Albatross: A Film About the Plastic We Feed to All Animals, No Matter How Far Away They Fly

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If images and videos of whales, dolphins, fish, seals, turtles, and other marine life consuming plastic wasn’t enough to make us feel sick to our own stomachs, we humans have another equally disturbing reality to contend with.

Birds are eating it too.

The messages from both World Environment Day and World Ocean Day this year were simple: the plastic that is swirling around within the world’s oceans MUST be reduced.

Plastic has been found in 9 out of 10 birds, indicating that there is no longer an area of the planet where this debris isn’t wreaking havoc.

This year in recognition of World Ocean Day, a documentary film produced by photographer Chris Jorden was screened online for the event.

The movie Albatross shows the heart-wrenching reality of the effects of ocean plastic, in even the most remote parts of the world.

Filmed on Midway Atoll, a US national environmental refuge site, that is more than 2000 miles away from the nearest continent, the island is in total isolation away from human civilization and is a designated sanctuary for birds.

There are approximately 1.5 million Albatrosses that live on Midway, and they have free roaming of the land as there are no predators.

When he first visited the island in 2009, Jordan saw an island devoid of Albatrosses, which at the time were flying far out to sea over crashing waves.

However, he did witness something horrible, as all he saw was 10s of thousands of dead baby chicks.

Since this first trip, Jordan has spent 8 years going back and forth to the island to capture the beauty of these Albatrosses, and the horrible pains that they are going through, as they unknowingly eat plastic and feed it to their young.

In an interview with Lifegate, Jordan told the magazine:

‘Midway is an unbelievably beautiful place and albatross are incredibly beautiful creatures. So I had to include that beauty as a way of documenting the reality of the island, it made me feel like being in Paradise. And because they’re filled with plastic, it was also like being in hell at the same time.’

The footage of the film is deeply saddening, and Jordan said that his intention with the movie wasn’t to follow the standard paradigms of documentary films, which usually present scientific and factual information.

Instead, he wanted viewers to connect with the movie at a deep emotional level.

‘When I went to Midway the first time I realized that all of my work around mass consumption was always looking at this global issue from a global perspective. So I wanted to look at the issue of ocean plastic from a more personal point of view. ‘

‘When you see these little handfuls of plastic inside the birds you don’t need to see the whole million tons. Just one handful of plastic inside the bird tells the whole story.’

He hopes that the documentary will shed light, on the ‘broken paradigm’ of environmental activism, and be a symbol for the consumerist lifestyle that dominates our culture.

‘Its not enough to say “don’t order a straw when you go to a bar”. This is like telling somebody that it’s all they can and should do. It’s disempowering. I think we all know we are more powerful in groups, communities and nations than we are as individuals.’

‘When 100 million people decide to do something differently, THAT is when real change happens.’

 

Watch the Trailer