Student film highlights plight of the oceans

A group of students from Ridgeway School in Plymouth have made their concerns about the state of the world’s oceans clear through a hard hitting film. ‘The Other CO2 Problem’ is a seven and a half minute animation starring characters from King Poseidon’s Kingdom beneath the sea and laments the fact that Doctorpus, Britney Star, Michelle Mussel, Derek the Diatom and other subsea creatures are suffering as the ocean becomes more acidic as a result of human activities; the film ends with Poseidon demanding that we terrestrials sort the problem out and stop pumping more and more CO2 into the atmosphere to be absorbed by the sea, with potentially disastrous consequences.

The film has been previewed at two prestigious scientific meetings, first in Copenhagen where it was seen by more than a hundred international scientists and policy makers attending the International Congress on Climate Change earlier this month.

Dr John Baxter a scientist working with Scottish Natural Heritage was there and was clearly impressed: “This was a clear, creative and inspiring message from the younger generation to the politicians who will shortly negotiate the future of our planet, the future planet that this younger generation will inherit from us.”

Its second showing was at a meeting of the Royal Institution in London as part of a presentation by Dr Carol Turley, a research scientist from PML, on the little appreciated spectre that is ocean acidification.

Dr Turley a leading authority on ocean acidification, had approached the school to create the film after seeing a previous animation on the related subject of Climate Change, for which the students had won a prize in competition organised by ‘EUROCEANS’, an EU marine science initiative. Whilst most people are now aware of global warming the idea that the oceans are becoming more acidic is largely unknown outside of the scientific community. Carol Turley wants to redress the balance and felt that the best people to make the point are the generation who will have to ‘pick up the pieces.’

Carol takes every opportunity to raise the debate amongst those who make decisions and sees this film as an important weapon in the battle to bring it to a wider audience: “The world is waking up to the seriousness of ocean acidification and how it could affect our future oceans if we continue to emit CO2, through burning fossil fuels, at the rate we’re doing at the moment; the future looks bleak for the oceans unless we act now. The students’ film makes that point very clearly in an entertaining way using language we can all understand, they have done a great job. I’ve shown it twice to influential audiences and on both occasions it has gone down really well. I’ll take this film, ‘The Other CO2 Problem’, to the very top if I get the chance”.

Additional information

The film was made by the students of Ridgeway School, Plymouth with technical help from local filmmakers Sundog Media. The students planned the film after interviewing Plymouth Marine Laboratory scientists Dr Carol Turley and Helen Findlay. Further guidance and inspiration was gained during a visit to the National Marine Aquarium, Plymouth. Funding for making the film came from the European Project on Ocean Acidification (EPOCA).

The film can be viewed at:

PML News, 23 March 2009. Article.

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