Many good documentaries are made in French, or by French artists, or by French organizations. A recent one is “The March of the Penguins.” One very good French documentary series on television is called “Thalassa.” It’s named after the Greek goddess of the sea. Thalassa, the TV series, began in 1975, pretty much in the existing format. In those thirty-five years, miraculously, it has lost none of its attractiveness and none of its freshness. The weekly show lasts two hours and it does not seem too long. People who can’t watch it when it plays usually record it for late viewing, as one would do with a favorite crime series.
All of Thalassa’s episodes are loosely connected to the sea, to the world’s oceans. I discovered on Thalassa years ago that in one small part of France, children fish by hanging baited hooks from the keels of little home-made sailboats attached to their wrist by a long line. The boats travel a while under sail power with their dangling hooks, catching fish or not. The children then retrieve the boats by pulling on the line attached to their wrists. Frankly, I don’t care much whether theirs is an effective fishing method. I am just charmed by its ingenuity and by its poetry. A recent Thalassa show featured the “Circus of Samoa” that travels by ferry from Pacific island to Pacific island. The series is justly beloved. It has hundreds of thousands of faithful, hundreds of thousands that trust it implicitly because it has not disappointed in the course of its many years. It’s important for the rest of this story that I create in your minds the impression that Thalassa is a respected show with no fluff. I continue to want to convince you reader that don’t beat up on kindergartners and that I don’t trip on old ladies, ever!
A recent Thalassa feature described at length the plight of the Pacific archipelago of Kiribati. It’s a republic with a population of about 100,000. It used to be a significant exporter of phosphates but its guano (bird shit) deposit is all but gone. Now, it has almost no resources except coconuts, easy shore fishing for the home platter, and the leasing of fishing rights to foreign vessels. The republic’s mainresource is actually foreign aid.
At the heart of the Thalassa story is the fact that most of the coral islands of Kiribati lie low to very low above the water, above sea level. (Wikipedia says 12 feet on average).
The Thalassa documentary showed how, with the tide and the right wind (the wrong wind), the center part of a village was flooded in one night. The piece displayed burly fathers and uncles transporting schoolchildren on their backs in the morning across the flooded village center so they would not “wet their uniforms” on the way to school. Another part of the show gave voice to a small farmer (a horticulturist) complaining that salt water was suffusing his field from below killing coconut trees and making growing anything difficult.
Thalassa discussed and illustrated at great length the Kiribati President’s unusually decisive and vigorous response to his country’s worsening situation. The President has simply decided to evacuate the whole population to other countries and to close down his republic outright. Already, he has succeeded in convincing a number of young people to expatriate themselves permanently. The reason he gave on screen for taking such striking measures is simple: In a short time, the Kiribati islands are going to be all completely underwater.
Thalassa has its own take on the damage, the existing damage, the damage that has already taken place. The show squarely and exclusively blames global warming, of course. No one noticed at Thalassa or, in France apparently, that the sea level had not risen even fractions of inches in living memory. No one commented that the ocean level was the same in New York harbor, in South Australia, indeed anywhere on the lengthy French coast, as it was in 1900. Not a single person made the perspicacious comment that all of the world’s oceans form only one single ocean. Except for temporary sloshing, including tides, this single ocean’s level pretty much has to be the same everywhere.
Next time I am in my bath, I am going to look carefully to discover if the water at the foot of the tub is higher than the water level near my head. Or the bath water near my right elbow higher than the water near my left elbow.
Thalassa’s story is one of collective insanity. It takes place in a nation where the very idea of rationality was first codified, in a country that produced a large proportion of the world’s first scientists. Creeping mental misery!
PS Thalassa could have tried to argue that “climate change” is creating tides with greater amplitude than tides used to have. That would have been at least a plausible scenario supporting the images it had shown of sea water temporarily creeping over land. That explanation would also have had the merit of being verifiable because we possess tide records of the Pacific going back about 200 years. Thalassa made no attempt to formulate the argument in this comprehensible manner.
Incidentally, there does not appear to be any scientific authority to support its president’s notion that the Kiribati Republic islands will ever be submerged by the ocean. The UN Intergovernmental Consortium on Climate Change’s worst case scenario is for about a three-foot rise in sea level by 2100. That’s not even close to the Kiribati’s president’s allegations. And the ICCC has illustrated itself several times through its fallaciously exaggerated predictions. It’s only me but I would ask who might profit if this large archipelago became free of human beings.
Mindlessness has no motherland. It appears to be equally at home everywhere. There are few country differences when comes to ignorance and to dearth of criticality. Fools are their own nation!