Movies, especially documentaries, have the power to not only educate us about issues, but to show them to us. Here are some eye opening films you can watch online about ocean conservation problems in the world today. They are all available on streaming platforms or for free at the links provided.
1. Sharkwater (2006)
Released in 2006, Sharkwater was written and directed by recently deceased conservationist Rob Stewart. Inspired by Stewart’s life-long love of sharks, Sharkwater helped to change public perception of the ocean’s apex predators. Instead of portraying them as killers to be feared, Stewart uses stunning footage of sharks in their natural environment to reinforce the message that their survival is essential to the future health of the oceans.
Stewart also reveals the truth about the millions of sharks slaughtered each year in order to meet the demand of the Asian shark fin industry. Later, he teams up with conservation organization Sea Shepherd to expose corruption in the Cocos Island and Galapagos marine reserves. The ensuing conflict between the conservationists and the local authorities provides a powerful example of how important it is for each of us to take our own stand for the oceans.
WATCH: On Amazon Prime or for free at https://vimeo.com/88724551.
2. Chasing Coral (2017)
Chasing Coral is a 2017 documentary film about a team of divers, scientists and photographers around the world who document the disappearance of coral reefs. It was filmed over three years, with 500+ hours underwater, includes footage from over 30 countries, and was made with the support of over 500 people around the world.
WATCH: On Netflix or for free at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aGGBGcjdjXA.
3. The Cove (2009)
Winner of the Academy Award for Best Documentary in 2009, The Cove was written and directed by Mark Monroe and Louie Psihoyos respectively. It draws the eyes of the world to Taiji, Japan, where hundreds of dolphins are corralled in a secret cove each year. Some of the dolphins are captured and sold to aquariums around the world to live a life of confinement away from their families; while the rest are indiscriminately slaughtered.
The Cove follows the story of Ric O’Barry, a former dolphin trainer seeking redemption for his role in perpetuating dolphin captivity. It documents the difficulties O’Barry and his team faced whilst filming undercover in Taiji, and exposes the risk of eating dolphin meat contaminated with mercury. Above all, the documentary raises awareness of the inhumane way in which Taiji dolphins are killed and sheds light on the true origins of captive dolphins seized from the wild.
WATCH: On Amazon Prime or for free at http://www.documentarymania.com/player.php?title=The%20Cove.
4. Blackfish (2013)
Nominated for a BAFTA and released in 2013, Blackfish is the brainchild of writer and director Gabriela Cowperthwaite. It explores the inhumanity of keeping intelligent cetaceans in captivity; and in particular, acts as an indictment of SeaWorld, the multi-million dollar corporation currently housing 22 orcas at its United States theme parks. The documentary achieves these two goals by following the story of Tilikum, the SeaWorld orca involved in three human deaths.
Cowperthwaite uses shocking footage of captive orcas and interviews with ex-trainers to illustrate the trauma inflicted on whales like Tilikum and to explain how that trauma triggers violent behavior. Of all the documentaries in this article, Blackfish has perhaps had the most impact. As a direct result of the falling ticket sales and public pressure triggered by the film, SeaWorld has ceased its captive orca breeding program – making this the last generation of SeaWorld orcas.
WATCH: On Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, or for free at https://www.area-documental.com/player.php?titulo=Blackfish.
5. A Plastic Ocean (2016)
The film begins when journalist Craig Leeson, searching for the elusive blue whale, discovers plastic waste in what should be pristine ocean. In this adventure documentary, Craig teams up with free diver Tanya Streeter and an international team of scientists and researchers, and they travel to twenty locations around the world over the next four years to explore the fragile state of our oceans, uncover alarming truths about plastic pollution, and reveal working solutions that can be put into immediate effect.
WATCH: On Netflix or at http://www.documentarymania.com/player.php?title=A%20Plastic%20Ocean.
6. Racing Extinction (2015)
In Racing Extinction, a team of artists and activists exposes the hidden world of extinction with never-before-seen images that will change the way we see the planet. Two worlds drive extinction across the globe, potentially resulting in the loss of half of all species. The international wildlife trade creates bogus markets at the expense of creatures that have survived on this planet for millions of years. And the other surrounds us, hiding in plain sight — a world that the oil and gas companies don’t want the rest of us to see. Using covert tactics and state-of-the-art technology, the Racing Extinction team exposes these two worlds in an inspiring affirmation to preserve life as we know it. (From the Academy Award® Winning Filmmakers of “The Cove”)
WATCH: On Amazon Prime or for free at https://www.documentarymania.com/player.php?title=Racing%20Extinction.
7. End of the Line (2009)
Directed by Rupert Murray and based on the book by Charles Clover, End of the Line was released in 2009. The documentary focuses on the effect of overfishing, and on the way in which human greed has depleted the world’s fish stocks. Filmed over the course of two years, the documentary features footage from all over the world. It focuses especially on the imminent extinction of the bluefin tuna, using the decimation of Newfoundland’s cod population as a cautionary tale.
End of the Line uses examples like these to illustrate the repercussions of overfishing, both for the oceans and for humans, many of whom will surely starve if seafood becomes unavailable. In addition to raising awareness of these looming disasters, the film also offers solutions. It serves as a call to action for consumers, encouraging them to choose sustainably sourced seafood and to put pressure on governments to implement tougher fishing laws.
WATCH: On Amazon Prime or for free at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IP0aS_o7Y4U.