I tried to see a movie on Saturday and couldn't get in. I almost wept with joy.
I went to the Museum of Natural History in the Smithsonian to see the documentary, A Sea Change, debuting at the D.C. Environmental Film Festival. I had just interviewed the filmmakers the day before and fashioned a story for our 5 p.m. news.
The director, Barbara Ettinger, had voiced some concerns about filling the 550-seat Baird Auditorium. I couldn't bear the thought of this beautiful and important film echoing into an empty room and vowed to have my butt filling one of those seats.
A Sea Change follows Ettinger's husband, Sven Huseby, as he discovers the growing crisis beneath our seas. All the CO2 in our atmosphere is being absorbed by our oceans and it's throwing the PH balance out of wack. It's making the water more acidic. Acid eats away at the fragile shells of the tiny pterapods. Pterapods are the foundation of the oceans food chain. Destroy that basic food group and soon the entire seafood industry is in jeopardy. But more importantly, a missing link in that food chain endangers species further up.
Like all the films arriving in town during this film festival A Sea Change has a critical message for the masses. We must stop releasing CO2 into the atmosphere. All the exhaust from our cars, planes, coal-fired electrical generators. It goes into the atmosphere and eventually into our oceans. Turn off you lights, park your car, invest in alternative energy. Be mindful. People need to get this message. People did.
I arrived at the Baird to find a packed house. People were spilling out the door. The show was at 3:30. By 3 p.m. they had to announce standing room only. And by 3:15 they announced no one else could come in. They were packed to the gills (pun intended).
As I headed through the museum lobby, I saw people holding the film festival's program. My heart was full. People get it. We are at a critical time in our planet's history. Unlike the previous 5 billion years, this time we can have an impact. But we have to understand the problem. We have to long to be a part of the solution. We have to come out on a rainy Saturday and fight for a seat.
I never got to see A Sea Change. But I feel like I'm witnessing one.