Travel blogger-turned-activist uses VR to teach conservation to children in remote corners of the world. During her trip to the far-flung Banda Islands of Indonesia in April 2018, Anastasia from the Frugal Hedonist blog, worked with VR to show local children the dangers of ocean pollution.
Anastasia was filming underwater 360 videos on coral reefs around Banda islands when she discovered the terrible condition of many reefs. “The Banda Sea is part of the Coral Triangle and is exceptional in its biodiversity. Unfortunately, the ocean is under extreme pressure from human activity and pollution in these areas. There seems to be very little environmental awareness. "I was devastated to find so much dead coral and plastic drifting about in the ocean,” says Anastasia.
Using her underwater footage shot using the Ricoh Theta V and VUZE+ cameras, she created a short 360 film which contracts a healthy reef with one that is destroyed. Working together with a local school, she presented the VR experience using her VEER headset to a group of 30 children aged between 6 and 10. For most of them, this was their first time “underwater”.
Following the experience, the teacher spoke to the children about the dangers of pollution, plastic, and the significance of ocean health for our planet. The film made a huge impression on the children. They agreed in unison that they were very sad to see the dead coral reefs and are going to protect the healthy ones from suffering the same fate.
Anastasia is now working on producing a longer piece to showcase across schools in her country and globally, in hopes that it will help raise awareness on the importance of ocean health in the younger generations.
Anastasia started working with VR as part of her eco-luxury travel blog (frugalhedonist.net). Her collaborations include many renowned brands across Europe and Africa. She was a volunteer for Marine Megafauna Foundation, spending three months on the coast of Mozambique, where she filmed and wrote about the foundation’s work. Her 360 films have received international recognition, including the “Best VR Travel Experience 2018” and runner-up in the “Best Non-Profit VR Experience” at VR Festival 2018 in Las Vegas
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