SOME HAPPY THAT A FAMILY FILM FLAUNTS DIER FACTS
The Boston Globe, John Donnelly, December 6, 2006
Washington -- Michael Hirshfield has long struggled to get across his earnest but wonky message: that global warming and overfishing are killing off the oceans' food supply.
Then, along came the animated movie "Happy Feet" and, voila, tens of millions of youngsters -- and their parents -- across the country are suddenly aware that man-made problems are threatening the penguins near the South Pole, and almost everything else in the South Seas.
The blockbuster film, the top box-office hit for the past three weekends, is about emperor penguins struggling to survive with a depleted food supply, and one tap-dancing penguin's epic search to learn what is causing the colony's fish to disappear.
"It's huge to be able to start a conversation that doesn't have to go into a boring, scientific food-web explanation, and just say, 'You know, like 'Happy Feet,' " said Hirshfield, the Washington-based chief scientist at Oceana, an ocean protection advocacy group. "And everyone will get it."
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