'Turtle Journey' film reveals the crisis in our oceans

Turtle Journey film still
© Greenpeace UK & Aardman Animations

It's time for swift and immediate action to protect marine life from further devastation.

This short animated video, just released by Greenpeace UK and Aardman Animations, will probably ruin your day – but you should watch it anyway because the message matters. It tells the heartbreaking story of a turtle family, heading home from their holidays, only to come face-to-face with the horrors of underwater oil drilling, plastic pollution, and overfishing.

I am always impressed by how animated characters can evoke such emotion, because yes, I was crying by the end of this film. It's not surprising; the film's expert makers are award-winners themselves, the same people behind Chicken Run, Wallace and Gromit, and Shaun the Sheep. The characters are voiced by Oscar-winning actors Olivia Colman and Dame Helen Mirren, as well as Bella Ramsey from Game of Thrones and David Harbour of Stranger Things.

Colman spoke about the film's importance in a world with a rapidly deteriorating environment:

"I'm thrilled to have worked on this heartbreaking film with Greenpeace and Aardman – it’s so important. Our oceans face so many threats, some I wasn’t even aware of before this, and sadly the story of this turtle family trying to get home in a damaged and changing ocean is a reality for so many marine creatures that are having their habitats destroyed by human activities. I hope this film inspires more people to take action to protect our oceans."

The film is also an excellent way to start a conversation with children and teens about marine health and the necessity of conservation efforts. There's nothing quite like putting oneself in 'turtle shoes' to realize we need a better approach to managing the oceans.

Greenpeace hopes the film will spur viewers to join the fight for a Global Ocean Treaty, which would protect 30 percent of the world's oceans in a network of sanctuaries. Such a treaty has been discussed in previous years and is currently being debated at the United Nations, but broader support is needed from the general public in order for governments to take it seriously. In the words of Will McCallum, Greenpeace UK's head of oceans:

"A strong treaty would provide a framework for the fully protected marine sanctuaries our oceans need. A weak treaty will maintain the status quo: a broken, fragmented system of ocean governance that’s already caused untold harm to our oceans. History will judge our governments for their actions this year – they must protect our oceans."

Viewers can add their names to a petition that is calling for a strong treaty. Watch the film below.

'Turtle Journey' film reveals the crisis in our oceans
It's time for swift and immediate action to protect marine life from further devastation.

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