From space, our planet appears as a tiny blue dot in the vastness of space. Blue, because 99% of all living space on Earth occurs in the Ocean. But the seas are under threat. The industrialization that has occurred in the oceans over the last century mirrors the events that triggered mass extinctions on land.
As we learn of the ecological crimes occurring worldwide, we also uncover the shocking truths happening on our own shorelines.
Over the last three decades, coral cover on the Great Barrier Reef has halved. More than a third of fish stocks in our waters are now over exploited or have status “unknown”. And this year alone, 50 million plastic bags will enter the litter stream from Australia, making our country the second largest waste producer, per capita.
Featuring passionate advocates for ocean preservation, BLUE will be a provocative mix of scientific essay, investigative journalism and arresting imagery. Tackling themes of habitat destruction, species loss and pollution, BLUE takes us into the ocean realm where we witness ocean change first hand.
Through Valerie Taylor and Madison Stewart, we look at the state of the shark and how commercial fisheries and shark finning on the Great Barrier Reef impact their survival. Jake Parker takes us to the frontline of the drumlines off our beaches, to witness the cost not only to sharks but other creatures.
Conservationist Tim Silverwood and biologist Jennifer Lavers reveal that despite Australia’s relative isolation, plastic in our oceans is having a major impact on marine life. On Lord Howe Island, plastic fills the bellies of 90% of sea birds. Australia is the second largest waste producer in the world, yet we also have to deal with castaway rubbish travelling on the South Pacific Gyre.
Our addiction to plastics also drives petrochemical industries, which expand into our seas and compound the problem. Oil and gas exploration into areas not yet declared marine parks threaten critical habitats, as Dave Riggs shows us. He’s fighting for the protection of Bremer Canyon off Esperance. Home to our largest killer whale population and the biggest white sharks on record, Bremer is about to have its fate decided. Will the ecological win over the economic?
Likewise, our greatest natural treasure - the Great Barrier Reef - tenuously holds on to its status as a place of World Heritage. Yet it is poised for port expansion and a doubling of shipping to facilitate the largest coalmine project in Australia. If mining in the Galilee Basin goes ahead, will it sound the death knell for this fragile environment?
BLUE comes at a time when we are making critical decisions, which will decide the legacy we leave for generations to come. Australia has the opportunity to be seen as a marine conservation leader. We have the greatest tropical reefs and potentially the biggest network of marine sanctuaries on the Planet. 90% of the creatures here occur nowhere else in the world.
How does the project meet the aims of a philanthropic foundation?
BLUE comes at a time when it is crucially important for all of us to consider our impact on the oceans and the legacy we want to leave for generations to come. We want the audience to reflect on the impact we can have as individuals. And if each of us could do something to stop the decline of our ocean’s health, what would we do?
The Ocean affects all of us, without it we cannot survive. BLUE the film, aims to ignite public awareness about the key issues facing our oceans today; unsustainable fishing practices, marine pollution, destructive mining and gas development, the critical need for marine parks and protection of keystone species and habitats.
We are at a critical tipping point in ocean conservation. We need to act now. We need to galvanise social and political change over the way we think about the ocean. We need to stop thinking about the ocean as a commodity and to start thinking of it as a life force that needs protection.
This project is suitable for philanthropic support because we need to rally as a united front. To engage the Australian public from coast to coast with education and action and to unite the many philanthropic organisations, foundations, NFP's, Government agencies all working to make a positive change in this Oceans space. We want to empower individuals and organisations that each of us can make positive actions that could change the course of the future of our ocean.
We look forward to partnering with philanthropists to make a real and very positive impact in this area.
"Our past, our present, and whatever remains of our future, absolutely depend on what we do now."
— Sylvia Earle, Oceanographer
What outcomes do you hope to achieve by making this film and how will you measure its impact?
Aims & Objectives
BLUE the film aims to ignite public awareness about the key issues facing our oceans today; unsustainable fishing practices, marine pollution, destructive mining and gas development, the critical need for marine parks and protection of keystone species an habitats.
The impact campaign aims to dive deeper into these issues by bringing together an impressive range of partners; NGO's, community groups, educators, decision makers and individuals.
The Impact Campaign will grow community awareness of the effect we have as individuals on the marine environment and see behaviour change through education, information, solutions and positive messaging.
Operating at a grass roots level, the campaign will equip communities and the individuals within them, with the information and the incentive, to make decisions and to take actions that will empower them, inspiring the environmental champion in all of us.
Ultimately our campaign aims to bring about structural change; lobbying for Governments, Corporate's and policy makers to Act Now, and make legislative and policy change that will safe-guard our oceans now and into the future.
WHAT WE AIM TO
•Heighten awareness and encourage Australians to value our marine wilderness whilst becoming active in its protection
• Encourage the public to replace disposable living with re-useable living
• Educate consumers on sustainable seafood
• Put pressure on remaining states to change legislation to ban plastic bags nationally
• Campaign for 10 cent refund on bottles and cans to reduce the litter Cleanup – three pieces pick up every time you go to the beach (Take3)
• To grow community awareness of the impact we have as individuals on the marine environment
• To pressure Government on the unsustainable development of infrastructure projects (such as port expansion) in sensitive marine areas (such as the Great Barrier Reef)
• To advocate for Federal and State Government support of the legislation that supports Marine Reserves
What is your education and outreach strategy?
The development of an extensive education campaign that provides Problems and Solutions based learning. Our goal is to reach over 700, 000 school children and engage them in inspired learning, actions, and solutions projects.
Development of a bespoke website as a "go to" resource for ocean conservation; with information, solutions, actions, to inspire individuals to get involved and take action; provide information and suggestions, for actions, large and small. To provide an Ocean Network of organisations committed to tackling the issues raised in the film. To provide Toolkits - and advocacy materials will be developed that can be downloaded from the website.
Host a Screening Outreach:
Download the film from the website, making community screenings possible no matter what the size of the community; schools, councils, community groups.
Partner Screening Events:
Through the Partner Screening events, we recognise the importance of building strong coalitions and partnerships. These events will be designed to build the capacity, profile and community of the partner organisations. Bringing them together and positioning them with high profile political decision makers and influential people to raise the stakes, to put marine issues on the political agenda.
Strategic Community Screening Events:
We recognise there are communities where we could have significant outcomes for legislative and policy decisions relating to the protection of our ocean. The campaign will seek out these communities and host a screening event with Q&A sessions to build public awareness and keep the conversation squarely on the agenda. The campaign also seeks to charter communities around the country who are interested in working towards policy and legislative change in their towns.
Social Media Campaign:
The campaign seeks to heighten awareness and encourage Australians to value our marine wilderness whilst becoming active in its protection. Through the swapping of stories, sharing of images, the social media campaign aims to connect communities and individuals with the campaign.
Ocean Ambassadors outreach:
We will profile young people who are creating positive change for the Australian environment. By telling their story, we will be directing people to practical opportunities where they can participate in conservation related activities. We want to build on the idea that every Australian has a shared responsibility to protect our ocean environment.
Partnerships with museums - potential for exhibition / installation, work shops, school holiday programs, film screenings. Partnership with corporate brands, eg non-microbead brands, Surf labels, clothing lines etc. sharing publicity/marketing opportunities.