Earth’s oceans are vast—and so is its list of aquatic woes. And, according to scientists, it has humanity to thank for the vast majority of those crises.
With these issues in mind, Franklin & Marshall’s Center for the Sustainable Environment chose the theme, “Oceans,” for its annual Green Cinema Series. All of the selected films relate to the man-made problems plaguing the oceans, which the center hopes will bring greater awareness to the subject.
“We depend on our oceans for a lot. They are the largest carbon sink in the world; they protect much of the world’s biodiversity; and they are a major food source for many coastal communities around the globe,” said Sarah Dawson, Director of the Center for the Sustainable Environment.
Beginning Jan. 24 and concluding April 11, the center will host films that highlight pressing issues, from the causes of the decline of reefs underlined in “Chasing Coral” (Feb. 7) to the infiltration of plastics and its effects on marine life featured in “Albatross” (March 6).
The Center’s Sustainability Week, which runs April 1-6, will share the same theme. The keynote speaker for the week is Dr. Kara Lavender Law, who will present a Common Hour talk April 4 about the serious environmental problem that is oceanic plastics.
Plastics are an important focus, as the abundance of plastics in our oceans not only threatens marine life, but also humans.
“In terms of plastics, our overuse of disposable plastics is a serious problem for the world’s wildlife,” explained Dawson. “Turtles, birds and marine mammals see plastic as food and consume it and then often die. That plastic ‘bioaccumulates’ up the food chain … and gets into our bodies.”
The challenges that scientists and environmentalists face are sizable, but Dawson hopes these films will not only educate members of the F&M community, but also encourage them to be part of the solution.
“The center’s mission is to raise awareness about environmental problems and educate about sustainable alternatives,” Dawson said. “Each one of us has the ability to effect positive change by choosing sustainable, healthy fish when we eat, by limiting our carbon emissions and by reducing our dependence on single-use plastics.”
The Green Cinema Series will screen films in Stahr Auditorium from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Jan. 24, Feb. 7, Feb. 20, March 6, March 28 and April 11. The first film, “A Sea Change,” screens this Thursday. View the full schedule online. All members of the F&M community are welcome and admission is free.
The trailer for "Albatross," one the films playing during the series.