Steve's Herpetological Blog

An insight into the life of Steve, his research and the many books he reads


#SteveReviews: Mission Blue

Mission Blue is a documentary film that is also a partial biopic (that reminded me slightly of Jane) which follows the renowned oceanographer Sylvia Earle. I’d only previously heard her name in passing but after watching Mission Blue, I wish I had spent more time looking into her achievements and her vision. To me she is someone who who should valued more by society, someone who has dedicated their entire working life to study and understand the life of the oceans. As I have said before on this blog, it is often ‘out of sight, out of mind’. Even I am guilty of neglecting our oceans and I grew up not far from the mouth of the River Thames were it enters the North Sea.

Sylvia Earle’s career is one that has been paved with success as much as it has hurdles. As a woman trying to get involved with marine science in the 60s, I can imagine she was hardly taken seriously. Her relationships broke down because she dedicated all of her time to understanding and protecting the natural world. That’s a tough one but one I can relate to, yet not to the extent Earle has undertaken. To call her any less than inspiring and motivational would be criminal. The travels undertaken as part of Mission Blue range from Chesapeake Bay to the Great Barrier Reef with Earle visiting a number of locations she previously had. As you can imagine she is somewhat dismayed by the sheer decimation of these paradises she remembers so vividly, caused by pollution and overfishing. Many people would give up but Earle sees this a motivation to keep on fighting, harder than ever before.

As Earle points out, the planet’s oceans are in dire shape and they have only been decreasing in quality since she began studying them almost 60 years ago. This could have dire consequences for life on Earth, including our own species. Earle gained her notoriety for deep-sea exploration and for participation in several high-profile projects. She battled sexism on all fronts to go on to do what she loved and to me, there is no greater inspiration than that. There are some gory scenes such as bleached reefs and the harvesting of sharks but as the film is designed for a general audience it is easy to follow, even if the director likes to include himself wherever possible.

With a high production value and an upbeat message, if you’re feeling down and demoralised due to the current pandemic, I suggest you watch Mission Blue as it is the breath of fresh air we all need.

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