The Creature From The Black Lagoon follows a team of scientists who venture into the Amazon to search for the rest of a skeleton that resembles an amphibious creature with a humanoid skeleton. What they don’t realize is Gill-Man is watching their every move from his cavern below. He must endure being shot at, trapped in a net, watching his lagoon be littered with cigarette butts and even poisoned. It’s no wonder he got very angry and started attacking. In fact, our oceans and the creatures that live in it are enduring damage and harm that not even Gill-Man himself could handle.
According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), over 80% of marine pollution comes from land activity. This includes garbage being thrown around and finding its way into the water, oil from spills and runoff and sewage and industrial waste being illegally dumped. Sea creatures such as turtles, eat plastic bags because they confuse them with jellyfish. The bag gets lodged in the turtle’s throat, choking it to death. The plastic rings from soda six-packs choke dolphins and seals to death and cause severe deformities in turtles and other animals who get stuck in them while they are young. Oil does the most damage as it affects every creature in the ocean. Even Gill-Man would not be able to survive an oil spill. The oil would enter his body through his gills, poisoning him. It cakes on to a bird’s feathers causing them to separate, exposing the birds to the elements and severe body temperature change. As the oil or toxin progresses up the food chain through predation, its effects increase to the point that the top predator in that specific food chain will have billions of times higher levels in its body than the ocean it started in.
While they do not look like more than the ocean’s version of a garden, coral reefs are made up of living creatures. Unfortunately, they are not immune from the damage that has been done to their watery home. Pollution and temperature change cause what is known as coral bleaching. This happens when the algae living on the coral endures stress due to a environmental change and leaves the coral. The coral turns pale white and is now exposed to the elements and runs a higher risk of disease and possibly death. Just as Gill-Man survived in his cavern and among the plants at the bottom of the lagoon, millions of creatures use the reefs to survive as well. If we lose the reefs, we lose millions of creatures with them.
When Gill-Man appeared to Dr. Maia’s (Antonio Moreno) assistants, it could be argued that he was curious as to what these strange beings were doing in his territory. The men did not see it that way and he was met with fear and violence, causing him to attack the men. When he is attracted to Kay (Julie Adams), there is nothing conclusive he wanted to do any harm to her yet he is fought off by Dr. Reed (Richard Carlson) and Dr. Williams (Richard Denning). If any sea creature knows what Gill-Man was going through, it’s a shark. They are painted as the monsters of the ocean who only exist to kill and eat other animals…including people. In reality, this is quite the opposite. Humans have killed more sharks than sharks have killed humans. The International Shark Attack File shows as of February 2016, there have been 2,862 confirmed shark attacks worldwide since 1580 which amounts to an estimated 7 shark attacks on people per year. This is nothing in comparison with the millions of sharks killed by people each year to the point many species are on the verge of extinction. Sharks are caught, have their fins cut off and are thrown back in the ocean…still alive. Shark fins are a luxury in some parts of the world but many countries are starting to ban their trade and shipments.
The ocean is vital to the survival of our planet. When one species dies, the rest begin to die with them, creating a deadly domino effect. If the ocean dies, we die too. From reading this article or watching Shark Week, you may think we know all there is to know about the ocean but less than five percent of the ocean has been explored by man. Who knows what the other 95% of it holds. For all we know, Gill-Man may exist down there with his Gill-Woman and Gill-Children. So, the next time you are watching The Creature From The Black Lagoon or Jaws, keep this article in mind, do some research and say to yourself, “What would I do if I were in his situation?” Maybe we can change the world by seeing things through Gill-Man’s eyes or the shark’s eyes. Speaking of research, here are some more sites dedicated to the ocean and ocean conservation:
When it comes to the ocean, we’re the guests in someone else’s home. Let’s keep it clean and show it respect!
(Joe Grodensky – @JoeGrodensky)