Graphic by Billy Ferguson

A Sea Change

A harsh look at what’s happening to our seas

BY JAMES STEMPLE

 

A sea change is defined, according to Shakespeare’s “The Tempest,” as a change brought about by the sea. It’s an idiom often used to signify a notable transformation, and it’s evident in the 2009 film “A Sea Change,” directed by Barbara Ettinger, that notable change is occurring in our seas.

 

An organization called Roosevelt @ Mason was in charge of screening the film at Mason at the JC Gold room April 11 at 7 p.m. Roosevelt @ Mason is one branch of a larger organization called the Roosevelt Institute, and according to their website Roosevelt @ Mason is Mason’s largest and most active non-partisan student policy organization, covering issues from sexual assault policies to rethinking the War on Drugs. Now, by showing “A Sea Change,” the organization hopes to inform the students of Mason about ocean acidification.

 

The film revolves around a former educator, Sven Huseby, who — after reading about increasing CO2 levels in our oceans — decides to investigate further. Huseby serves as the vessel between the audience and the experts that are interviewed throughout the film.

 

The cameras follow Huseby around the globe as he talks to the leading experts — at the time, the film is a bit dated — on ocean acidification, which is called the “flip side of global warming” in the film.

 

Ocean acidification is a phenomenon that occurs when too much CO2 is released into our atmosphere and then absorbed by our oceans, increasing their acidity and changing life not only for the organisms that live there but for everyone else on the planet.

 

The film features lots of beautiful scenery, ranging from sheer cliffs in Norway to Huseby’s home in California. The film heavily features his grandson Elias; the film is structured as a letter to him. The film serves not only as a link between grandfather and grandson but as a message to future generations.

 

The film causes viewers to think about how they are contributing to sea change. Guilt aside, it’s still a scary thought that we, the human race, are making our oceans more and more acidic. The information presented in the film is almost a decade old, so when Huseby interviews experts who spout information and data with intentions to shock, one thought will stick in your head: it’s probably gotten a lot worse.

 

“A Sea Change” has received numerous awards since its debut in 2009. It explores not only the acidification of the ocean but also alternative ways to power our world — including a plan for hundreds of windmills to be built off the coast of Norway — as well as the consequences of acidification for the animals that live in the ocean.

 

And though the film was released almost a decade ago, the support for not only our oceans but our environment in general has increased exponentially. Activism has played a role in educating the public; there are even marches in D.C., like March for Science and the People’s Climate March happening at the end of this month.

 

“A Sea Change” accomplishes what it sets out to do: cause you to think about the implications of burning fossil fuels and how we can go about changing our ways.