Monday, January 5, 2015

Mission Blue Review

When it comes to what I eat, I am not ignorant of the facts, nor do I choose ignorance to avoid thinking of what I consume. I know that conditions are often times not ideal for the animals that unfortunately had to die to find their way to my plate, and I am honestly not okay with that. So why do I choose to continue with the same eating habits rather than deviate from them to make a moral or ethical point?

Simple. They taste great.

I don't take it as an insult if anyone finds this willingness to enjoy something that I know may be wrong to be selfish. I am well aware that I can put my own satisfaction in front of the greater good at times and this fact doesn't result in me losing even a second of sleep at night. Honestly, if I made every single decision in accordance to some guided path of moral or ethical enlightenment, if I devoted my existence to ensuring the lives of others went swimmingly while disregarding my own, I would be far more troubled about my choices. 

The exception to this, however, is the state of our planet. Not that I do everything I should to fix the problem, but I do try to do the little things. This is because the idea of a dying world left for not only my child, but her children as well and so on, is enough to sometimes keep me up at night. The new Netflix original documentary Mission Blue focuses mainly on one woman, Sylvia Earle, as it details her life and work as an oceanographer, marine biologist and environmentalist, and it clearly showcases the devastating effects humanity is having on our oceans. Learning about Earle herself is interesting enough and worthy of a recommendation, but the power of this film is the evidence presented of the toll we are taking on our planet and the hope that a new generation of people will be willing to continue the fight to clean up our oceans, valuing preservation over corporate interests.

One aspect of this film I greatly appreciated was it avoided being judgmental or heavy handed in its narrative. As a huge fan of the wonderful flavors of seafood, I never felt as if I was being admonished for eating such things, when instead I was in agreement with the larger point that those catching these creatures are doing so when they are far too young, and thus they have been unable to breed before becoming a meal. It's unnatural to be removing a species from their habitat before they have had the opportunity to create new life, and thus a well known item on a restaurant menu like bluefin tuna is quickly disappearing completely. 

This brings me back to the way I started off, regarding my selfish love for food regardless of the consequences. Will I keep eating seafood? I'm sure I will, but at the very least I can say that Mission Blue has made me feel uneasy about it. A dying ocean means a dying Earth, and when the film chooses to focus on such things it is handled effectively and with meaning. Knowing now just how critical things have gotten, that the ocean isn't this unstoppable, unflinching force that its vastness portrays it to be, does make me hesitate before I place my next order. This tells me that at least in one very important way, the film did its job.



  1. I have an agreement with my wife that I will eat meat if she cooks it. Otherwise, I eat vegetarian (yes that does include fish) when I am on my own (typically breakfast and lunch). The main reason I do this is environmental. Essentially, cows and other livestock fart and poop a lot, producing methane gas which is very harmful global warming gas. Just doing this is almost like giving up my car. Other people like to try out Meatless Monday.

    While at moments I want to go live in a log cabin out in the woods, it is not feasible. But doing things like eating vegetarian make me have a little more hope for the world.

  2. Interesting arrangement, and I appreciate the reasons you have for choosing to mostly eat vegetarian. As you read in the review, I am not in denial over my reasons for continuing to eat meat and fish, I am too damn selfish to give them up.

    Watching films like this though, they make me take a second to think about my decisions, which I appreciate greatly. Eventually something will have to change and I will gladly do what is necessary, so for now even the slightest push in the right direction is welcome.