Film and drama Opinion

Reefshot provides hope for the future of our Barrier Reef

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The story of some of the Reef’s most loyal citizens racing against time to turn the tide on the danger facing the world’s largest living organism. Digital editor Dan Jensen dives deep into a new documentary now streaming on Stan.

REVEALED: REEFSHOT is a new documentary that follows environmentalist Andy Ridley as he leads a team on the third Great Reef Census, an initiative that involves the public to photograph the Great Barrier Reef up close for scientific purposes. From the images, scientists are able to better understand which parts of the Reef are suffering the most and what can be done.

It’s common knowledge that climate change is destroying our precious Reef. We’ve read numerous articles and seen countless reports on the devastation. We also know that it takes people power and the changing of minds to ensure the survival of Australia’s aquatic wonderland. Reefshot is a reminder that anyone can help play a part in the future of the Barrier Reef.

The documentary takes a little time to show the effects on the Reef of the rising of Earth’s temperature, but is smart enough to know that we’re already aware of it. What it does best is to show the ways in which people are striving to save it — from ordinary citizens to environmental scientists and marine biologists. And some of the methods of preservation are incredibly interesting.

Reefshot also does a great job in examining the connection between the Barrier Reef and Australia’s Indigenous cultures. Several members of Ridley’s team are of the Yirrganydji people, the original custodians of the region between Cairns and Port Douglas. And it’s easy to see how vital it is for them to protect the Reef after hearing of its historical significance.

At times, some of the interviews can get a little uninteresting, particularly when there’s a lot of scientific jargon being thrown about. But it never takes long before we’re treated to some of the most spectacular underwater cinematography imaginable. From time-lapse footage of crown of thorns starfish in motion (and leaving you wondering how something so fascinatingly beautiful can be so harmful) to dazzling displays of coral reproduction, there are many moments that will astound viewers. In one scene, we’re taken beneath the depths to see the effects of algae, but it looks like a sub-aquatic rainforest. It’s an instance where the devastation is mesmerisingly beautiful.

Before working with his team on Reef conservation, Andy Ridley was the co-founder and CEO of Earth Hour, an initiative to encourage people to turn off non-essential lights for one hour as a symbol of commitment to saving the planet. The move was a success and proved that Ridley had what it took to reach out to people. It didn’t take long before he realised he could apply his talent to getting people interested in fixing issues with the Barrier Reef.

Reefshot isn’t so much a depiction of the hows and whys of the Barrier Reef’s decay. It’s a wake-up call as to what we can do next. It’s a glimpse at how modern technology and Indigenous know-how can be merged in order to figure out our next steps. And it might serve as an inspiration for people to do just a little bit more in order to help protect the planet for future generations.

Revealed: Reefshot is now streaming on Stan.

You can follow digital editor Dan Jensen on Twitter @DanJensenIA. Follow Independent Australia on Twitter @independentaus and on Facebook HERE.

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