Farewell to the US – hello Europe

After six long weeks the US Road Trip comes to an end. I’ve arrived at LAX and I’ve made the decision to carry on to Europe. I’m now looking forward to what should be a very interesting couple of weeks in the lead up to the CCAMLR meeting in Bremerhaven.

Royal Geographical SocietyNext stop London, and a screening at The Royal Geographical Society. Attending will be members of the Ross family, direct descendants of Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, explorer Sir James Clark Ross. Ross first put the Ross Sea on the map in 1841, and was followed six decades later by the British polar explorers Scott and Shackleton who returned to the Royal Geographical Society with tales of great adventure and courage in the Ross Sea. At the screening on July 4th I will be telling very different tales, in a world that is very different to that of the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration.

Photo: John Weller

Photo: John Weller

It’s a world that we can no longer afford to look at through the eyes of our ancestors, many of whom saw these untouched areas as places to exploit and conquer. Today we need to look at it through the eyes of our children who will see these pristine remnants as precious jewels in a very tarnished crown; places that should be set aside for the world to celebrate and share. Whether we are capable of this will be answered in just two weeks, at the special CCAMLR meeting in Bremerhaven, and whatever the outcome, I know that the work we are all doing has contributed to shifting traditional points of view.

At the SF Docfest screening

With Grant Ballard at the SF Docfest screening

The US road trip has been very successful, with many sold out screenings, and productive dialogue with Whole Food Markets, Safeway Supermarkets and Seafood Watch at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Everyone at Last Ocean has been working hard and I want to say a heartfelt thanks to our Last Ocean community, the core Last Ocean team and to my family – your support has given me the strength and confidence to keep going and to speak out about the Ross Sea. Those who saw my TedXAuckland Talk know it doesn’t come easily – but it’s amazing where you can go when you believe strongly in something, and I want to share a few things that have fueled this remarkable and challenging journey.

With volunteers at the Seattle International Film Festival

With volunteers at the Seattle International Film Festival

Belief that the Ross Sea, this last truly wild ocean that laps the shores of Antarctica – a continent already set aside as a preserve for peace and science – should be protected and that this could actually happen. Equally as important as protecting the land, waters and creatures of Antarctica, is protecting the spirit behind the remarkable Antarctic Treaty.

Hope that humanity has the intelligence and courage to look after the last wild places. Bremerhaven is our big opportunity to add the Ross Sea to this legacy.

The integrity of what we were asking for and in the people asking for it. At the foundation of the Last Ocean campaign is a group of 30+ eminent Ross Sea scientists. They are not the sort of people to jump on a soap box or join an environmental campaign at the drop of a hat. They simply know a huge amount about the Ross Sea –more than any other group on the planet. Their concerns are worth listening to.

Finally, Concern about the kind of planet my children are going to inherit. 

What better gift to hand to the next generation than Earth’s last untouched ocean – even if it is at the bottom of the world and they may never get to see it. Like knowing about giraffes in the Serengeti, just knowing that these places exist and are protected is a gift in itself.

Farewell US, what an amazing trip. To NewportFILM. Mountainfilm, Lincoln Centre New York, Seattle International Film Festival and SF DocFest – thank you for having us. To our community please continue to support us. Watch this space and continue to spread the word.

Bremerhaven here we come.

Photo John Weller

Photo John Weller

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2 thoughts on “Farewell to the US – hello Europe

  1. Thank you for making the movie. We found it very interesting but also disturbing. Really important to record life in the Ross Sea. Just embarrassed that it was our fishing industry that started the fishing. The naïve hope expressed by the young Govt. official that other countries will be reasonable and monitor their catches ‘ is pie in the sky’ thinking.

  2. Absolutely EPIC! Can’t wait to hear the results in Bremehaven. As a scientist, I know that we don’t tend to push in political situations, but I beleive that anyone involved in marine research must, at this point, feel like an endangered species themselves. Our children will feel/experience/benefit from the protection of the Ross Sea in that it’s ecological health is global.
    Here is a link to the trailer of my son’s eco-film. He’s not global, he hit a few festivals and hopefully opening eyes to the future of our waterways. http://gburghes.wix.com/filteringfutures
    Happy Travels! And keep the hammer down! Susan C. Burghes PhD

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