the issue of ocean acidification as it follows Sven, a retired educator, as he returns to the fishing villages of his childhood. Sven is on a mission to get to the bottom of this ocean acidification dilemma and figure out how to fix it before his grandson is left in a world without fish. The film does a good job explaining the basics of ocean acidification and certainly leaves the viewer with a sense of the urgency of the situation. Better yet, it includes fantastic underwater footage and a cute kid—two elements that practically guarantee the film’s success.

Or not. There were two things that didn’t sit quite right with us. First of all, Sven’s mission is to preserve the ocean for his grandson. As a fit-looking 65 year-old, Sven certainly looks like he’ll be around for a while longer. So, really, he should want to preserve the ocean for himself as well.

And then there’s the scientific inaccuracy. (We know we’re being nitpicky. Please bear with us.) Here’s the deal: At one point, Elias (Sven’s five year-old grandson) draws a dolphin in the sand. Sven asks Elias if a dolphin is a fish. Elias had proven to be a pretty smart five year-old thus far, so we expected him to say, “no, it’s a mammal.” He didn’t. Instead, he confidently informs his grandfather that a dolphin is a lungfish, not a fish, because it has lungs and gills. Sure, the kid is cute, but when that cute kid says something we know is wrong (and no one corrects him), we can’t help questioning the accuracy of the rest of the information covered in the film.

To learn more about ocean acidification, check out last year’s post The Ocean’s Big pHat Problem.

There’s another new environmental film called “The Cove.” It doesn’t look like it’s coming to Maine, but the trailer is definitely fascinating. (Check it out here.)

3 Comments leave one →
  1. July 6, 2009 4:51 pm

    Jeez, Pete. Nitpicky is right!

    Alas, I didn’t see the film, so who am I to critique the critic. But, who’s to say he didn’t want to preserve the ocean for himself as well? It was probably just one of those selfless statements people make.

    I kind of agree on the second point, however. The kid should learn. On the other hand, how many times have you seen an adult correct a very young child only to look like the, ahem, “nitpicky grown-up?” But he probably should have educated the boy.

  2. makaimauka permalink
    July 7, 2009 5:48 pm

    You’re right. Sven didn’t actually say the ocean was *only* worth saving for his grandson, so it’s possible his approach was just a shout out to all the other grandparents out there. Still, more and more people are selling their conservation messages on the backs of “do it for the kids.” We just feel that it is important to point out that in many cases, the window of opportunity for change is small enough that we need to make changes for ourselves too. It’s a pet peeve of ours that most people skip adults and head straight to kids when talking about the environment (it’s one of the reasons that we started this blog), but it’s his message so he can target it the way he wants. As for the dolphin misinformation, there’s no question it could have looked awkward and nitpicky to correct him on camera. But since this wasn’t live, and it didn’t add anything to the narrative (it was thrown in for color as far as we could tell) we felt they might have been better off clearing the air on the mammal v. lungfish thing, or just plain leaving it out. Just our take.


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