Barbara Ettinger/2009/60 min/Mature theme
Imagine a world without fish. It’s a frightening premise, and it’s happening right now. A Sea Change follows the journey of retired history teacher Sven Huseby on his quest to discover what is happening to the world’s oceans. After reading Elizabeth Kolbert’s “The Darkening Sea,” Sven becomes obsessed with the rising acidity of the oceans and what this “sea change” bodes for mankind. His quest takes him to Alaska, California, Washington, and Norway as he uncovers a worldwide crisis that most people are unaware of.
Speaking with oceanographers, marine biologists, climatologists, and artists, Sven discovers that global warming is only half the story of the environmental catastrophe that awaits us. Excess carbon dioxide is dissolving in our oceans, changing sea water chemistry. The more acidic water makes it difficult for tiny creatures at the bottom of the food web to form their shells. The effects could work their way up to the fish 1 billion people depend upon for their source of protein.
A touching portrait
A Sea Change is also a touching portrait of Sven’s relationship with his grandchild Elias. As Sven keeps a correspondence with the little boy, he mulls over the world that he is leaving for future generations. A disturbing and essential companion piece to An Inconvenient Truth, A Sea Change brings home the indisputable fact that our lifestyle is changing the earth, despite our rhetoric or wishful thinking.
The first of its kind
A Sea Change is the first documentary about ocean acidification, directed by Barbara Ettinger and co-produced by Sven Huseby of Niijii Films. Chock full of scientific information, the feature-length film is also a beautiful paen to the ocean world and an intimate story of a Norwegian-American family whose heritage is bound up with the sea.