Described by some scientists as “osteoporosis of the sea,” ocean acidification is the focus issue of a new underwater “ARTivism” campaign, which we released on World Oceans Day. Photographer Chiara Salomoni of Mermaids for Change collaborated on the project. The aim was to raise awareness about, and highlight the solutions to, ocean acidification. In our underwater art campaign, we refer to it as climate change’s ‘evil twin.’
Ocean acidification and ARTivism
Studies by NOAA have continued to prove that ocean chemistry is changing with dire effects. As a result of acidification, coral reefs and the skeletons and shells of marine organisms begin to dissolve. As elevated atmospheric CO2 dissolves into seawater, chemical reactions begin to transform the ocean into a more-acidic state.
We staged the underwater sets in a dive shop’s pool. A team of enthusiastic volunteers joined to help with the prop- and costume-intensive shoot. Because of the project’s complexity, staging the sets took eight hours underwater. We dove down 10 feet repeatedly on breath-hold to capture the shots of a human figure holding dissolving shells.
Additionally, we coupled the image series with an emotionally-evocative behind-the-scenes video that received 30,000 views and nearly 400 likes in the first week of launching alone. The video encourages individuals to help mitigate ocean acidification by reducing their meat consumption because animal agriculture’s carbon and methane gas emissions are some of the key drivers of climate change. The video finishes with this quote:
“If the health and fate of our ocean is so intertwined with ours, I know I want to be able to say that I’m investing in a future for both of us.”
By guest author Christine Ren
Matador Network named Christine Ren, “the Underwater Woman,” one of five women in media changing the world. She is a filmmaker and underwater performer dedicated to social and environmental causes. She offers underwater movement and photography workshops in destinations around the world to help fund ocean conservation. High-res photos and video copies are available from Christine Ren on request.