A new administration populated with climate-change deniers has those who trust in science understandably perturbed. For Oakland-based environmentalist and filmmaker Christine Ren, however, change comes not solely from enlightened political leadership, but also from individual changes of habit. Ren is not alone in her conviction -- though her way of taking action is unusual.
Ren is a ballet dancer and a scuba diver, and holds degrees in biology as well as marine affairs and policy. She is also possessed of a vivid imagination. Thus armed, she dives into pools and oceans and makes haunting, meticulously choreographed performances underwater, which specialist video crews capture on film.
The results call attention to the various ways in which we damage marine ecosystems, and urge viewers to adopt a personal 30-day behavioral challenge in response. Ren designed the challenges to contain realistic, achievable goals, in hopes of spurring on longer-lasting habit changes. “Together we can create an ocean revolution,” Ren says.
“The value of her approach lies in the way she shares her work,” says Erica Cirino, writer and social media coordinator at the conservation-oriented Safina Center at New York’s Stony Brook University. “Eye-catching art paired with thought-provoking science that conveys actionable steps individuals can take to help preserve and protect the oceans.”
Highlighting oceanic trash vortexes in 'Blind Spots'
One of her pieces, Blind Spots, features arresting images of Ren trundling a grocery shopping cart deep under the sea, trailing plastic debris. Highlighting the enormity of the oceans' trash vortexes, the piece sparked a commitment by an entire class of fifth-graders to go plastic-free for 30 days.