Planet Ocean

Overview

  • Planet Ocean is a documentary about the relationship between human kind and the ocean. In a more a global perspective, it is about human kind and the planet we're living in.
  • This documentary does not focus on specific ecosystems or pockets of life, but rather the entire ocean as an ecosystem.
  • The first half of the film guides us through various phenomenons that occur in the ocean, such as the ocean food chain.
  • The purpose of these scenes is to not demonstrate the function of the food chain, but rather to illustrate the way in which all life is intrinsically interconnected. What happens to the ocean happens to ourselves.

Coral Reefs

One of the main issues brought up in this documentary is the death of coral reefs. Coral reefs are home to millions of different marine organisms, and the coral reefs have been their home for centuries. If the coral reefs die out, then various species (such as Clownfish) will go extinct due to habitat depletion.

Death of Coral Reefs

  • Global warming is causing our ocean to overheat. The melting of our polar ice caps is revealing open ocean; the waters absorb the solar heat that the ice used to reflect back. The ocean itself is accelerating the warming, causing a change in temperature and the death of coral reefs.

Various issues explored within this documentary

  • Endangerment: Due to mass over-fishing, various species of fish once abundant are beginning to die out. For example, the number one fish species (to catch) is tuna, and we are gradually putting too much pressure onto their population which will lead to their eventual extinction. The Red Tuna has already become extinct due to our inhumane practices.
  • Pollution: The ocean is becoming polluted with our toxic trash. Animals mistake these objects for food, they eat them, and then die. Also, just think about it; we throw are trash into the ocean, various fish eat our toxic plastic, and who eats those fish? We do. We are essentially killing ourselves.
  • Oil Spills: This is a part of pollution. Oil spills have a devastating effect on the marine environment; birds coated in oil can't maintain their body temperature or fly and other animals ingest the oil, which is poisonous.
Animals affected by oil spills
We can no longer see the beauty of life, except for what it can do for our species... Everything around us suffers from our existence.

This documentary plays to the fact that humanity is selfish and does not care about the well-being of other other species. We continuously destroy their environment without any remorse just for money or pleasure.

Other Significant Issues

There are various other issues that endanger the ocean and the marine organisms within it that are not discussed in the documentary.

Sonar

Various types of technology, such as submarines or buoys released by the US Navy use sonar to track enemy submarines or other objects that are in the ocean. Although useful for humans, whales and dolphins can also hear the sonar. Due to hearing these high-pitched sounds constantly, whales become stressed, their eyes begin to bleed as they try to escape the noise, they become temporarily deaf, and finally they beach themselves (commit suicide) as a last resort.

Whale Beachings
  • Slocum, John. "Does Military Sonar Kill Marine Wildlife?" Scientific American, Nature America, www.scientificamerican.com/article/does-military-sonar-kill/. Accessed 6 Mar. 2017.

Dolphin Hunting

Culture plays a big role when it comes to the ocean and the life within it. For example, every year in Japan people capture and slaughter mass amounts of dolphins as an annual ritual. One most the most famous dolphin hunts is the Taiji Dolphin Hunt, where up to 1,500 dolphins die annually.

  • "Japan's Dolphin Hunts." Australia for Dolphins, Incredo Solutions, www.afd.org.au/japan-dolphin-hunts. Accessed 6 Mar. 2017.

Shark Finning

Many Asian cultures capture sharks, cut off their fins, and then release them back into the ocean - just because of the sacred dish "Shark-fin Soup". When the finned sharks are released (discarded) back into the ocean, they can no longer swim so their body sinks. Eventually, they die at the bottom of the ocean after a long period of starvation or they get eaten by predators.

Shark Fins are used to make Shark-fin Soup
  • Fairclough, Caty. "Shark Finning: Sharks Turned Prey." Ocean Portal, ocean.si.edu/ocean-news/shark-finning-sharks-turned-prey. Accessed 6 Mar. 2017.

Ocean Dead Zones

Dead zones are areas of large bodies of water that do not have enough oxygen to support marine life. Dead zones are created by an excess of chemical nutrients of the water, which causes excess algae to bloom that deplete underwater oxygen levels. Dead zones are abundant near places where high industrial and agricultural activity spill nutrients into the water and compromise its quality. The most infamous dead zone is in the Gulf of Mexico, and it is about the size of New Jersey.

  • "What is a dead zone?" NOAA's National Ocean Service, 1 Aug. 2014, oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/deadzone.html. Accessed 6 Mar. 2017.

My Thoughts

I think it's very ironic that we are currently desperately looking for life on other planets while we destroy everything we have on this world. What are we going to do when we find life on other planets, destroy their environments and pollute their waters too? Ultimately, we as a species are close to making ourselves extinct by killing/poisoning everything that is vital to our survival.

Solutions

Sources

  • Fairclough, Caty. "Shark Finning: Sharks Turned Prey." Ocean Portal, ocean.si.edu/ocean-news/shark-finning-sharks-turned-prey. Accessed 6 Mar. 2017.
  • "Japan's Dolphin Hunts." Australia for Dolphins, Incredo Solutions, www.afd.org.au/japan-dolphin-hunts. Accessed 6 Mar. 2017.
  • Planet Ocean. Directed by Yan Arthus-Bertrand and Michael Pitiot, 2012.
  • Slocum, John. "Does Military Sonar Kill Marine Wildlife?" Scientific American, Nature America, www.scientificamerican.com/article/does-military-sonar-kill/. Accessed 6 Mar. 2017.
  • "What is a dead zone?" NOAA's National Ocean Service, 1 Aug. 2014, oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/deadzone.html. Accessed 6 Mar. 2017.
Created By
Ryan Harnanan
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Credits:

Created with images by lpittman - "divers underwater ocean" • j981511225 - "marine harbour underwater world" • NOAA Photo Library - "reef1448" • Pexels - "water corals underwater"

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