Oceans #1: Plastic Pollution, Crime & Nutrition – Plotting The Course

Produced by Camille Duran / Published by Eleen Murphy / Senior Editors Eleen Murphy & Camille Duran / Music Credits: License by Ins. Green White Space. Photo by atlanticleather

We live on a blue planet, surrounded by oceans. But how much do we really know about what goes on in our oceans? Where does all the plastic come from, and how do we stop it from getting in there? What does piracy, money laundering, and illegal dumping do to our oceans and our societies? And how exactly can the oceans help feed the ten billion people living on this planet?

In this episode, we set the stage for our Oceans series – our most ambitious one yet. We tell you where we’re headed, how to use this series, the questions we’ll be asking, and all the fun things we have planned. With this, you’ll be all set to start the adventure with us.

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Transcript from the Episode

Camille Duran [CD]: Eleen do you know why mussels never donate money?

Eleen Murphy [EM]: Uh… no

CD: Because they are shellfish.

EM: Wow, ok let’s get started!

CD: Yes, today we are starting a big investigation. Before we introduce this new series, should we run an equipment check, very quick?

EM: Sure.

CD: Pen and paper?

EM: Check!

CD: Telephone with battery?

EM: Check!

CD: Fiber-optic internet?

EM: Check!

CD: Snacks?

EM: A lot of them, check.

CD: Fast computers and software?

EM: Check!

CD: A time machine?

EM: Check!

CD: Problems to solve?

EM: Check!

CD: All access to international experts, celebrities and leading voices?

EM: Check!

CD: Listeners and partners with questions?

EM: Check, I think!

CD: A critical mind with an appetite for strong sustainability solutions?

EM: Check!

CD: Microphones?

EM: Check!

CD: Alright, it sounds like we are ready to start a new series! Eleen, would you do the honours and tell us what this investigation is about?

EM: We re going to talk about…

CD: No need to drag it out, they have read it in the title of the episode

EM: Oceans!

CD: Wow, what a surprise. So before we push the button, I thought you could tell us why oceans matter?

EM: Well what matters most is that there are a lot of dirty secrets out there around oceans. There’s a lot of stories we never hear about. But I think we should.

CD: Have we been misled? Again?!

EM: You’ll find out soon. But to answer your first question, I think oceans matter because:

We live on a Planet called the Blue Planet, covered by around 70% water. Each year, oceans produces almost the same amount of biomass as terrestrial habitats – around fifty0 billion tonnes.

CD: What?

EM: We just don’t see it!

EM: If you take the ocean-based industries… and look at their contribution to economic output and employment each year… it’s a big number. There are different sources but we’re talking about around two and a half trillion dollars per year – that’s like the economic output of a big country, like Brazil or the UK.

CD: Wow!

EM: Back in 2010 these industries were already contributing to thirty million jobs and the OECD tells us it could grow another 30% by 2030!

CD: That’s a lot of jobs!

EM: And of course, there are big, big challenges ahead of us that are far from being solved: ocean pollution, overfishing, permanent crime like human or drug trafficking, all the economic issues around the ocean, energy production, resource management in general…the list goes on and on.

CD: Wow, I think we all agree that ocean is a theme that deserves its own series at Green Exchange. If after that you still think oceans are not that important, please write us an email.

EM: We’ll reconsider.

CD: Eleen it is safe to say that this is our most ambitious investigation to date, we will have very special guest, tell you all the stories, even the ones we are not supposed to, we will podcast from underwater, hop aboard big boats…

EM: And small ones.

CD: Live podcast from big events, etc…

EM: And small ones.

CD: And go after big fish…

EM: …and small ones!

EM: Now that we know about the theme why don’t you tell us who this series is for Camille?

CD: Good question, I think a lot of us could benefit from this investigation. First, anyone who is keen on spending a good time, hearing crazy stories, and learning something along the way. You will be able to explain to your friends and colleagues what’s going on with our oceans.

