Think of the very well-known Disney movie Finding Nemo, or think of another Disney movie, The Little Mermaid... how colourful and bright everything was. How scary is it knowing that all of it is dying? We have lost 80-90% of Coral in Florida alone since the 1970's, and that to me is terrifying. Chasing Coral* is a 2017 Netflix Original documentary made by the awesome American filmmaker Jeff Orlowski and I wanted to make this blog post to explain to everyone why it's so important to take the time to watch it.
Coral reefs around the world are vanishing at an unprecedented rate. Divers, photographers and scientists set out on an ocean adventure to discover why the reefs are disappearing and to reveal the underwater mystery to the world.
Richard Vevers an underwater photographer, lived and worked in London as an ad man for ten years. He has been diving into our beautiful oceans since the age of sixteen years old and decided one year that is was going to explore the reason why his favourite animal was dying and on his journey wondered that if this was happening to his favourite animal, what other animals is this happening to?
"When you look at our planet, it's unique in the universe because we've got an ocean that is the source of life. And it controls everything. It controls the weather. It controls the climate. It controls the oxygen we breathe. Without a healthy ocean, we do not have a healthy planet. How do you communicate these issues?" - Richard Vevers
What is Coral? Why is it so important to the earth?
A coral is a live animal with lots of polyps.
"A coral individual is really made up of thousands of small structures called polyps. Each polyp is a circular mouth, surrounded by tentacles and they can combine to be millions of them across a single animal. They have inside their tissues, small plants, these micro algae a million per centimetre squared. The plants that live inside them photosynthesize and the animal use that for their food. They essentially have food factories living inside of themselves. So as the animal grows, what you see is the animal growing over the skeleton and depositing the skeleton underneath it. They photosynthesize during the day. And at night, the planets are essentially asleep and the animal comes active. They expand their polyps. The tentacles come out. And now anything that swims by is caught by these stinging cells that are the tips of the tentacles. There are many different species of corals, and the different species of corals are different shapes. Some are very boring to look at, they look like big rocks on the bottom. Some are incredibly beautiful to look at. They have huge, huge branching patterns or massive plates. Some of them have petals of a flower. These are foundation species. They have all these other organisms that depend on them. They are the reason we have reefs."
"We look at climate change as if it's an issue in the air. And you go, "One or two degrees Celsius? Does that really matter?" But when you talk about the ocean... it's like your body temperature changes. And imagine your body temperature rises one-degree centigrade or two degrees centigrade. Over a period of time, that would be fatal. And that's the seriousness of the issue when you look at it in terms of the ocean." - Richard Vevers
What are your thoughts on the Coral dying?
With love, Alisha Valerie. x