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“The Inconvenient Truth of the Oceans?”

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Probably not. But only because the film does not have a celebrity figurehead equivalent to Al Gore.

It does, on the other hand, have all the other ingredients: a solvable global problem (overfishing), frighteningly described through statistics and anecdotes (the oceans will be empty by 2048 if something isn’t done!), a clear and compelling description of why the problem isn’t being governed at the global level (classic collective action problem exacerbated by the absence of international policing), an illustration of what governance could look like (via the Alaskan coast guard) and a set of simple steps viewers can take to help nudge policymakers and corporations in the right direction (eg interrogate restaurant owners whose menus include endangered fish; download the Seafood Watch Iphone App eat small fish like anchovies instead of the large gourmet breeds like salmon…) Etc.

I hope people will watch this film and that professors will use it to teach students about the tragedy of the commons. I even hope it will make a difference. But what the world’s fish stocks really need is an Al Gore.

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