by Brandy D. Anderson
“If the oceans die, we die” is one of Sea Shepherd’s frequent mantras and it’s absolutely true. Now more than ever, we need to do everything we can to protect the ocean and our entire planet. Educating ourselves to what’s going on and how we can make a difference is crucial. These three YouTube channels are the best jumping off points to start, or further, your environmental education!
About: “This is the OFFICIAL Sea Shepherd Global YouTube Channel.”
Sea Shepherd is one of the largest ocean conservation organizations around. It’s founded by Paul Watson, who was one of the principle founders of Greenpeace. Sea Shepherd gained household status when the organization teamed up with Animal Planet to make Whale Wars, the reality show which follows the exploits of the organization as they fight to keep Japanese whalers from illegally slaughtering whales. Although that’s what they’re most widely known for, Sea Shepherd also has many other projects, including their unending crusade to stop the commercial seal “hunt” that takes place every spring in Eastern Canada.
The channel’s introduction video begins with oceanic footage and a voice over by Watson: “The land is small, ya know, it’s thirty percent of this whole planet, but really, the planet is the ocean.” Another voice continues, “The ocean provides us with everything we need to survive: it produces oxygen, it produces food, it regulates climate and temperature.” Watson then talks about the trouble with the ocean being a “lawless area”, and the need for more regulations when it comes to environmental protections. He says Sea Shepherd “steps in in accordance with the United Nations World Charter of Nature”. They “get physically involved” in order to make a real difference. “If the oceans die, we die”.
You’ll find a lot of different play lists here. You can choose from “Operation Sola Stella”, “Faeroe Islands Campaigns”, “Protecting Sharks”, “Operation Nemesis”, “Marine Debris”, “Operation Jeedara”, “Operation Albacore”, “Meet the Crew: Operation Zero Tolerance”, “Meet the Crew: Operation Relentless”, “Ocean Warrior”, “Operation Driftnet”, “Operation Grindstop”, “Operation Icefish”, “Cove Guardians”, “Operation Relentless”, and “YouTube Contest Video Applications”. In addition to the videos included in the play lists, there are also a lot of other videos uploaded that aren’t part of any set series. For instance, some non-play list titles include “Pollutoys: Plush Toys to Teach Kids about Plastic Pollution”, “Operation Apex Harmony: Crew Aggressively Approached by DPI Subcontractor”, and “Less Talk, More Action”. They usually upload one to three new videos per week.
About: “Official YouTube Channel For Ric O’Barry’s Dolphin Project Dedicated to the welfare and protection of dolphins worldwide since Earthday 1970. www.DolphinProject.com“
Ric O’Barry is the foremost dolphin champion in the world. He started his career in the 1960s as a dolphin trainer, and famously trained the dolphins in the classic tv show Flipper. It was during that time that he came to the stark realization that dolphins don’t belong in captivity. Not only were they clearly unhappy and suffering in confined spaces, but it was also dangerous for their health. O’Barry made a commitment then to forevermore work on behalf of dolphins and to spread global awareness about the inhumane and cruel conditions of captivity. The Dolphin Project’s website says O’Barry “worked for ten years within the dolphin captivity industry, and has spent the past forty-five [years] working against it”.
Ric O’Barry’s Dolphin Project has a number of highly active social media accounts. You can find them on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr, and YouTube. Although the YouTube channel is still finding its feet, it already has a number of informative videos, and it’s definitely worth subscribing to to see how it continues to grow. One wonderful video is called “Kids Speak Out For Dolphins” and it begins with the powerful Margaret Mead quote: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has”. Then the video cuts to clips of kids championing for dolphins: “Unlike humans, dolphins have no facial muscles and are incapable of changing their expression. In confined tanks, their signals are distorted and create confusion, and they’re forced to swim in endless circles to a stadium full of screaming people. Dolphins are often reliant on sonar to communicate, that’s their primary way of seeing”.
