Valerie Taylor once made a living as a master spearfisher until the stars of life led her on a decade-long shark protection mission. Valerie who? That question will be answered this Friday evening, July 23rd, when the National Geographic documentary Play with sharks reels on Disney + as part of its annual SharkFest lineup. In the meantime, no story about shark conservation would be complete without mentioning efforts to combat plastic pollution in the oceans.
Valerie Taylor dares not be so pathetic
Valerie Taylor crossed the first CleanTechnica Radar as a conservationist in the Shark beach Documentary hosted by Chris Hemsworth. Play with sharks is all about her, and it gives her the chance to really express her opinion.
Taylor sat down with CleanTechnica, Director Sally Aitken and producer Bettina Dalton for an interview earlier this month and they shared some new insights into the person who wore chain mail suits to work (after the conversation which was easily edited for the river):
CleanTechnica: A question for Valerie Taylor – how would you summarize the current state of shark protection?
Taylor: The state of conservation at sea and on land is poor today. We continue to fell rainforests and rape the ocean of every living being. We will destroy the planet and ourselves.
Sharks are essential to the health of the oceans, which means they are vital to us. When the ocean dies … we pay a heavy price. I won’t be here to see it, but my nephews and nieces will.
Humanity is greedy, pathetic and their conservation efforts are [ineffective].
Shark protection is not for the faint of heart
Okay, so straight to the director and producer. Everyone knows that shark bites are horrific, but very few people are ever bitten by sharks, while on the shark protection side, cruelty claims millions of victims. parts of Play with sharks aren’t playful at all as the documentary pegs the shark fin soup industry for its carnage.
CleanTechnica: There are many gruesome scenes in Play with sharks. What made you decide to go in this direction?
Aitken: It was all part of the story, both the shark slaughter and the shark finning footage. We wondered if we think that’s too much or not enough – but if you don’t show it, people won’t believe it.
CleanTechnica: Here’s a question for the producer – there are so many women in conservation today. What attracted you to this story?
Dalton: I first met Valerie as a teenager on the cover of National Geographic Magazine. She was like a Marvel superhero. She influenced many people and was the catalyst for a whole generation.
She inspired me to become a natural history filmmaker; the effect that she threw herself into the conservation arena had a massive impact on me and other people. It had a pyramid effect that inspired us to get closer and care. In the cinema screenings that we had, children come up to us so inspired and consciously.
CleanTechnica: Another question for Ms. Taylor: What changes have you seen in the people who are interested in nature conservation?
Taylor: It’s the number of girls that have run out to interview me and they all want to save every animal in the ocean. If they said “we hate sharks” I would probably walk away, but it was interesting to listen to them. They were so curious about eels and crabs and everything else.
Oceans make up 62% of the world, we have to take care of them.
So what about this plastic problem in the ocean?
If you want to learn enough about finning to last a lifetime, go to Play with sharks. The US and several other nations have prohibited finning, but smugglers abound and whack-a-mole enforcement leaves plenty of room for bad actors.
This may sound a little depressing, but solutions are obvious, especially since the rest of the marine economy is committed to protecting the sharks in order to get their own slices of the pie.
This also includes paying more attention to ocean plastic. The entire marine economy is threatened by ocean plastic pollution, shark protection, or no shark protection at all. The problem ranges from microparticles made of plastic that are stored in the food chain to up to larger plastic items entangle marine life or clog their digestive systems.
That can also be solved. Part of the solution to plastic pollution is to replace petrochemicals in favor of biodegradable building blocks. Both gas and oil traders will rely more on the petrochemical market as a lifeline as their share of the power generation and transportation markets shrink, but that’s another area where powerful marine economy players can flex their muscles.
Big brands like StarKist are already there a fight for their lives as canned tuna sales in the US and elsewhere have declined sharply over the past 30 years. Lobbying for plastic-free oceans could provide a way for these companies to connect with today’s environmentally conscious consumers.
The Ocean Plastic Whack-a-Mole
Interestingly, StarKist is owned by Dongwon Industries of South Korea, which conservationists are targeting the shark fin soup industry. Perhaps Dongwon will be inspired to team up with them. After all, marine health is a matter of life and death for the tuna industry.
If Dongwon and other big names in the canned fish industry included their stars in the July global plastic-free campaign, it would be a good start. After all, the fish canning industry relies primarily on recyclable metal packaging, not plastics.
They could also align with the automotive industry’s commitment to research and development of electric vehicle batteries by providing funding for high-level research on marine plastic, plastic recycling and sustainable plastic substitutes. Here in the US, the University of Delaware is a hotspot for plastic research, which could help alleviate the plastic problem in the oceans.
Although spent fishing gear is a large part of the plastic problem in the oceans, consumers need to delve deeper into their own habits if they are to really help. Researchers are discovering more evidence that you can just do laundry Introduce microparticles into the marine environment. Speaking of the auto industry, driving around in a car can also help Microparticles.
Speaking of the auto industry: The long-delayed move towards electric vehicles has finally reached a turning point for old automakers, as decades of activism against changing consumer preferences, a new generation of political decision-makers, and the good old-fashioned go against it. Who had a thought that could ever happen?
If all four elements converge in a similar way in the shipping industry, it will not be too late to cure the plastic diseases of the oceans, save the sharks and also enjoy a nice can of sustainably harvested tuna for lunch.
More about Valerie Taylor.
More about Plastic free July.
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Photo (screenshot): Shark conservationist Valerie Taylor courtesy Disney +.