For anyone in the market for a new environmental organization to know about - or donate to if disposable income permits - SeaLegacy is fresh, fresher than fresh fish. Which is basically what it's about! Nah for serious, it's an interesting initiative aimed at using powerful visual media to inspire change and ‘turn the tide’ on climate change.
Should your knowledge lack on such rankings, first be aware that Paul Nicklen and Cristina Mittermeier hold legit street cred as two of the most decorated and dedicated nature photographers to ever point the lens. SeaLegacy is the name of a concept they have launched to expedite messages about various climate crises through insanely high-quality, occasionally heartbreaking but always inspiring photojournalism. If their work doesn't speak clearly enough for itself, know that NatGeo has enjoyed no better source of powerful visual material than from this 'power couple' (don't know if I used that phrase right, it's a yuck phrase, but yep, they are a couple both professionally and romantically).
Anyway their crew undertake expeditions to the most remote corners of the planet to document the effects of climate change, whilst uncovering local resistance efforts in the hope that unique strategies might be implemented elsewhere to speed up global environmental efforts.
You might remember a photo and story I posted on Instagram a while back? Cristina’s harrowing experience watching a sled and multiple dogs fall through an ice sheet that had thinned to unprecedented levels from global warming. She received widespread criticism for the photos, with accusations that if she had time to press the shutter, she had time to help save the one dog they lost beneath the ice. I know, super heavy. It's pretty unfair, right? How does the power of the story’s message spread without the photo?
Visual documentation is critical to communicate the severity of climate crises. More recently they attracted similar rebuke for footage of a starving polar bear, stumbling around the permafrost, on the veritable precipice of death. I reposted that too, which wasn't fun. It is fucking gut-wrenching. Again, critics took fire at Paul and the crew for not doing anything but roll camera. But what the bloody hell could they do?!
As Paul says, “It was difficult to film, and even harder to watch. The truth is hard, but photojournalism is more than pretty pictures. It can be a difficult job. Journalism exposes - raw and without bias - the world's issues in the interest of transparency, honesty, and, I believe, change for the better. At SeaLegacy, we want to break down the walls of apathy.” 7/12
And Cristina: “Though it wasn't possible for scientists to tell us exactly what had caused this bear to starve to death, we do know that he didn't have any visible wounds and that he was not an old bear. Many of you have asked whether we could have saved his individual bear, but the hard truth is that he was on his last legs, and his muscles had atrophied beyond repair. It would have also been illegal to feed him, to approach him, or do anything to ease his pain.” 7/12
Far out! It's heavy shit. Someone has to present the truth no matter how upsetting it is, so in my opinion, responding in outrage is therefore shallow and childish behaviour. Is it maybe because we are acknowledging guilt for causing the problems they have portrayed? Is anger actually reflective of shame? Hmm. Well if ignorance is bliss, I suppose that means knowledge is sadness, and sadness manifests itself as anger in those with lessons still to learn about emotional maturity. We all know that those who lash out tend do so only from deep-seated unhappiness beyond that which meets the eye.
Look, whatever side of the fence you sit, SeaLegacy is Paul and Cristina responsibly putting their communicative powers to good, spreading (mainly) positive messages to combat climate change by traveling to far flung corners of the globe, documenting unique strategies and local wildlife, and spreading messages of sustainability. Maybe some of the vitriol is founded upon jealousy - what a job!
To me they may as well be real-life characters from a book. You know those badass American crime novels from high school? No? I feel like these guys are characters in one of those books. Reilly something. Daniel? Matthew! Full Matthew Reilly characters. Anyway you should go to their website and check out what they are up to as they really are hardcore legends. Plus the video is tops👍🏼.
Oh, and as it goes, knowledge isn't sadness. Knowledge is power!
[all photos poached from insty - @paulnicklen and @cristinamittermeier]