Netflix recently released their new environmental documentary called Seaspiracy. It follows a filmmaker, Ali Tabrizi, trying to learn about the harm that humans cause to the ocean and its ecosystems. As he gets deeper and deeper into the topic, he finds out that there is more to the story than he originally thought.
He begins his journey by looking into whales and dolphins, then discovers that there is an enormous global overfishing problem. Expectedly, he finds that large corporations are controlling how we consume.
This topic has really been something that I have been trying to pay a lot more attention to recently. After watching documentaries like Seaspiracy and The Social Dilemma. Large companies will do whatever they can to blame anyone else but themselves for a problem they’ve created. In Seaspiracy we see The Marine Stewardship (MSC) which claims to sell sustainable fish; however, we learn that it is not possible to fish sustainably in such large quantities. The MSC website promotes buying their “sustainable” fish. They do this because the company that owns this organization will benefit from people paying more for “sustainable” fish.
Additionally, green washing and blue washing are real problems. Green (or blue) washing is when a company will change their marketing strategy to look more eco-friendly but will not actually change anything in their production to be more sustainable. Unsuspecting consumers who mean well are being lured into buying consumables that look like they are eco-friendly but are just as bad as, if not worse, than what they were buying before. People who try to be eco-conscious are told by these organizations to find sustainable alternatives like drink from a reusable straw, buy sustainable fish, etc., but sustainable fish does not exist and straws are not our biggest problem. These are just ways for major companies to stay in control.
Those who were able to eat at Vanier’s cafeteria before COVID might know that there was a debate between the students and the cafeteria staff regarding straws. Some wanted straws to be banned, some wanted straws to be recyclable/compostable, and some did not care. This debate was not only at Vanier, it was all over the world. Consumers were blamed for the death of sea turtles who would most certainly die if you used a straw. In reality according to National Geographic, straws make up only about 0.03% of the ocean’s plastic pollution. The biggest polluters are the fishing companies. However, they blame the consumer so that they are not held accountable.
This is how large companies continue to get rich while consumers are blamed and made to change their ways in order to shift the blame away from them.
Tabrizi’s principal goal for this documentary was to learn from whale and dolphin deaths. He noticed that more and more whales were dying because they had bellies full of plastic. According to a CBC article by The Associated Press, there was a whale found in Indonesia in 2018 with 115 plastic cups in its stomach, along with other things.
As he did more and more investigating, he found that whales, dolphins, and sharks are crucial for the oceans ecosystems to thrive. It is not difficult to see if one observes nature enough that everything is connected. There is a delicate balance that if we play too much with, will only cause us harm.
It is important that we are careful of the amount of plastic that we consume as well as how we dispose of it. It is also important that we educate ourselves about real issues and continue to look for reliable sources and not the fake stuff that big companies want us to know.
By Rebecca Mononen