This’ll give you the Wednesday feels. And not in a good way. The short film above is called The Creature and comes to us from Surfers Against Sewage, the U.K.-based environmental non-profit devoted to protecting the country’s beaches and oceans. In recent years, SAS has been on the front lines of combatting single-use plastics, and the film above is a play on a heart-wrenching reality we know too well: whales and other large marine animals (not to mention the many smaller ones) falling victim to humanity’s continued dependence on plastic that ultimately makes its way to the sea.
In the fictional short, a mysterious creature washes up on a beach in Cornwall having ingested all sorts of plastic. The local community comes together in an effort to save the animal, but sadly it’s too late.
SAS leaves viewers with a final message: if so much of the planet’s oceans remain unexplored, is it possible the ocean plastic problem is killing off species we have yet to discover? It’s a chilling thought.
“Every year new and unique ocean-dwelling creatures are being discovered in the depths of the marine world,” said Ben Hewitt, director of campaigns and projects at SAS, in a statement. “Meanwhile, humankind is treating our sea as a ‘single-use ocean’ – filling it with plastic, changing its chemistry through carbon emissions and stripping it of all natural abundance.
“At present, we’re sleep-walking into slaughter – but it’s not too late. With the help of the general public and policymakers, we can ensure our oceans remain a place that our sea life can continue to flourish in.”
For the project, SAS employed Tom Tagholm and Park Pictures, an Academy Award-winning production company in London, New York, and Los Angeles.
“As a surfer, I wanted to do what I could to help,” said Tagholm. “The idea for The Creature came when I was out in the water. I wondered what could be out there in the deep. And what might be suffering before we’ve even had a chance to meet.”
To those located in the United Kingdom, SAS has a clear call to action: sign the organization’s #GenerationSea petition to call on the Prime Minister to act and legislate to protect the seas. The goal, according to SAS, is to “establish a powerful independent watchdog to protect the oceans and wider natural environment as part of an ambitious Environment Bill, while enforcing specific targets relating to plastic waste and carbon emissions for government and big business.” At time of publication, the petition has already gotten over 13,000 of the 15,000 signatures needed.
If you’re located stateside or elsewhere and the film compels you to act, there are plenty of ways to combat the ocean plastic epidemic. The Surfrider Foundation’s local chapters run consistent beach cleanups across the United States, and there are a number of local single-use plastic bag ban ordinances being debated by municipal governments, too. Learn more here. And in Oz, you’ve got the Australian Marine Debris Initiative. Not to mention the countless organizations that operate across the globe.
For further reading check out a few ways to reduce your personal plastic use here.