‘My Octopus Teacher’: Why the

Image: Chris Pizzello-Pool/Getty Images.

‘My Octopus Teacher’: Why the seas are finally having a moment

The world is listening and taking action to protect the ocean thanks to ‘My Octopus Teacher’ and its subsequent Oscar win.

‘My Octopus Teacher’: Why the

Image: Chris Pizzello-Pool/Getty Images.

South Africans woke up to exciting news on 26 April after the SA film My Octopus Teacher won an Academy Award for the Best Documentary. This phenomenal story about a man who befriends a wild octopus in a kelp forest in Cape Town has warmed hearts all over the globe. The win is another nod to the awareness of what happens to marine life, and how we can work to conserve this crucial element of our natural world. 


Following the success of this documentary, read on for three more ways the world is sitting up and taking action to protect our oceans, and how you too can get involved. 

A scientist teaching the world about sharks

It’s not to say that we haven’t been interested in conserving our sharks before, but the recent outpouring of support through a single Airbnb Online Experience has shown that people all over the world want to learn about these creatures and how to protect them. Justin Blake, shark scientist and founder of The RockHopper Fund, an organisation that raises funds for shark conservation, started his Online Experience when COVID-19 hit. What he could have never imagined was it becoming the #1 Wildlife Experience in the world.

In his famous Experience, guests learn how science and technology is used to uncover the secret lives of sharks, and Justin shares some of his favourite stories, images and videos taken by himself and his team. Money from the bookings is directly donated to RockHopper and the conservation of sharks. If you’d like to learn more, you can book the Experience here

Seaspiracy raises eyebrows about what’s really happening in our oceans 

This documentary can surely be seen as one of the biggest shocks to hit our screens so far this year. The controversial piece is directed by Ali Tabrizi, a film-maker from Kent, and begs for watchers to question the sustainable fishing movement, and the industry’s involvement. Now widely criticised by organisations around the world, and being accused of misrepresenting what global fishing industries stand for, Seaspiracy also raises the important point of the audience doing their own research. Among some of the responses was one from the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC).

They commented that while the documentary spotlighted known issues in the fishing industry, it would be misleading to say there is no such thing as sustainable fishing, and that the certification by the MSC is not credible. With valid arguments on both sides, it’s still an important watch for those who would like to be more informed about what’s happening in our seas, and how we can become more involved. 

Supporting organisations who bring about change 

Watching these documentaries certainly spurs viewers to want to leap into action and do what they can to conserve the environment, but they often don’t know where to start. On our shores, there are many ways to get involved, including one that won’t cost you any time or money, but will effect real change for marine life. Earlier this year, more than 1 000 Cape cormorant chicks were rescued from Robben Island in what became the second-largest seabird rescue in the Western Cape since the MV Treasure oil spill in 2000.

Thanks to supporters of SANCCOB, the community loyalty programme MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet was able to donate R200 000 to the emergency relief response. By supporters just swiping their cards whenever they shop, they were able to make a tangible difference – and you can do so too!

To support SANCCOB and other organisations aimed at conserving our oceans and wildlife, join MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet by visiting myschool.co.za or downloading the app and choosing your beneficiaries. Every time you shop at one of their retail partners, including Woolworths, Engen, Loot.co.za, Bidvest Waltons, Builders, and others, a portion of your spend will be given to a school or cause of your choice – at no additional cost to you.