Time to act

Australian Geographic - - From the Editor-in-chief - Fol­low me on Twit­ter at: twit­ter.com/chris­sigoldrick

THE OCEANS ARE a hot topic right now. And that’s not just be­cause the Aussie sum­mer hol­i­days are around the cor­ner. Some ex­perts are pre­dict­ing an en­vi­ron­men­tal catas­tro­phe the likes of which we have never seen be­fore as cli­mate change in­creases ocean acid­i­fi­ca­tion and tem­per­a­tures, plas­tic in­fil­trates ev­ery link in food chains un­der and above the wa­ter, and un­scrupu­lous fish­ing prac­tices drive ma­rine species to the brink of ex­tinc­tion.

It’s a grim pic­ture that’s hard to rec­on­cile with the stun­ning coastal vis­tas we take for granted as we head to the coast dur­ing the next few months. In this year’s Aus­tralian Ge­o­graphic So­ci­ety awards, we recog­nise the con­tri­bu­tions of a num­ber of or­di­nary Aus­tralians do­ing ex­tra­or­di­nary things to high­light the plight of our oceans. They range from sci­en­tists ded­i­cated to fur­ther­ing our knowl­edge of the big­gest denizens of our seas, the whales, to a young woman who’s vowed to change per­cep­tions of – and save – our most feared ocean preda­tors, the sharks, to coura­geous ad­ven­tur­ers who have used their epic achieve­ments to draw at­ten­tion to the state of the wa­ters through which they jour­neyed.

Each of us who cares about the kind of planet we’ll leave to our de­scen­dants is also called upon to act. It’s not al­ways easy to know where to be­gin, but you could start by check­ing out the bril­liant Aussie doc­u­men­tary Blue, screen­ing in cinemas now. For lo­ca­tions where you can view this im­por­tant film, go to bluethe­film.org/screen­ings

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