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Can Netflixs Seaspiracy really shock people not to eat fish?

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Marine section has hit a nerve. Since its release on March 24, Netflixs topped the top ten, hit the air on Twitter and hit headlines worldwide. Documentary, co-created by people after 2014 Cowspiracy: The Secret of Sustainability, follows filmmaker Ali Tabrizi on his journey to highlight the bleak reality of commercial fishing.

She claims (perhaps suspiciously) that most of the plastic waste in the ocean comes from fishing nets, that over 300,000 whales and dolphins are killed each year as catch, and that business as usual will empty the oceans by 2048, making a heavy hour ending with a simple message: the best thing you can do as an individual is to stop eating fish. The urgency is obvious.

Marine section, like many documentaries before him, has sparked outrage, with some people publicly declaring they will no longer eat fish. But do these documentaries really make a lasting difference?

One thing that Marine section has in groups is the value of the stroke. And shock can be very powerful in changing the car. Ashley Bieniek-Tobasco, a researcher from the University of Illinois, surveyed people who watched Years of dangerous living, a series of American climate documentaries. She found that people who felt angry or upset were more likely to say they were motivated to do something about climate change than people who experienced helplessness and sadness. Basically, if you are very scared, you will bury your head in the sand. In the context of eating fish, emotions can make or break people’s desire to change.

Diogo Verssimo, a behavior change specialist at Oxford University, argues that while shock is too good to attract attention, it can fail. Repeated exposure to shock is uncomfortable, so people develop strategies to avoid it, he says.

When the shock works, it is incredibly effective. James Pearson, a 42-year-old owner from Leeds, says he watches Cowspiracy years ago persuaded him to cut back on his meat consumption. Now, Marine section has hunted for fish alternatives. Before watching these documentaries, Id heard about the vegetarian and vegan lifestyle, but I just thought I was not eating any bird food, I would just be hungry and like my meat, without really considering the consequences, he says. These documentaries are truly eye-opening. So important that everyone knows the impact our habits have on the planet.

Marine sectionThe barrage of animal cruelty and eye watering statistics also resonated with Joseph Rojas, a 24-year-old security guard and podcaster from London. Anyone with emotions will be affected by this documentary, he says. The way people treat something so precious with such ferocity is disturbing. I never really liked the fish, but [Seaspiracy] has given me a valid excuse to dismiss it in the future.

Manufacturers of Marine section did not restrain herself in intertwining emotions in the narrative, and this may support her potential to spark changes in attitude on the scale. The same things that make a documentary appealing, strong characters, conflict, and a narrative purpose can pull the levers of behavior change. Seeing the impact of climate change on someone you can connect with helps people understand how climate change is affecting them, explains Bieniek-Tobasco.

Easy easy to draw parallels between Marine section and his ancestor, Cowspiracy, which sparked widespread claims that her gaze had made people go vegan. [Cowspiracy] has caused major behavioral changes in young adults, one article claimed. I personally do not know anyone who has left this without becoming a vegetarian or questioning their eating habits, including myself, he says another.

But while there has been an increase in people focusing on a plant-based diet in the last five years, we can not attribute this change to Cowspiracy there just is not enough research to draw that conclusion, and most research is anecdotal.

Research shows that nature documentaries can affect environmental concern, increase the number of online requests and discussions in the media, and encourage support for conservation. Most importantly, however, the likelihood of concerns translating into concrete behavioral changes is misunderstood and this is a problem.

We lack a trick by not having systematic research on how documentaries can best be used to influence behavior, says Verssimo. In an effort to mitigate this, Verssimo tested The blue planet Effects; visible phenomena of people using less plastic after watching the well-known documentary David Attenborough Planet Blu II.

Twitter users u zotua to never use plastic again, the Marine Conservation Association without a Jump 169 percent in web traffic and the UK government promised 61.4 million to clean the oceans from plastic. Waitrose Supermarkets reported that 60 percent of customers who watched that episode of The blue planet said they were more likely to opt for a refilled water bottle and cup of coffee than before. But the problem with self-reported behavior is that it there is no tendency to interconnect with actual behaviors observed. In other words, people lie. notably when it comes to pro-environmental behaviors.

IN Study of versions, participants either watched the episode on plastic waste, or another from the series that focused on beautiful marine shots. They were offered snacks before and after the show, which came in plastic or paper packaging. The goal was to see if people would avoid single-use plastics after learning about plastic waste damage. They do not

The researchers concluded that knowing that plastic waste is bad does not necessarily mean that you will run out of plastic. There is a mismatch between awareness and action. But why? It’s a fact that people learn when watching documentaries, but knowledge is only a small step in changing behavior, especially over the long term, says Verssimo. We like to think we are in complete control of our decisions, but in reality, things are a little more complicated.

One theory of behavior change suggests that the decisions we make depend on our social knowledge, feelings, and norms. For example, we may be unhappy about an impact of products on the environment, but we can stay calm because our friends do not share the same concern, says Verssimo. Essentially, we also need to feel that our behavior will make a difference. This last point is especially important for environmental behavior, as it is easy to feel powerless against the seemingly mammoth reality of the climate crisis.

Bieniek-Tobascos INVESTIGATION supports the idea that hopelessness deters people from making environmentally friendly changes. We found that images [in the series] generated a lot of strong emotional reactions. But at the end of the day, many people still had limited beliefs about efficiency. They did not think they could make a difference, so they did not try.

Based on these findings, Bieniek-Tobasco argues that Seapsiracythe call to action (stop eating fish) is very broad. [The filmmakers] make the question of why you should stop eating seafood, but there are no recommendations on how to do it, she says. This, she argues, alienates people who live in communities where fish is a key dietary element, or who struggle to find alternatives.

While we have little or no evidence that documentaries can bring about long-term behavior change, Verssimo is sure of that. Marine sectionThe potential to spark conversation, and even to adopt policy changes: In 2018, Theresa May mentioned The blue planet in parliament while discussing plastic legislation, he says. Marine section could do the same for commercial fishing.

can Marine section friend people who do not eat fish? It’s possible. It will most likely happen to people who are already thinking about it and it will depend on whether it is easy for them to change their habits, what their friends say, what they read online and if they think it will make a difference . There are many question marks, but as we push marine life to the brink, it is a good start.

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