AFP, Posted on Saturday, January 21, 2023 at 10:56 am
American actor Jason Momoa, who played the superhero of the seas in the movie “Aquaman”, raised the alarm against the dangers of seabed mining at the Sundance Film Festival on Friday.
The Hawaiian-born actor is the narrator of Deep Rising, one of the most anticipated documentaries of the festival, which exposes the race of big industrial groups to search for rare metals in the abyss.
The deep seabed, which absorbs large amounts of carbon dioxide, is greedy for deposits of rare metals used in industrial and electronic applications.
Proponents of seabed mining argue that harvesting polymetallic nodules, including nickel and cobalt used in car batteries, can help reduce dependence on fossil fuels.
But environmentalists and scientists fear the degradation of marine ecosystems, which play an important role in climate regulation, in addition to the risks to vulnerable species in these areas. Several countries have called for a moratorium or ban on this exploitation.
Speaking to AFP ahead of the film’s world premiere at a festival in Utah, USA, Jason Momoa said, “There were times when I cried and got emotional.”-United.
“Using your power for good is so important. That’s all that fascinates me,” adds the actor, who took courses in marine biology during his studies and was named an Ambassador for Underwater Life by the United Nations Environment Programme.
The documentary follows key players in the emerging industry, such as Canada’s TMC (The Metals Company). The latter received its first “trial permit” from the Kingston, Jamaica-headquartered International Seabed Authority (AIFM) last September to mine 3,600 tonnes of metal in the Clarion Clipperton zone (Pacific Ocean) near Hawaii.
– “New oil” –
Gerard Barron, the group’s chief executive, shows what’s going on behind the scenes, assuring investors that “the most barren and desolate part of the planet” will suffer little damage compared to the damage the mining industry has done to the rainforest.
“We know very little about the real risks to the seabed,” Matthieu Rytz, director of Deep Rising, told AFP.
“Removing the seabed is just too hasty because we don’t have enough science yet to understand what’s going on there.”
However, TMC expects to extract ten million tons of material annually from the seabed from 2025. commercial scale.
Matthieu Rytz’s documentary argues that there is no “miracle solution” to the energy crisis. The competition for it is only “new oil” and may lead to wars for access to resources in the future.
The film shows the meetings of the AIFM, described by Matthieu Rytz as “a dark room in Kingston, Jamaica”, where delegates decide on “the future of 65% of the planet’s surface”.
“We are talking about the high seas, it is beyond national jurisdictions,” he insists. “It’s all for us or no one.”
In the film, Matthieu Rytz talks to scientists about why alternative, cleaner and more abundant energy sources like hydrogen can be explored for the automotive industry, or different options like high-speed rail can be further developed.
“First, we don’t need these metals,” he said. “These places we are going to remove are a complete disaster. There is no half disaster. It is like destroying a tropical forest.”
For Jason Momoa, when watching this film, “you have to ask yourself questions, discuss it and say to yourself: + we have to rethink everything +”.