Fish Are Friends. And Yes, Sharks Count.

Environment, film

Summer wouldn’t be the same without those quintessential blockbuster hits that we all know and love. Jaws, one of the most prominent and successful blockbuster films of all time, reeled in $14 million in its first weekend back in 1975. Though the film came out more than 40 years ago, its impact has been everlasting—in a very negative way.

A preview for the upcoming film The Meg, —a term short for Megalodon, the largest prehistoric shark in the world—reminded me of the messaging behind Jaws. If you haven’t seen the preview yet, think Jaws, but with a submarine instead of a boat.

While these films can be fun and thrilling to watch, they send a terrible message about these astonishing sea creatures. Sharks are dubbed as “killing machines” or “deadly predators” when really sharks are nothing to fear. In fact, sharks should be fearing us. In 2013, Marine Policy reported that roughly 100 million sharks are killed by humans annually. And how many humans are killed from shark attacks annually? About five. According to National Geographic, you have a 1 in 63 chance of dying from the flu and a 1 in 3,700,000 chance of being killed by a shark during your lifetime.

When we negatively depict something, we don’t care what happens to it. In fact, we often go out of our way to cause harm. Now due to overfishing and human-caused climate change, a variety of shark species are endangered, ranging from vulnerable to critical. We need to protect these creatures with all of our being, along with the numerous other endangered species on the planet.

We’re in the midst of the one week completely dedicated to these super swimmers—and yes, I’m talking about Shark Week. I encourage you to take the time to learn about the various species of sharks (there are hundreds!) and appreciate them for what they are and offer. In order to protect something, we first must love and understand it.

Look, I’m not saying you can’t support films like Jaws and The Meg, though that wouldn’t be the worst idea. However, if you do decide to support these films and others like them, please don’t support the negative messaging. Sharks are widely misunderstood, just like some of us humans out there. Give them a chance.


To learn more, tune into Shark Week on Discovery Channel or check out some of these other resources below:

Have a fin-tastic #SharkWeek!

Diving Into National Geographic’s Encounter: Ocean Odyssey

Blog, Environment, Science

It’s not every day that you can hop on the subway, head to Times Square, and submerge yourself hundreds of feet below sea level. Thanks to National Geographic’s Encounter: Ocean Odyssey, an interactive and immersive underwater adventure, swimming with sea life has never been easier.

From the moment you step through the aqua-colored mist, it’s clear you’ve left Manhattan and embarked on a journey like no other. Nat Geo’s Encounter guides you from the South Pacific to the West Coast of North America, bringing a better understanding of the magnificent life we’ve discovered and the excitement and mystery of all that remains unknown.

The best part about Ocean Odyssey is the all-ages access pass to some of the world’s most beautiful, but dangerous places. This experience provides fun for the entire family. No waivers necessary. As a 23-year-old nature enthusiast, I can admit that I had just as much fun as the four-year-old explorer stomping around as the bioluminescent coral changed color around her.


While Ocean Odyssey serves as an educational experience about ocean life, this isn’t the typical exhibit-style museum trip. Nat Geo provides meaningful and engaging experiences, like a kelp forest maze, a sea lion training encounter, a 3D ride through a school of fish, and a room full of games and quizzes to keep your wits sharp. Every station gives visitors a sense of how these aquatic creatures live, thrive, and survive in their environments.

I would be remiss to exclude the overarching theme of advocacy and activism throughout the encounter. Nat Geo takes a subject as complicated as climate change and conveys the issue in a way that anyone could understand. There are many moments, both subtle and obvious, that prove how important and urgent human action continues to be. Luckily, there are numerous ways to engage and get involved with important issues like coral bleaching, pollution, and plastic use from signing pledges and promising to make small changes to sharing newfound knowledge with friends and family. Everyone at this encounter can make a difference, and any difference is commendable.

National Geographic has always been and continues to be an environmental organization very close to my heart. It educates young minds of the most critical environmental issues of our time and encourages action and change for the better. I will always support this amazing work and I hope you will too.

Tickets start at $32.50 and can be purchased here.

A portion of the proceeds will support National Geographic Society’s nonprofit work in conservation, exploration, research, and education.