“It started out like any other trip home.”
We don’t know the names of the sea turtle family in Greenpeace UK’s short film “Turtle Journey.” What we do know is that it’s impossible not to see ourselves, and our loved ones, in this Aardman Animations story.
The sea turtle family has just finished visiting their relatives and is swimming home in a large clamshell. Dad and Mom are in the front, driving together. The three kids are in the backseat, cheerfully filming their journey with a video camera. Dad notes that outside of a few typical frustrations, like the kids shouting and route closures (big whales resting in the way of the road), everything about the trip was perfectly ordinary.
The trouble begins when the sea turtle family takes the scenic route home. There are warning signs all is not right in the ocean. There’s a vibration underneath the clamshell that Dad writes off as “road work” as a huge drill stabs the ocean floor just out of his eyesight. A massive cloud of ink balloons in the background — too much to belong to any one octopus. Drops of ink mix in with the ocean water, as do large pieces of plastic. The water becomes frenzied. A passing starfish hits Dad in the face.
“Sorry,” the starfish stammers, unable to open its eyes, “I can’t see.”
Eventually, the sea turtle family arrives home. Something is not quite right. It’s much too quiet in their neighborhood.
Still, Dad and Mom are able to write off any impending worries. Mom swims inside to put the kettle on while Dad unpacks the kids and the clamshell.
The next scene is caught through the camera lens. In seconds, the turtle family loses their home — and their mother — to a terrifying bright and unknown force.
Then, we see the turtle family together again. The children are crying. Dad holds Mom’s colorful necklace as he blinks back tears. The screen cuts away to a black screen that reads six out of seven sea turtles are threatened with extinction. We just watched a family of five lose one of their own.
Oceans In Crisis
The world’s oceans are in crisis. This impacts more than the sea turtle species. Their plight, as detailed by Will McCallum, Head of Oceans at Greenpeace, is part of multiple ocean threats.
Marine life, and sea creatures, is disappearing at twice the speed of life on land. Oceans are also facing tremendous pressure, both from mankind and climate change. Continued oil drilling and plastic pollution from human beings further damages the oceans, which are gradually acidifying and warming due to the climate crisis.
There is only one way to save marine life, now and into the future. A third of the world’s oceans, and its incredible wildlife within, must be protected in order to recover.
No one person can say they will ever truly know the depths of the ocean. But every person can say they know enough to protect the world’s oceans alongside Greenpeace.
The UN is currently finalizing the Global Ocean Treaty. This framework will, for the first time ever, create a means for ocean sanctuaries to be created across the world. In these sanctuaries, the ocean will be off limits to human activity. This gives the damaged waters, and its sea creatures, space to recover and flourish.
How can you help #ProtectTheOceans? Sign the treaty’s petition. I’m one of more than 2.5 million signatures that have advocated for these sanctuaries — and it’s a list that keeps growing every day. Share the petition with your networks and encourage them to join the movement!
In the final few seconds of Turtle Journey, we see what has become of our sea turtle family. They are marching strong with their fellow sea turtles. They know that while they cannot change the past, there is a better future ahead.
The time is now. The ocean is their home. It deserves — demands — sanctuary.