For most of us, popping open an ice-cold bottle of water after a long run, or neglecting an empty candy wrapper that missed the trash can is normal behavior. For decades, we have been conditioned to live this way. Our habits are actually silently destroying our planet. By 2050, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish. This alarming statistic will become a reality if the global population doesn’t wake up.
The controversial documentary 50 Minutes to Save the World was released last week with an intro from Aquaman’s Jason Momoa at the premiere at Kualoa Ranch in Hawaii. This eye-opening film is a project of SaveTheReef supported by the charity community Karmagawa. The film highlights a group of influencers and environmental activists as they travel to seven countries around the world most deeply affected by oceanic pollution. They focus on how consumers destructive habits are destroying our world’s reefs and oceans at an increasingly alarming rate.
A graveyard of sea life
When most people think of the world’s oceans, the think of beautiful, scenic waters that are majestic and clean. When most people think of snorkeling, they picture vibrant reefs that are full of life (think Finding Nemo). But the reality couldn’t be further from the truth. In the film, the group partners with the non-profit organization Great Barrier Reef Legacy to go snorkeling to experience what has happened to our reefs.
“Instead of colorful reefs and active wildlife, we were shocked to discover a gray, dull coral landscape that can be described as a ‘graveyard’,” says Tim Sykes, co-founder of SaveTheReef. This is a result of coral bleaching, which happens when corals lose symbiotic algae, causing them to turn completely white. But what exactly is causing this coral bleaching and reef destruction?
The documentary focuses on the four biggest contributors to the death of our reefs and oceans. These include oil and fossil fuels, single-use plastics, GMO and pesticides, and non-reef safe sunscreen. The combination of these factors is destroying our oceans at a rapid rate. “The scariest part? We, as humans, are responsible for this destruction,” emphasizes Amir Zakeri, the director of the documentary.
The creators of this film empower others with the knowledge to reduce their own waste and help contribute to the restoration of our worlds reefs. There are several ways you can help. First, stop supporting the companies who make products that are poisoning our oceans and environment. A simple switch to a sustainable product can make worlds of difference. Even something as simple as using a reusable bottle instead of plastic water bottles will make a huge impact. Lastly, choose the right sunscreen. Oxybenzone and octinoxate are two ingredients that contribute to coral bleaching. It’s important not only to protect skin, but to preserve our oceans and marine life.
There are already several companies that have jumped on the bandwagon and made changes to their products that are more sustainable and environmentally friendly. The film also highlights the changes hotels can make to ensure their products and facilities are more environmentally friendly. Ec0-friendly hotels from across the world are supporting sustainable tourism and are becoming the model for the hospitality industry.
Other organizations are like Karmagawa have already donated $90k to reef charities and introduced a merch line where all the profits will go to coral reef charities. It’s not too late to take actionable steps to live a more sustainable lifestyle – it all starts with you.