The ocean-advocacy group Shifting Baselines aims to jazz up conservation by enlisting Hollywood, and their new crop of video shorts looks promising.
He does a pretty good job of not sounding like he’s reading (“I woke up this morning bummed out…”) and he nails the phenomenon the group founded itself to confront: the way we gradually become satisfied with environmental conditions that would have horrified our predecessors.
Marine biologist/filmmaker Randy Olson takes over and offers some vivid examples, many drawn from SoCal water-quality problems, which are deeply gnarly. In San Diego, if you want to surf for your high school, you have to get an annual hepatitis A shot. One city bragged about its water quality, saying 90 percent of its beaches were clean enough for swimming last summer. (Is there some reason why that target shouldn’t be 100 percent?)
Other PSAs include Jack Black conducting a symphony of dissonance and a pretty funny bit with one of the Reno 911 guys.There’s a short documentary where inner-city black San Diegans demonstrate that ocean issues really don’t register on their political agenda. (The site notes that you could get similar levels of cluelessness nearly anywhere outside of a marine science department.) Once again, in a field currently directed at old, educated white males, science and conservation needs to break some new ground.
The Groundlings comedy troupe seem to have found one approach, working a gratuitous Cher joke into a funny skit about the catch of the day at an upscale restaurant. Check’em out.