Project Journal, December 17th, 2012: “Thoughts on 2012”


Hello friends,

DSC_1699I can’t believe 2012 is almost over, it feels like just a few weeks ago that we agreed with our sponsor Cantek to start this project, and that was November 2011. This project has been very unique and different for me. Being used to the high stakes of World Records, where for many months I would train and train in an almost robotic manner, not having much time left to think or look to the outside world, I am now able to contemplate all that happens around us and see many things, big and small, that would escape me before. It has been frustrating to make such slow progress on this project, due to all the reasons we have explained in other posts, but it has also been good to have the ability to pause, take a breath, look, see and learn so much about our world, and more importantly, ourselves. Here are a few of the things that have become clear to me in 2012:

Our oceans are dying.
There’s no denying this anymore, it is a terrible fact we have to accept. Everywhere we have gone, life underwater has either decreased tremendously or died completely. And if the oceans occupy 75 % of our planet’s surface and we have managed to bring them to the edge of total destruction, how long will it take us to destroy the smaller part where we actually live, once oceans can no longer function as a filter to protect us? And even more…

Global warming is real and weather patterns are changing for the worse
Our planet keeps getting hotter and hotter every year, and this is affecting everything from life in the oceans to the health of the mountains to the quality of the atmosphere. Weather patterns are getting worse, with an increase in storms, hurricanes and generally bad conditions. Just a few years ago, there were patterns that could be counted on, such as rain in the spring, hot summers with beautiful days and winters with very calm seas, that had held for millions of years probably. Nowadays, patterns are changing everywhere, there are storms in the winter, no rain in the spring, and really bad weather all year long. Our planet is beginning to react in very unpleasant, and unpredictable, ways to all the damage we’re inflicting on it. But…

People don’t care.
Scientists and environmentally conscious people may despair about the current state of affairs, but the majority of humanity does not care, not really. In the poor countries they are fighting for their own survival, and in the rich countries they are just too concerned with improving the material quality of their lives, that in either case, due to lack of education or consciousness, or both, they don’t really care if future generations will have a planet to call home. I’m not being cynical, just a realist. Many people like me who give conferences and seminars supporting environmental causes agree that there are less people interested in attending, and that even companies who used to find it convenient to sponsor such causes no longer care. Saving the planet is no longer a trendy fashion, it is old news, much like many of the serious problems that affect our world. Do you even hear about AIDS anymore? It would seem that terrible disease was cured with how little attention it gets. I will continue to fight, doing whatever I can to help save our ocean and our planet, but I am not sure anymore that we will succeed in that fight. And because of that…

Adventure & Exploration films are almost extinct.
Given that lack of interest on the bigger issues, we’ve noticed that interest in watching films like our series has also decreased drastically. Our project has generated interest, but the number of people that view our videos, subscribe to our channel, or simply comment on our photos are very small compared to just a few years ago. If you take a look at the profile of networks like Discovery Channel or National Geographic, you will notice that the majority of programs have nothing to do with discovery or geography, focusing more on the “reality TV” style that offers the cheap thrills that most people enjoy to watch. With the amount of money and effort that it takes to realize a project like ours, that requires equipment, personnel and trips to remote locations, all of which are very expensive, it is a risk to do what we are doing. However….

What we do still matters.
It is important not to change our path just because the majority does not care. Some people will still appreciate the things we want to show them and what we have to say. So we must continue producing programs like this. It is our spiritual and moral obligation. Just because what we do is difficult, risky or with little reward does not mean we should not do it. And there are still companies like Cantek that want to help bring this message out there, even if giants like Discovery or National Geographic prefer to concentrate on things that are less important and do nothing to help environmental causes, just because they can sell more ads like that. For some people, many in fact, it is not about money. Thanks god. And that’s why….

Perfection still matters.
With all the problems we’ve encountered that have delayed our project so much, and knowing that many people won’t care if we show them a unique dive site or a regular site, it would make sense for us to take the easy way out and try to produce our episodes in the quickest, cheapest way, by traveling to locations that are easily accessible, focusing on whatever is available to see instead of chasing after animals and places that re difficult to see and catch on film. Again, if you look at a lot of the underwater shows on Discovery Channel or National Geographic, most of them focus exclusively on sharks, given the thrill element associated with those animals. On our last trip to the Bahamas, there were 5 different film crews there filming sharks and ignoring many other important and beautiful species. And when you watch those programs, there is very little about ecology and conservation and all about size of teeth and jaws, speed of attack, blood in the water, feeding frenzy, you know the rest. But we have chosen not to do that, and instead, show all the things and animals, including sharks, that deserve attention. Being a perfectionist is difficult, but it is still the only way to work for us. So if our series is called “The Amazing Dives of the World” that is exactly what we plan to show you. And finally…

Patience is the most important virtue.
It has been very frustrating to have made such slow progress with our project, but if we were to become desperate, then that would be worse because that negative energy would reflect on what we do, and compromise everything from our concentration underwater, our commitment to safety and the attention to detail out of the water when working on the show. So, although we are very much aware that we are running behind schedule, the best thing we can do is be patient, let things happen when they will, and keep being positive. IF every time we are out there, we are not enjoying what we’re doing and being creative and excited about it, letting all the negativity of “we need to hurry, we need to film more, let’s move, come on, come on” take over us, well, that will bring precisely the opposite results of what we want. So patience is still the best course of action when you’re in a hurry.

Now, aside from all these thoughts, it looks like we are ready to start shooting segments of our “Caves” episode very soon, so stay tuned for more updates about this, and hopefully, some amazing images very soon!

One Response to “Project Journal, December 17th, 2012: “Thoughts on 2012””

  1. Glenn Smith says:

    “People don’t care” is absolutely true. An Inconvenient Truth foretold the consequences of complacency. Now a few years later the average new American car has %40 more horsepower than new cars produced six years ago.

    I will continue to support the small battles, like the efforts to save the Hector Dolphin. But the grim warnings noted in An Inconvenient Truth, and Six Degrees Warmer, have fallen on deaf ears and the oceans will rise. Famine, starvation and wars are indubitably part of the future.