I have a life-long fascination with the ocean. I honestly can’t tell you why. I didn’t grow up near one, and have never spent much time near one either. I can remember the handful of times when I’ve stood on the Atlantic’s shores. And I think that the trip-that-shall-not-be-named brought me to the Pacific’s shores for the first and last time when I was eighteen months old. Marine ecosystems though continue to enthrall me. Its animals even more so. I can watch sea otters by the hour at zoos, marvel at the colors of tropical fish and literally remain spellbound in the grace of dolphins when I get a chance to see them at an aquarium.
The library’s summer reading and film challenge has started for this year and I am sadly lagging in getting a move on my list. So tonight I sat down to watch Disneynature’s Oceans for the science category. Disneynature films usually come to Netflix streaming just in time for its latest release and Oceans was no different, streaming a little before African Cats came into theaters. I am usually a year behind, living in a place that doesn’t get Disneynature films into the local theaters. I have to say I liked Oceans even better than its first outing, Earth. Oceans had less peril to it and more of the story of why we need the oceans and its creatures. Plus, the ocean just has fun creatures to watch: dolphins, sea otters, leopard seals, humpback whales and really awesome fish I didn’t even know existed like the Stone Fish or the sheep-domed something or other that is one of the oldest species alive on Earth today. So cool!
I had to laugh at one point though as I tried not to cry over an activity that made me cry over 20 years ago when I first saw it. They showed, what I am coming to think must be an obligatory sequence in ocean-based documentaries, orcas feasting on baby sea lions on the South African coast. People, I want it on the record that I DID NOT cry. I feel I am making progress. It is one thing to understand the whole Circle of Life thing, quite another to watch it. I do have to give props to the orcas, their way of hunting is pretty awesome to see.
The one thing that I always have after watching a good nature documentary though is guilt. Disneynature takes it pretty light on the whole humans affecting the planet aspect of things (though it is definitely touched on more in Oceans than it was in Earth), and still I have guilt that I am a human and have at some point in my life polluted the ocean. It is, sadly, inevitable that I have done so in some way, shape or form. I like to think I am aware, more so than a lot of people, that how I live even miles away from the oceans effects them in some way. I blame my first research report back in 8th grade for that (my topic was “Why ocean pollution should be addressed on a national and international level” – I was such a nerd…still am….). While we have put so much effort into exploring the skies and stars above us, I feel that the oceans often get the short end of the stick which is just wrong when you think about it. Our continued survival as a species depends on the oceans. One thinks we would have a greater respect for it instead of seeing it as a convenient dumping ground for our trash or as an obstacle in our path of retrieving the almighty Oil. I know I will be seeing the Atlantic in September from the deck of a cruise ship (that hopefully is as Green as can be) and I will be sure to show it a bit more respect than last time we met.