Animation engages young people in ocean issues

Bothina Osama

Luisa Massarani
Latin America regional coordinator, SciDev.Net


The need to engage the public in the ocean acidification issue — an increasing concern in scientific debates — is evident. But finding ways of attracting the attention of audiences can be tricky, highlighted a session on oceans at Planet Under Pressure 2012.

A project carried out by the European Project on Ocean Acidification and the UK Plymouth Marine Laboratory is an example of good practice.

Students from the Ridgeway School (Plymouth, UK) were commissioned to produce an animation film to explain the issue to young people.

The students talked to scientists and conducted their own research in the school and National Marine Aquarium. They were involved in the whole process of animation, including giving voice to the film’s characters.

The result was “The another CO2 problem”, a creative 8-minute animation film, which was awarded with the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Bill Bryson Prize.

There is no doubt how beautiful the film is and how important the experience was for the kids — who probably will not forget what ocean acidification means but also had a lot of fun! It is also an opportunity to raise the curiosity of other young people to the issue.

But a closer look at the film highlights the fact that the language does not make some of the main scientific concepts clear. This is the case, for example, when formulas or phrases are used that are more at home at a conference for scientists such as Planet Under Pressure.

This raises the point that although climate change is abstract and more difficult to understand, ocean acidification can be much more visual and concrete to understand. Another example of video that succeeds in making clear what happens with the oceans was created by the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center, in San Diego (United States). Although clearer, it certainly doesn’t have the charm of the Plymouth animation!

Check on Youtube:

This blog post is part of our Planet Under Pressure 2012 coverage — which takes place 26–29 March 2012. To read news and analysis from the conference please visit our website.

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