The Next 10,000 Years . . . Now or Never. Time to Race Faster Than Copepods
by Barbara McVeigh
Eight years ago as I came face to face to our current reality of ocean acidification and climate change, I chose to make a decision that sparked chaos in my personal life but cultivated a calm in my moral fiber. As a mother I began to deeply understand my children were threatened with years of environmental catastrophe with climate change, ocean acidification and more. As a caring parent I wanted to look at my children in the eyes to say “Kids, I did everything I possibly could do to ensure you have a safe, healthy future,” understanding inconveniences today could drive hope for their future personal and environmental health and safety.
Since that time, my life has been on financial edge while I barely support myself and my kids while advocating for better government policy with writing, education and film making to scream that our future is in our hands right now. And I am ready for that collective shift form idle inaction into fast forward action, reorganizing ourselves to do what is right. Though my own personal losses, which were mostly material based, led to short term inconveniences, I have what I need and am satisfied with that. I, for one,I can look at my children straight in the eyes and say, “Kids I did everything to ensure you have a healthy, safe future.” And still yet there are those who have sacrificed even more to shift our consciousness who inspire me to keep going and to never stop.
Dr. Sylvia Earle at 84 years old has been one who has been fighting for us during her entire adult years. As an oceanographer, she has personally witnessed the growing crisis our oceans face with pollution, acidification, coral reef collapse and more. As we abuse and exploit our oceans today, we are literally killing ourselves, given up to 70% of our oxygen comes from the plant plankton that lives in the ocean. Dr. Sylvia Earle claims that the next ten years will define the next 10,000 years.
During my own lifestyle shift, I had the incredibly honor to make a film, my first, about the ocean – Racing with Copepods. The project began as a small film for a nonprofit sailing community to showcase our children standing up for the ocean and to reveal the beauty that sailing provides, a visceral connection to wind and water which produces a feeling of freedom and responsibility. As a producer, I believed if the viewer could see the impact our children are facing environmentally, can we, as adults, be inspired by them and do what’s right for the next generation? To our surprise, as we got rolling with the filming, big names got involved in the project, including the Romberg Tiburon Center of San Francisco State University and ultimately Dr. Sylvia Earle who gave us a generous interview. The project went international, and we were driven by the urgency of the crisis, recognizing we were carrying the message by Dr. Sylvia Earle, that of our very oceans, and we needed to honor that message,
On December 17, Dr. Sylvia Earle, along with other ocean advocates will hold an international Webinar The Next Ten Years: Most Important of the Next 10,000 Years, driven by her nonprofit Mission Blue, Sylvia Earle Alliance. Other featured speakers include the Founding Director of Tree Foundation, Youth Ocean Conservation Summit and Oceans Need Everyone. Now is the time for those who care about climate change, ocean acidification and even the air that we breathe, come together to push for the biggest shift humanity has ever witnessed.
As a Mission Blue states, marks the start of the UN’s Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development. 2030 is the target date set by IUCN, Mission Blue, and hundreds of other organizations to achieve protection for 30% of the ocean as Marine Protected Areas.
What will it take to get there? In the webinar, the 4 panelists will be discussing the following questions: How can we balance our needs as a species with the needs of other life on the planet? How can we “make peace with nature”? What are the big, bold changes needed so we can go from a time of decline to a time of resurgent health throughout the ecosystems on the planet?
My film Racing with Copepods was created as a calling with Dr. Sylvia Earle who says in the film “We must rewire our connection to nature.” Copepods, animal plankton in our oceans are the fastest animal in the world, some scientists have claimed. We must race together faster than copepods to create a better and more hopeful world for our children so we can look at our children straight in the eye and say, “Kids, we did everything possible to ensure you have a safe, healthy future. And we won.” Time to Race Faster Than Copepods.
About author Barbara McVeigh is an educator, writer and filmmaker. Her new award winning film The Man Behind The White Guitar, about the life and music of Brazilian Guitarist José Pires de Almeida Neto, launched internationally November 16 with the Le Font Film Society. It’s a “healing film,” as described by human rights journalist Mischa Geracoulis. Proceeds are donated to undeserved youth bound for college.
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