A NEW feature film highlighting the need for greater protection of the world's oceans will be screened in Ballarat this week.
The Map to Paradise tells the tale of the birth of the global movement to protect our oceans and takes viewers on a spectacular journey across six continents, from underwater worlds of ice and coral sanctuaries to the headquarters of the United Nations.
Through a colourful depiction of personal stories and hand-rendered animations, the film challenges the common "doom and gloom" narrative often seen in other environmental documentaries by offering an inspiring message of hope and courage by outlining the different initiatives building and creating positive change across the globe.
The film features a range of talent - Prince Albert II of Monaco, the President of Palau, National Geographic Explorer Enric Sala and the film's executive producer and Hollywood Actor Martin Sheen - all who are playing parts in the quest to save the planet.
The film underlines that paradise already exists on earth but it needs to be protected before it's too late.
Currently only three and a half per cent of the ocean is protected compared to 15 per cent of land. While the United Nations has set a target to protect 10 per cent of the ocean by 2020, scientists recommend that 30 per cent should be protected by 2030 to prevent reaching dangerous levels of global warming and halt the mass extinction crisis.
Before the screening, a question and answer session will be hosted with Gayle Osborne from Wombat Forest Care, who has been advocating for protection of Wombat Forest for decades, and Cherie Draper who is involved with the Ballarat Environment Network and Regional Sustainability Alliance Ballarat.
During the session, the ways in which nature is being protected in the Ballarat region will be discussed.
Ms Osborne said it was important to integrate activities and farming with management for nature.
"This is confirmed by a United Nations working group, which has called for 30 per cent of the planet to be managed for nature by 2030," Ms Osborne said. "Protecting the Wombat Forest and other western forests is a step towards this"
Ms Osborne has long campaigned to protect the forest.
"The Wombat Forest is home to a number of threatened species, including the beautiful Greater Glider. This is the western edge of its range and the only population west of the Hume Highway. Throughout their range, their numbers are decreasing by eight per cent a year, but hopefully the Wombat population is stable."
Ms Draper said being involved in the session would be a great opportunity to share some of the environmental and sustainability initiatives already occurring locally.
"When people look at environmental issues there is a lot of doom and gloom to be concerned about that sometimes makes people feel powerless but everybody can make a difference, even if it is only one small part, it's one small part that fills one big hole.
"There is a lot of doom and gloom but there is also a lot of hope and opportunity. There is a lot to be optimistic about."
The Map to Paradise will be screened at the Ballarat Mechanics Institute on Wednesday, July 10. Tickets available from the Map to Paradise website.
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