5 Reasons to watch Chasing Coral

5 Reasons to watch Chasing Coral

By Summer Johnson – Marketing Specialist, Parrott Aquatic

Chasing Coral, global warming, coral bleaching

“Without a healthy ocean, we do not have a healthy planet.” – Chasing Coral 


My name is Summer, and I’m the Marketing Specialist for Parrott Aquatic. I was on the hunt for some juicy new content to write for you guys but had trouble finding inspiration. It only made sense to plop down on my couch and turn on Netflix, but I wasn’t expecting what I found.

Chasing Coral is a visually stunning, in-depth documentary explaining the impact of global warming on coral reefs. I know what you’re thinking: “I’ve heard all this before…” (*Cue overly-dramatic eye-roll*.) I was right there with you. But I needed a break from combing through opinionated aquarium forums for traces of factual news. Little did I know what I would learn.

5 Reasons to Watch Chasing Coral:

  1. Education. Chasing Coral discusses the basics of global warming we may have forgotten. As a whole, it outlines the past, present, and potential future of our oceans. It also explains coral anatomy and coral bleaching.
  2. Imagery. Although it’s not the happiest subject, the underwater footage in Chasing Coral will not disappoint.
  3. Technology. The Exposure Lab Productions crew explains the challenges the faced when designing custom time-lapse cameras for the film. The technology and engineering used to develop the equipment are impressive.
  4. Empowerment. Although you may not live near the ocean, the film empowers you to take action. It also highlights what you can do to be a part of the solution.
  5. Expectations. You’ll also learn what to expect for the future of our corals and others who rely on our oceans.

Richard Vevers worked in advertising for over 15 years, and he loves the ocean. He watches the slow decline of his favorite diving spot and questions why no one has taken action.  Vevers draws upon his advertising experience to conclude the lack of action is because the public isn’t receiving the message correctly. So he decides to do something about it.

While brainstorming ideas, Vevers watches the film Chasing Ice. The film explains how rising temperatures from climate change are melting ice glaciers.  To prove the point, the film features beautiful time-lapse footage of ice glaciers melting. Vevers identifies several common denominators between the two environmental issues. He decides time-lapse footage is the most convincing way to deliver the message about climate change to the public. He reaches out to the producer of Chasing Ice to help replicate time-lapse video of coral reefs.


Coral Bleaching

So what does global warming actually do to coral? The short answer: Coral bleaching.

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The film explains coral bleaching happens in phases. Once bleaching occurs, it’s very unlikely for corals to come back.  Because corals have such a complex symbiotic relationship, it’s probably best to let the charts below explain the details of coral bleaching.

 

Coral bleaching, global warming, chasing coral

My Love for the Ocean: 

I suppose I should tell you a little bit about history with the ocean to understand how this film influenced me. My happiest childhood memories come from vacations with my family in Key West.
 
We visited the Keys every couple of years. During each vacation, we snorkeled every day on the rocks at Fort Zachary Taylor State Park, and we made one trip on a glass-bottom boat to snorkel on a reef off the coast.
 
The first time I snorkeled was in the mid-late 90s, and it was breathtaking. I saw purple fan coral, red Fire Coral, stingrays, sharks, and tons of colorful, vibrant fish.
 
(I wish I had that picture of Dad and little-me from one of our trips. I wore a blue, one-piece bathing suit with bright yellow flowers on it. My hair was bleached from the sun. We were both in the water with our snorkel gear on, and Dad’s thick mustache curled over his mouthpiece. I know it’s buried somewhere in my parents’ basement.)
 
But on my next visit, the reef seemed a little less lively. It didn’t seem as big, the coral wasn’t as colorful, and a lot of fish were gone. I figured it must have been my naïve childhood mind that remembered everything more vibrantly than it was. But as I continued visiting as an adult, it became very clear how much my favorite waters had changed.
 
Although I had heard about global warming, I suppose I thought it wasn’t happening in Florida. I thought it was happening everywhere else, but Florida. I didn’t know global warming had already caused irreversible damage to my favorite vacation spot.
 
After watching the film, I cried when I realized my favorite place from my happiest childhood memories is almost completely gone.
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Based on the film, a jaw-dropping 70-90% of Florida’s coral reefs are gone, and it happened right before my eyes.

Nothing will replace my memories of snorkeling in the Keys. I wrench at the fact I won’t be able to share my favorite snorkeling experiences in Florida with anyone else.


Conclusions: 

“Are we going to have the courage to save the next ecosystem down the line?”

Chasing Coral

Experts are hopeful there is still time to save what is left of our reefs if humans, as a whole, make drastic changes now. Personally, I believe we are out of time.

The film claims we’ve lost 50% of the world’s coral reefs in the last 30 years, including 30% of the Great Barrier Reef in 2016. My interpretation of this statistic: if worldwide action isn’t taken immediately, we will lose the remaining 50% of our coral reefs in the next 30 years.

According to the documentary, coral reefs will be extinct in 25-30 years, and oceans will be too warm for future growth. 

Please forgive my skepticism, but as I understand it, the next steps are

  1. Globally educating as many people as possible,
  2. Changing their deeply-rooted cultural and non-cultural habits,
  3. And redesigning industrialism around the world to be more environmentally friendly in less than 30 years.

How are we to do this if there are still people in the U.S. who don’t believe in global warming? (*Face-palm. Yep, those people still exist.  You can read about them here & here).

If you’re like me, and you don’t think it can be accomplished, we still cannot let an entire CLASS of organisms – not just a Genus or single species, but an entire CLASS of organisms – become extinct without notice. Even if we can’t stop it, it’s important to advocate for our oceans to set an example for next generations to prevent future mass extinctions.   

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If you’re wondering what you can do to help save our oceans, logon to https://www.chasingcoral.com/take-action  right now to find updates, host screenings, become a Chasing Coral Ambassador, and more.


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