Out of sight, out of mind is a curse affecting our environment. It is the reason that relationships can fade and a reason why we are so disconnected from certain parts of the world. Humans struggle to connect with unseen ecosystems even when they are screaming for attention. We must bring these places into sight to keep them in mind. An epic leader on this front is Faine Loubser, a young woman who grew up in South Africa and showcased the alluring ocean through passionate photography and filmmaking. Her goal is to encourage the rest of us to emotionally connect with these vital parts of the earth and build a relationship with areas we do not get to experience as often as her.
Faine Pearl Loubser is a slightly elusive young free diver, environmental storyteller, conservationist, and content creator who is bringing us into her daily life with visual media. Faine produced the film Azilali: They do not sleep, an underwater nature documentary, A Prickly Affair, which won the N.E.W. Pitch 2019, and most recently, the Netflix documentary focused on emotional ecology, My Octopus Teacher. Each of these captivating films take place in the South African Cape Peninsula kelp forest. If you scroll through her social media, you’ll find the waterscape theme showing off the rich life swimming in the kelp forest.
There is an emotional ebb and flow in her feelings towards her content as she struggles to ensure it is not adding to the superficiality of social media, which we often see with content creation. Many are guilty of endless dopamine-induced scrolling, and this is what Faine wants to disrupt with her photos and videos. Connecting people emotionally to the ocean and encouraging deep, meaningful relationships between humans and the environment can be done through tactful imagery and art. Making behavioral shifts in how humans connect with and see the natural world is easier when there is an emotional component. Faine’s photos and films convey passionate stories that benefit any viewer that takes the time to absorb the beauty and power. She brings us with her into the swaying kelp home to environmental diversity, unlike any other place. The soulful practices Faine uses in her work have positive impacts on our wellbeing. We can change the negative narrative that is built around social media platforms with this type of intentional content she graciously offers to us.
Protecting the kelp forests along the coast of South Africa is expanding in its efforts due to our ability to see and experience the life that flourishes there through cinematography and photography. Two conservation organizations Faine’s work supports are the Sea Change Project and Forest of the Sea, which amplifies the effort to give these underwater forest ecosystems the attention they are owed.
The Sea Change Project is a nonprofit organization created by two of her close friends who bring together filmmakers, scientists, philosophers, and journalists with the common goal of recognizing the Cape Peninsula Kelp Forest as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This influential group works for the name Great African Seaforest so that area can earn recognition for its role in our oceans. There is power in a name. Naming this essential part of the ocean ecosystem opens political and cultural space for a deeper connection and ignites the emotional response to protect.
Forest of the Sea has a shared passion for recognition and protection of the kelp forests but ties in the element of indigenous life and expands its coverage to all underwater kelp forests across the planet. Restoration is the main goal of Forest of the Sea due to the acknowledgment that these submerged forests are disappearing at a rate faster than the rainforests on land. One is no more valuable than the other; the relationship between submerged and terrestrial environments is inextricable. Forest of the Sea seeks to offer kelp forests around the world the scientific exploration, protection, and value it deserves.
Faine Pearl Loubser is focused on deep passion and emotional connection to the blue waters that support planetary health, not only for herself but for all of us. Through conscious art, she gives humans an opportunity to see a world that is out of focus for the general population. She is someone who understands the importance of soulful, conscious actions between humans and the environment. Take a moment to absorb the power in her images and videos to feel the connection to the vast blue ocean and the life it supports (including your own).
Explore and support the effort of the Sea Change Project and Forest of the Seas.
Emerge yourself into emotional ecology by experiencing the film, My Octopus Teacher.
Make conscious decisions about what you choose to have in your social media feed.
Allow yourself the time to build an intentional and soulful connection with the natural environments that surround and support us.