SUFB 041: What Nature Shows Aren’t Telling You

 

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Speak Up For Blue Podcast

Welcome back listeners to our Monday episode of the Speak Up For Blue Podcast! Today’s episode is dedicated to Andrew’s daughter Taya who turned eight today (happy birthday Taya)! Our goal here at SUFB is to make sure that children like Tea grow up with an appreciation and a sense of wonder for our ocean ecosystems. However, you can’t accurately inform future generations with just one side of the story; you have to discuss both. And many nature documentaries don’t do this.

The majority of them are incredible at showing audiences clips of healthy underwater habitats, but they come up short when discussing threats to these habitats. The problem with this is that these types of nature shows are practically the only educational ones out there. For an incredibly large amount of viewers, a national geographic documentary on the ocean may be their only exposure to marine ecology. And yes, we know that at the end of the day television networks care more about ratings than providing educational programming. And we also know that an entire show dedicated to shark finning is going to turn off a lot of viewers. However, when you make a nature documentary all about the ocean, you’ve got a tacit obligation to inform the viewer on your subject matter. That means for every coral reef video, you have an (albeit tacit) obligation to show videos of bleached reefs. If viewers find out you’re passing off a fictional situation as a nonfiction documentary, they get upset.

The good news is there are a few great nature documentaries out there. Blackfish, The Cove, and Sharkwater are all great examples of powerful films that entertain as well as inform viewers on ocean conservation issues. Audiences leave these films equipped with the knowledge they need to influence change. And while many claim that ocean conservation issues are too depressing for television, we at SUFB disagree. First of all, if Game of Thrones has taught us anything it’s that you can never have too much death for TV. Secondly, there is more than enough television subject matter in ocean conservation. Create filmmakers can find ways to frame overfishing, coral bleaching, ocean acidification, deep-sea mining, and plastic pollution that attract and inform viewers. By discussing potential solutions to these conflicts, nature programs can avoid leaving their audience with a sense of doom and gloom. Instead, audiences will feel empowered to address the threats facing our oceans, and will now possess the knowledge to create positive change.

We at SUFB believe that there needs to be more of this sort of nature programming, shows that inform viewers on conservation issues in addition to conveying the wonder of marine habitats. This is why we’d like to announce that SUFB is in the process of developing a science, nature, and conservation media outlet designed to entertain and accurately inform the public on ocean-related issues. Our podcast is just one facet of this media outlet, we envision adding series of web videos, a YouTube channel, and a monthly online magazine. However, we want your input! In the comments section below, let us know what you would like to see or hear us cover. Is there something you’d like to learn more about, or something you’d like to hear our opinion on? Is there a guest you’d like Andrew to have on the show? This is your opportunity to speak up for our oceans and get involved in marine conservation!

Enjoy the Podcast!

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