As we see things, the reason that this is so hard is that we citizens have not yet decided that earth conservation is important relative to the many other things that call our attention. I remember reading once in USA Today that Americans spend $42B annually on pets! This is just one example of the absolutely massive streams of resources (money, time, creativity) that go into our discretionary spending. We clearly still have huge amounts of resources that can be deployed towards conservation. However, this will only happen if we want it to. Absent that, scientists will struggle to find funding, managers of protected areas will scrape by on limited budgets, and, of course, policy makers will fail to do anything bold (one thing we are learning is that political “leaders” really don’t lead very well).
The tough part about this is knowing how serious the challenge is, seeing the solutions and then facing this constant struggle to get good people around the world to care enough to act. Getting this message into the media can be tough sledding. We learned a frank lesson from a good film maker friend Tim Liversedge. Having spent over 30 years filming African wildlife, he strongly discouraged us from working with mainstream nature media. “How can that make any sense Tim”, I asked. I will never forget, he said “Remember the major series Planet Earth? What you don know is that Discovery/BBC actually filmed three extra episodes. They were candid, investigative discussions on the real state of conservation. Cameramen would stand there and describe how they drove through 300km of deforested habitat to get a carefully positioned shot of animals in a last fragment of standing forest.” What really opened my eyes was what he closed with- “These were never shown on TV”. Now Discovery or any other network is clearly not being malicious or anti-conservation. My suspicion is that they knew that most people would not watch- just no fun at the end of a long day.
One film maker that we have come to respect is Greg MacGillivray and his team here in Laguna Beach. Greg does not shy away from the tough messages. Part of the reason that he seems to be able to do this is that his films are so intensely beautiful and engaging that we really do start to care…and then want to know how things are “out there.” More important, he targets people that are ready to learn and to act – often 100 Million such people for every film.
Greg and his team have just launched their next epic project. One World Ocean is a film that we are deeply interested in seeing succeed. We believe that large format, IMAX film on the oceans gets right at the heart of the core problem – do we care enough to act. Its due out in 2015- keep an eye on this film. It may be one of the most important events in ocean conservation this decade.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
MacGillivray Freeman Films Launches Global Media Initiative–“One World
Ocean”–To Produce World’s Largest Ocean Media Campaign
Production on the $35-million project to begin this fall in the South Pacific
LAGUNA BEACH, CA (June 18, 2010)—MacGillivray Freeman Films is launching One
World Ocean, the largest global media campaign of its kind that will literally crisscross all five
of the world’s oceans to produce an epic multi-platform series designed for giant-screen IMAX
3D, 2D & 3D television, theatrical 3D release, digital online media, companion books and other
Over a span of four years, the $25-million One World Ocean production will collect amazing
images and stories of marine wildlife and mankind’s relation to the sea in forty locations around
the world using today’s most advanced 3D camera system technologies. Ten hours of worldclass
programming in multiple formats will include a 40-minute IMAX 3D film, an 8-part 3D
television series, a 90-minute 3D theatrical documentary, and an online web series all designed
to reach hundreds of millions of viewers when released in 2015. A $10-million marketing and
educational program will drive public awareness…
More on the MFF website