The kids go on to explain, “In the open ocean dolphins travel forty to eighty miles a day. A large percentage of dolphins in captivity die from capture shock, pneumonia, intestinal disease, ulcers, chlorine poison, and other stress related illnesses. Help us get the word out!” The video ends with this chilling question, “If you knew dolphins were literally dying to entertain you, would you still go see them?” Some of the other videos you’ll find here are: “Blood Dolphin$ Dolphin Trade in the Solomon Islands SD”, “Orca at Loro Parque, Tenrife, Spain Panics in Medical Pool”, “Tilikum’s Timeline”, “Wild Dolphin 360 Degrees Virtual Reality Experience”, “Dolphins Don’t Belong in Captivity”, “Dolphin Capture Process”, “Terrified Dolphin Throws Himself at Ric O’Barry’s Feet to Escape Hunters”, “Release Me”, “’My Friend Is’ ‘Mi amigo es’”, and “My Friend Is | Мой друг дельфин ( русские субтитры)”. If you haven’t seen O’Barry’s groundbreaking documentary, The Cove, make sure to check that out, too. You’ll never look at captivity in the same way.
About: “Rob Stewart’s second documentary “Revolution” – The Evolution of Life on Earth and the Revolution to Save it. Revolution is a film about changing the world. The true-life adventure of Rob Stewart, this follow-up to his acclaimed SHARKWATER documentary continues his remarkable journey; one that will take him through 15 countries over four years, and where he’ll discover that it’s not only sharks that are in grave danger — it’s humanity itself. Revolution is Rob Stewart’s eagerly anticipated second documentary film about the exploration of the dangers threatening our planet and the revolution required to save it. Stewart journeys through 15 different countries to explore these dangers, exposing more than just the endangerment of sharks but also the climate, our ecosystem and ultimately, humanity”.
Rob Stewart has been a beacon for shark rights. He taught the world that sharks are our friends, and that we need to protect them, not fear them. Stewart lead the fight to end the barbaric practice of shark finning. He’s done more than anyone else when it comes to teaching the public the true reality of sharks, that they’re not the vicious human predators they’re made out to be – he debunked the killer myth perpetuated by JAWS. His critically acclaimed documentary, Sharkwater, made waves around the world and struck a worldwide dialogue. Revolution was his groundbreaking followup film, and he was in the middle of filming a new documentary, Sharkwater Extinction, when he suddenly died this last February in a tragic diving accident.
While Stewart’s death is a severe pain felt around the conservation world, we can be comforted to know that his family and fellow eco-warriors aren’t letting his message falter. His family has committed to finish Sharkwater Extinction, and you’ll still find new updates on many of his social media accounts (now handled by his family). On YouTube, you can still find a plethora of videos he posted over the last several years. The video introducing the Kickstarter that Stewart ran for Sharkwater Extinction begins with his narrative: “I’m a biologist, activist, and filmmaker, and I want to tell you about the biggest scandal that the oceans have ever seen. One that threatens our survival on the planet, and one that has been hidden by a billion dollar industry until now”.
He goes on to say, “As many as a-hundred-fifty-million sharks are killed every year, and scientists can only account for seventy million of those. There are eighty million sharks a year that are being killed and nobody knows why or where they’re going – but we figured this out, and if we bring this to the public, things will change”. One of the coolest things about Stewart’s channel is the way Stewart’s passion and love for sharks is palpable, you can’t help but catch some of his infectious enthusiasm to change the world whenever you watch one of his videos. There are a lot of them here, too, including: “Fight For Something”, “Rise Again- The Making of Revolution”, “’Revolution‘ Theatrical Trailer”, “Ocean Acidification – Revolution World Issue”, “Overfishing”, “How to Start a Revolution”, “Climate Change”, and “Save the Humans”. There are also a ton of cool interviews from various networks and organizations with Stewart, including ones conducted by Ronald Jumeau, Lester R. Brown, Peter Knight, Paul Loeb, Jon O’Brien, Gillian Caldwell, Dr. Carol Turley, Sister Jayanti, and many more!