What we see when we see the sea
The violence humans enact on one another cannot be separated from our assumption of dominion over nature
The past month has seen an unprecedented rise in global expertise when it comes to maritime and oceanographic matters. Previously, when average Joes and Janes thought of shipping routes, we vaguely remembered maps and phrases such as “rounding the Cape” from high school textbooks. Sustainable fishing was about green symbols on menus and food labels.
Then the (not so) good ship Ever Given got stuck sideways in the Suez Canal and the Netflix documentary Seaspiracy was released. Suddenly, everyone became an expert. Bargaining between imperial powers in the 19th century and the triumph of consumer capitalism over national rivalries? Yup — I read about that in an explainer article on container vessels. The decimation of ocean biodiversity and the contribution of the fishing industry to plastic pollution? Oh yeah, I know, I heard someone said something in Seaspiracy.
The Ever Given saga messed with supply chains and, briefly, drew our collective attention to our dependence on seafaring cargo. Mostly, however, it provided great material for meme makers. Seaspiracy is a necessary reminder that humans are a rapacious, destructive species whose greed may result in our extinction in the foreseeable future. But it is also riddled with biases and inaccuracies...