EM: Without getting them bored.

CD: …Or you can also keep all the knowledge for yourself.

EM: That’s right!

CD: This series is for you if you want to clearly understand the root cause of the challenges we are facing on the blue side of our Planet. And what are the big investment and policy decisions we need to make as a society.

EM: Policy-makers?

CD: Yes, they should definitely follow our investigations. Many of them are lost in the deep blue. They have industry, NGOs and Facebook videos pulling them in all directions and they are the ones behind the big influential decisions.

EM: We’ll invite a few of them on the show maybe?

CD: All policy-makers are invited, let’s see who picks-up the phone…

EM: Who else?

CD: Journalists, media professionals. If you are getting started on this issue for an article or other piece of content, you are welcome to use this series as a source of ideas and cases. Or if you have stories or sources to contribute, send us an email at hello@greenexchange.earth.

EM: Journalists are an important part of the story here because those stories are so complex that it’s hard to get a quick overview.

CD: Then anyone with an interest in oceans really, whether on ocean pollution, overfishing, crime, money laundering via the ocean, economic & industrial issues… Welcome aboard!

EM: If I want to learn about animals, conservation, and the more traditional oceanography topics?

CD: Yes well then we will connect you to our favourite publications because that’s the part we won’t get into here.

EM: Alright.

CD: Eleen are you ready to get this party started?

EM: I am ready.

CD: Do you see the blue button in front of you? It’s time to press it.

EM: I’m excited!

CD: Let’s go!

CD: You know what’s one good thing about this topic? I am finally going to be able to use a voice effect that I created a while ago.

EM: Oh no…

CD: It will make us sounds like we are talking under water.

EM: No please…

CD: [Under water] What? Eleen? Can’t hear you if you are staying at the surface!

EM: Alright.

CD: [Under water] Hey here you are. See, now we can see what’s really going on here.

EM: Wow.

EM: Okay let’s keep the special effects for later. Can you detail what are we going to talk about in this series instead?

CD: Right. Good question. I am sorry to inform you we are not going to be able to solve all of the oceans problems with one podcast series.

EM: No?

CD: No, so we picked three topics to start with. Plastic Pollution, Crime and Nutrition.

EM: Plastic pollution, crime and nutrition. That’s already a lot to deal with.

CD: Yes, and I will tell you more in a minute. But before that I would like to clarify a couple of things about this series and our approach to investigations in general – for those who are not familiar with Green Exchange.

EM: Mmh

CD: Point one, we are producing this series as an umbrella investigation.

EM: An umbrella investigation?

CD: Yes, it means it encapsulates other investigations and stories. Basically we are doing some cleaning. Because tons of content have been produced already. Some of it is good, most of it is incomplete, and some media out there is actually harmful to the Planet and society in general.

EM: Green Exchange cleans the house!

CD: That’s right, our mission here is to help you articulate your thoughts in a constructive way. We ask bold questions, we challenge everything and everyone –

EM: – all the time.

CD: Point two, we are going to talk to experts, policy makers, activists, other journalists, intergovernmental organisations and citizens, maybe a few celebrities are going to join us as well.

EM: Celebrities? Exciting.

CD: Well we have you already…Eleen…

EM: Aw, right, can’t get out of the house right now because of all the paparazzi.

CD: Just wear sunglasses and a cap.

EM: I’ll think about it.

CD: We’ll try to stay pragmatic and practical.

EM: Some philosophy may be necessary as well though.

CD: Yes, philosophy Green Exchange style. If the result of your actions hurts anyone, violate human rights or damages the environment, there is probably a better way.

EM: Probably yes. Now, I want to talk more about our three topics – plastic pollution, crime and nutrition – because you haven’t said what we are going after for each one. And I have seen a few crazy stories going around the office.

CD: True. Really Crazy stories. But before that…

EM: Noooo!

