A few months on, there’s no questioning the impact Blue Planet II has had on the UK community. As a young oceanographer, yet to see what the working world of an oceanographer is really like, now in my 4th year of studies, the Blue Planet series has made me more excited than ever. Before the second series aired, it was always me that would spark a conversation about plastics or overfishing. Today, my friends and family initiate those conversations with me, and ask for my opinions and thoughts on matters considering the marine world and our impacts. As a result I see myself have more drive to make my role and goal as an oceanographer even more successful.
Not only has the series driven me to volunteer and apply for any opportunities that come my way, but it has also presented me with more offers and chances than I have has in my two years of studying previous. Yes, this might have something to do with the fact the latter years of my degree have edged me to think more about my career and what I would like to do in the future. However, I do believe Blue Planet and David Attenborough’s presence on our screens has shown me, and others, that though we might not see the impacts of our actions everyday, one day we will if we do nothing, as cliche as that sounds.
Personally there are a couple of things I do on a daily basis to reduce my plastic usage as a student. Firstly I have a range of reusable water bottles, all different sizes for whatever bag I am taking with me that day. Also I try to buy things in bulk when I have the time, such as pastas or dried fruit, and buy snacks and the like that aren’t individually wrapped in plastic. I’ll buy fruit and veg loose when I can and change up my supermarkets to try and buy from fruit and veg shops when I’m walking that way, with my own shopping bags of course. I feel a big part of reducing plastic usage is planning ahead, so I often have a fork and straw in my bag ready to use if I need, and make my own lunches about 90% of the time. Another major factor I think when it comes to reducing plastic and become more aware is reading. Certain plastics, especially Bisphenol A (BPA’s) are currently a hot topic of research due to their toxic chemical properties, so reading current research as well as conference notes and the like from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) are great to keep you up to date about easy ways to change your lifestyle and routine. Big newspapers as well will cover the content of recent research so you can always look there as well. For me, that was a big driver in changing my own habits and routine, consequently reducing my own plastic waste.
When it comes to future generations and our general understanding of the ocean to our everyday life, Blue Planet has really opened the worlds eyes to the vastness of the world we can’t see, and how we’ve impacted and damaged places and species we’ve never dreamed of visiting or hear of. For those of us who don’t get to see the ocean everyday, or live coastal at least, it’s hard to understand the importance of the ocean to our everyday lives. It’s contribute to the air we breathe, regulates our climate by absorbing carbon, and holds ~97% of the planet’s water. At the end of the day it helps makes our planet habitable for us and others. So, even though much of the oceans are understood and have been well documented and researched, there are still so many parts to explore and comprehend. The fact we still know very little about the connections and habits of species, and have only touched the surface of the deepest parts of the ocean, are just some of the reasons I was inspired to become an oceanographer. The idea that you never know what you might find, or understand what is going on, make the job idyllic to me, and less like a job, but more like an adventure.
So do I think the series has impacted my future career? Realistically, only time will tell, but as Jon Copley said we’re at a crossroads right now, and I believe there are more individuals and businesses, more determination, and most importantly more awareness that will in turn will create more jobs, funding and solutions for me to be apart of in today’s world.
With that, I think future generations will also feel these opportunities, and oceanographic pathways will become more and more popular from now on, due to the exposure the natural world has had from productions like Blue Planet, and the knock-on effect they have created over the globe, raising awareness, and driving self determination to do something.