Into the Gyre is a 44-minute documentary about a groundbreaking expedition to study plastic pollution in the North Atlantic Gyre.
Thirty-four volunteer researchers, scientists and sailors participated in this five-week expedition, sailing into the Sargasso Sea, east of Bermuda, on the 135-foot tall ship Corwith Cramer. Into the Gyre follows the team as they collect, count, and archive the plastic they find in the gyre. Along the way, the film examines the history of plastic, its adverse effects on the ocean, and possible solutions to this problem.
Two years ago I had the chance to document a Sea Education Association (SEA) voyage as they sailed into one of the most remote corners of the planet. We were thousands of miles from land and many weeks from contact with other people, and yet floating around us was the obvious stamp of human behavior: plastic pollution.
I had never been on a sea voyage lasting more than a day, so I was nervous to be producing videos in the middle of the ocean on a rolling sailboat. As soon as I stepped onto the ship and met my fellow crew-mates, however, I knew that the story and these people would make an incredibly compelling documentary film. Over the month-long voyage, I ended up closely following four of the scientist/volunteers, and have periodically filmed updates of their ongoing research into the plastic pollution. Over the course of two years, the team has made some startling discoveries, all of which are documented in the film.
Many of you have probably heard of the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch” in the Pacific Ocean. Much has been written about this region, the Pacific Gyre, but very little has been written or studied about the other four major ocean gyres on earth. The voyage, called “Plastics @ SEA,” was the first federally-funded expedition to study plastic pollution in the North Atlantic Gyre. One of the primary purposes of the expedition – and the central theme of Into the Gyre – is to be scientifically accurate about the types of plastic in the gyre and how this pollution affects life in the ocean. Here’s an excerpt from the film describing gyres above.
One of the many reasons I think this film is important is that it helps set the record straight about what plastic looks like in the open ocean. These countless tiny fragments of plastic found in the gyre are a lot scarier to me than a ‘pile of garbage you can walk on.’ Fragments can easily be ingested by marine life, as they break-down they give off toxic chemicals, and they add up to inestimable millions of tons of plastic. Help me get this message out. I’m not preachy by any means – nor is the film – but I think it provides some scary information about the damage we’re doing to our oceans.
Film Website: www.intothegyre.com