CD: I would like to suggest a little audio interlude that is going to help us visualise how people from around the world interact with the ocean. What is your relationship with the ocean? view from the shore, from a fishing boat? scuba diving? Let’s get in the mood….


[Audio Interlude].


EM: wow that was cool. You can really hear how different people use the ocean in different ways.

EM: Now can we please get to the crazy stories.

CD: I never said I would tell them right now.

EM: Ehh, I think you did Camille…

CD: Nope, you told me you saw some crazy stories circulate in the office and I said yep but you were asking me about our three topics.

EM: Alright. Moving on

CD: Okay back to our three topics?

EM: Yeah sure.

CD: Topic number one: Plastic Pollution. Whoever you are, you probably heard a lot of different things about how to solve plastic pollution. There is what industry tells us, what policy makers tell us, what NGOs tell us, the people, one video goes viral and we feel we solved the case.

EM: Yes like for instance the video from the young Boyan Slat who apparently found the magic solution to clean-up the ocean from plastic.

CD: Yes we are not going to talk about so much about that because that is just distracting people from the real problem.

EM: What do you mean?

CD: Let me ask you this Eleen. You get home and your house is flooded because you left the tap open. Everything is a mess. Water everywhere. The tap is still open. Water keeps flowing. What is the first thing that you do?

EM: I close the tap.

CD: Right. So that’s the only thing we are going to talk about in this series. How can we close the tap? In other words, what are real solutions to stop plastic from leaking into the ocean. And how much plastic do we actually need?

EM: Industry is telling us they are planning on increasing plastic production three-fold by 2050.

CD: On the other side, NGOs and researchers tell us that by then we will have more plastic than fish in the ocean.

EM: So let’s close the tap!

CD: We will do some myth-busting so experts can tell us what we should believe in or not? We will talk about the role of celebrities, in an episode called “The Hall of Shame”.

EM: The Hall of Shame? Can you explain?

CD: Yes, we are going to go on YouTube, and research the commercials featuring celebrities that have been promoting excessive plastic consumption.

EM: George Clooney comes to mind.

CD: We will call those celebrities via their PR agents and ask them to tweet something nice for the planet to show how guilty they feel now that we know the impact of those products.

EM: Exciting. You think they will?

CD: If they don’t they enter the Hall of Shame. It’s their last chance, Eleen. It’s their last chance.

CD: So anyway, regarding the investigation at the policy and investment level, we will focus on what needs immediate action.

EM: Looking forward to it.

EM: Our second topic will be crime?

CD: Yes, the ocean is stage to a lot of nasty business: crime in the fishery sector, human trafficking, drug trafficking, piracy (as we talked about in our last Mixtape), it enables money laundering and fiscal evasion, illegal fishing, dumping of pollutants (other than plastic). A lot to talk about here.

EM: Yes, this theme has become high on the agenda for a number of intergovernmental organisations.

CD: Here you can already feel the craziness of the stories we’re about to investigate.

EM: I do! How about our third topic?

CD: Nutrition from the ocean. This one is pretty straightforward: What’s the role of the ocean in feeding a ten billion people planet?

EM: Wow , a lot to unpack there as well.

CD: On all of those topics we will also get on the road, we are going to attend a selection of events, conferences, workshops and podcast from there, host debates maybe, so there will be some field action as well.

EM: Great!

CD: Is that enough detail to make you want to dive in, Eleen?

EM: I think we are all super excited at this point.

CD: Alright. One last word:

EM: Subscribe.

CD: It’s free, all you need to do is press that one button on your favourite podcast app and you will get notified every time one episode is released.

EM: Don’t forget to share Green Exchange with your friends and colleagues so they can start this adventure with all of us.

CD: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, email, fax, telegraph…whatever you need, we’re here to serve and we’ll be back soon with something blue.

EM: That’s it? That’s your closing line? Really?

CD: Ok, sorry it still needs some work. Let’s just say Ciao for now

EM: Yeah…Ciao!

CD: Ciao!


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