The documentary “My Octopus Teacher” shows that living close to nature helps us to develop antiracist behaviour

Nature teaches us to observe and be patient

By bringing his body into the ocean every day, Craig Foster’s enthusiasm for filming grows back after his two years of burnout recovery. He builds a relationship with wildlife, with an octopus in this case who he meets daily on the exact same spot on the bottom of the ocean. The octopus is fearful in the beginning but gets touchy with him later on and the bond with her brings him to tears. It’s beautiful to witness that we as human beings can be that close to an animal. Especially to an octopus who is much more out of reach than a cat or a dog. It’s an unusual friendship but Foster filmed it so beautifully that you never doubt the realness of it all.

The diversity of the underwater world is healing

“My Octopus Teacher” not only shows an incredible contact between a human being and a wild sea animal, but it also shows the amazing diversity in underwater life. Spectacular coloured fish and plants, some even regularly changing their skin colour and outside looks. Even though it’s sad to witness the sharks hunting the octopus, the situation never feels at war with the law of nature. The ocean flows undisturbed, moving the forest at the bottom and letting the animals hunt or play with each other, like paradise.

We get disconnected from nature

Being in Bali, in the countryside, close to nature, makes me realize that specifically. It feels unnatural to spend a lot of time on digital devices and once you start to connect to nature more often — by taking walks or enjoying the sounds of nature — it attracts you more often.

Nature teaches us to do good in the world

Now is the time to get that connection back. Because the law of nature doesn’t just apply to nature, it applies to human life as well. Our breathing is an example of that, we can influence it but we can’t really change it. By observing our breath like we’re observing ocean life the connection between our body and mind gets restored.

  • Observe instead of reacting
  • Don’t make it about you
  • Look at what we have in common, instead of what separates us from each other
  • Be curious in the other

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Sanne Breimer

Sanne Breimer


Exploring the solutions to the lack of inclusion in journalism, focusing on decolonising journalism and discussing whiteness, Eurocentrism and objectivity.