During spring of 2014, climate journalist Bernice Notenboom and two others attempted to ski from the North Pole to Canada, not to be first but to be one of the last. One hundred kilometers short of the coast, the team is forced to evacuat. Because of climate change, this once achievable route in now becoming impassable on skis.
The melting Arctic sea ice ends Bernice's expedition, but it's creating unparalleled opportunities for another sector: the shipping industry. Ice that once barred easy passage across the Arctic Ocean is receding and a short cut for the 100,000 ships that ply our oceans is becoming viable.
The promise to deliver trade faster and cheaper is the end game of the Northern Sea Route, a shipping route through Russia that cuts 10 days from a trip from China to America and saves 10,000 tonnes of fuel. But the savings come at a price both to human health and the environment. This fact motivates Bernice to embark on another journey. This time she's off to explore the hidden costs of shipping, a massive facet of globalization that virtually all of us rely on yet few know anything about.
The shipping industry is one of the most polluting and until now, unregulated industries in the world. Seventeen of the largest ships emit more sulfur than all the cars in the world and sulfur causes severe health problems. At the same time, ships burn dirty fuel that emits black carbon that in turn accelerates the Greenland ice melt. With 80% of all shipping taking place in the Northern Hemisphere, what will increased shipping mean for our health and for the Arctic? Bernice is determined to find out. We accompany her on a ship inspection, to encounters with shipping insiders, journalists, environmentalsits and world-renowed climate scientists.
Along the way, Bernice discovers a little known fact that has largely alluded mainstream thought; up to forty percent of Arctic melting may be slowed by taking action against black carbon emissions, half of which comes from ships. Experts agree, this is one of our best chances to slow Greenland ice melt and gives us time to prepare for our new warming world.
Sea Blind offers a fascinating, little known narrative while presenting heartening solutions. Ultimately, the film is a cure for Sea Blindness, enabling each of us to become more conscious consumers and more engaged citizens in todays changing world.