Aardman Animations and Greenpeace UK have released a new video to highlight the plight of the oceans, starring Stranger Things’ David Harbour and Game of Thrones’ Bella Ramsey, as well as Oscar-winners Olivia Colman and Helen Mirren.

Award-winning studio Aardman, makers of Wallace and Gromit, Chicken Run, and Shaun the Sheep, have teamed up with Greenpeace UK to create a powerful short film showing the threats our oceans are facing, and the importance of protecting them. The film, Turtle Journey, tells the heartbreaking story of a turtle family attempting to get home, in an ocean that is under increasing threat from climate change, plastic pollution, oil drilling, and overfishing.

Aardman’s distinctive blend of dry humor and painstakingly crafted stop-motion animation are seen in a new light in this short film, as they tackle the crisis facing the planet’s oceans. The film ends with an urgent call for global action to protect the oceans.

The full animated film, Turtle Journey, is available to watch here.

Oscar winning actor Olivia Colman, voicing the turtle family’s mother, said:

“Home is the most important thing we have. A safe space for us and our family to live. But we’re taking that away from turtles, whales, penguins and so many other incredible animals. Most of us instinctively love the oceans and care about the amazing marine life that lives there, but far fewer people know how much pressure they are under. If we don’t act now we risk causing irreversible harm to our oceans and losing species for good.

“I’m thrilled to have worked on this heartbreaking film with Greenpeace and Aardman – it’s so important. Our oceans face so many threats, some I wasn’t even aware of before this, and sadly the story of this turtle family trying to get home in a damaged and changing ocean is a reality for so many marine creatures that are having their habitats destroyed by human activities. I hope this film inspires more people to take action to protect our oceans.”

Will McCallum, Head of Oceans at Greenpeace UK, said:

“Governments have talked for too long, without delivering the level of protection our oceans need to regain health after decades of destructive human activity. The time for talk is over. We now need urgent global action to fully protect 30% of the world’s oceans, a target agreed by scientists as the minimum that marine life needs to recover.

“Governments have a chance to turn rhetoric and empty words into action at the United Nations this year when they meet to agree on a new Global Ocean Treaty. A strong treaty would provide a framework for the fully protected marine sanctuaries our oceans need. A weak treaty will maintain the status quo: a broken, fragmented system of ocean governance that’s already caused untold harm to our oceans. History will judge our governments for their actions this year – they must protect our oceans.”

Bella Ramsey of Game of Thrones, and voice of the turtle family’s daughter, said:

“When I’m older, what will the oceans look like? I want my generation and every future generation to experience healthy, thriving oceans that are full of life and are a safe home for beautiful and important creatures like turtles. But I’m worried this won’t be possible. In my short lifetime, our ocean has already been damaged on a scale many people didn’t think possible when I was born.

“We need to act, or it will be too late. Future generations will be living out the consequences of what we do, or don’t do, right now. Will governments sit idly by while our oceans are destroyed, or will they leave a legacy of healthy, protected oceans that can be admired by all, now and in the future? The eyes of the world and of all our descendants are on our governments. We, individually, need to play our part but they, collectively, must act now to create positive, lasting and dramatic change. Don’t just listen, do something about it”

Oscar-winning actor Dame Helen Mirren, the voice of the turtle family’s grandmother, said:

“During my lifetime, I’ve seen nature being destroyed on an unimaginable scale by human activity. I’m saddened that our generation will leave to future generations a damaged planet, which has already lost so much of the biodiversity that makes it special. However, we have a chance to do something now and leave a legacy of properly protected oceans to all the people who come after us.

“We can’t bring back what we’ve already lost, but we can protect what we still have. I hope this film will help to make more people realise the ocean is worth protecting, and inspires us to act before it’s too late.”

Gavin Strange, the film’s director, said:

“I wanted to tell a personal yet universal story of family, loss and hope to best connect with audiences around the world. It was an absolute dream to work with such a talented crew of animators, artists and creators here at Aardman, manipulating clay and pixels to make such a nuanced and delicate piece of animation. Brought to life by a stellar cast of world-class voice talent and then topped off by a simply sublime score from Arthur Jeffe’s Penguin Cafe, I am immensely proud of what we’ve all made together.”

Jim Carter of Downton Abbey and the turtle family’s grandfather said:
“This heartbreaking story of a turtle family trying to get home through an ocean in crisis should resonate with anyone watching it. We all live in a world that has been changed enormously by human activity, and this reality is as true for marine animals like the turtles in Turtle Journey as it is for us humans on land.”

Aardman’s film was produced for Greenpeace’s global Protect the Oceans campaign. Greenpeace is calling for 30% of the world’s oceans to be fully protected in a network of ocean sanctuaries by 2030. A strong Global Ocean Treaty, currently under discussion at the United Nations, is a vital first step towards achieving this target.

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