On the Screen: Sonic Sea

A Film that will change the way we understand our impact on the ocean
Fri, 07/01/2016 - 12:15pm

My life so far has been twists and turns. Working in financial services for 20 years, I now find myself back at my roots, my true nature as a geologist turned environmental activist. A fortuitous turn happened two summers ago when Chris Littlefield agreed to take me on as a volunteer at The Nature Conservancy here on the island. There I met Clair Stover who helped me learn the ropes. I did whatever was needed to help out. Beach Clean-Up Day became my specialty.
I have loved Block Island ever since I arrived by sailboat in 1978 for Block Island Race Week. I was 16. Swooshing through the Cut, Great Salt Pond awed me. The cliffs and smooth rocks of the island, the quiet, the clear night sky unencumbered by street lights delighted me. Block Island smelled good. And I liked that you only had to dial four numbers to make a local phone call.
I currently work at the New England Aquarium as a water quality technician and a volunteer scuba diver. Through the Aquarium I take college classes as part of Boston's Marine Science Consortium. I am nearly two decades older than the other students, but my amazing professor, Dr. Nadine Lysiak, emboldens me to pursue new ideas. While conducting research interviews for a paper in Biology of Whales class, I became fascinated by entanglement as well as mass strandings of whales. Whales and whole ecosystems are in trouble.
In late March of this year, a juvenile humpback whale washed up on the northeast side of Block Island. She was emaciated. Why couldn't this majestic marine mammal find prey? What confused her? Whales and whole ecosystems are in trouble. That is why I am sponsoring the screening of “Sonic Sea.”
Humans and whales live in quite different worlds. Whales travel far under water and can barely see. Sound is everything to them. It tells them much more about the environment than what we hear. The oceans are not a silent world, but dynamic, living symphonies of sound. In water, sound travels five times faster, and many times farther than it does in air. “Sonic Sea” is an important film about noise in the ocean. It is about how humans can protect life in our waters from the destructive effects of oceanic noise pollution.
“Sonic Sea” is a 60 minute beautiful and award winning film about ocean noise. Narrated by Rachel Adams, Sonic Sea includes Jean-Michel Cousteau, Sting, leading scientists and marine mammal experts. All are welcome to view this important film on Thursday, July 7 at 7 p.m. at the Island Free Library.