It’s been a long trip. Like our filmmaker, Sue, wrote so appropriately on one occasion, it’s been a year of “keel and sail”. But our film is coming to port. Just a few more touches, some sweetening of the color and sound, review of credits and cues, and we’ll be able to start screening and get discussions going about the issues evoked in MOM and that are so crucial to us.
I’m writing as Associate Producer for the film, as well as half of the two-person outreach team. I’ve been lucky enough to be on board with this project from its inception, just when Sue was dreamily wondering whether her old friend the mermaid, who suddenly seemed to be appearing to her everywhere, needed to be the protagonist in her next film and how. More importantly, Sue was feeling the urgency of sharing all that she has been learning as Chairwoman of the Ocean Council at Oceana.
Working on the film in this past year has involved important changes in my life. Not only have I learned magical and lovely anecdotes about the image of the mermaid through history, in her various iterations around the world, I have also learned more about our seas. Also, as I trawled through footage online, on YouTube and Vimeo and Google and other video sites, searching for just the right images and sequences and songs to weave into the film, I encountered streams and streams of often very disturbing information–about sharkfinning, plastic pollution, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, overfishing and other of the ills affecting the ocean. Then, driven both by curiosity to learn more and the professional call to do so in order to better speak about the subject of MOM, I began to read in more detail about all of these issues.
This is where I decided to make more significant changes in my life and in my family’s life. I have become more adamant about always carrying cloth bags with me everywhere so that when I shop, whether it be for clothes or groceries, I’m not given a plastic bag. I have become a more conscious shopper, trying to avoid single-use plastics where possible, which is certainly a tough one. It’s hard to avoid shampoo containers, but I can buy bars of soap rather than large plastic bottles of shower gel. No more plastic water bottles. Water from the tap is perfectly good. And I’ve sadly decided to ask my family that we stop buying canned tuna and cut back to a minimum in fish consumption, making sure that what we do eat is not endangered.
I still have to research the sources of some of the local fish, what’s farmed, what’s not, and how sustainable they are. But I’m learning. And so are my children. The biggest sacrifice has been, of course, sushi. But maybe the demand has just become much too much. Someone has to give it up. I’ll start with me. I want to be able to contribute to allowing the ocean time to rest. I want to ensure that there continue to be creatures there for a diverse habitat, and for my kids and their own to see the wonders of underwater life in all its shapes and colors.
Of course, I’m not writing the above to get up on a soapbox or even to request that others follow this route. But I do feel compelled to share the impact that this film has had on me, from the inside, as I participated in its development, and as I learned more about its subject. I came to the project as someone already convinced of the need to make conscious daily decisions that would help my environment. This experience, the footage I have seen, the information I have gathered, have simply reinforced these ideas and helped me to better transmit my understanding on to my daughters. And, hopefully, to others.