Global Ocean joined Whalefest 2012 on the 27 & 28 October in Brighton, alongside a congregation of exhibitors from a wide range of sectors in both cetacean conservation and other marine related fields. The diverse combination of charities, campaigners, ecotourism organisations and of course budding marine conservationists made for a rather exciting weekend for the visitors, fellow exhibitors and, of course, us!
We constructed an underwater world for our stand by shrouding the basic shell-like structure of it with an enormous sheet of tarpaulin lined with reused or recycled black bin bags. With all of the invasive light expelled from inside, it was time to introduce the whales! This was done simply by projecting video footage of these magnificent creatures swimming underwater, kindly provided by ‘Okeanos- Stiftung für das Meer’, onto the black plastic wall. To further emphasise the impacts of plastic pollution, the footage was shown amongst hanging netting and torn plastics. With a handful of eyeholes cut into the front, a large laminated sign and some "ever so British" (as quoted by one of our many onlookers) bunting hung on top, the ambitious ‘Cetacean Cove’ was finally a reality.
The interactive features for children found throughout the festival made ‘Cetacean Cove’ an ideal addition to the collection of original and thought provoking experiences. Organisers provided amazing life-sized blow up models of marine animals (including leatherback turtles, orcas and the blue whale), indoor whale watching and a tour inside the body of a sperm whale.
As the weekend progressed it was clear that curiosity and good word of ‘Cetacean Cove’ had spread amongst members of the public and fellow exhibitors as the number of visitors to our installation rapidly increased. It was apparent that this installation was certainly thought- provoking and in the majority of cases resulted in people talking about how severe the issue of plastic pollution in the oceans is and how they can change their lifestyles in an attempt to reduce their own impacts.
Vicky of WDCS, was pleased to say that the installation "Grabs your interest, as it was something we have not seen before".
Courtney, 22, "I think a lot of people don't realise the impacts that plastics have on our oceans and it is something that certainly needs more awareness. Your installation allows you to consider the situation and effectively highlights the problems"