It is my honor to be writing for the Center for Biological Diversity, whose shiny new publication, The Revelator, looks quite promising. My first piece is an interview with the fearless Jeff Orlowski, director of Chasing Ice, and now, Chasing Coral. We spoke before about his previous film, which like his new one chronicles humanity’s self-inflicted race against extinction. Chasing Coral proves there is only one clear winner: Our mad Earth, who is tired of our bullshit.
Chasing Coral and Ice, Running Out of Time
“Without a healthy ocean, we do not have a healthy planet,” explains Richard Vevers, founder of a nonprofit called The Ocean Agency, at the outset of director Jeff Orlowski’s sobering new documentary Chasing Coral. The ocean, he says, “controls the weather, the climate, the oxygen we breathe.”
But despite the ocean’s existential role in planetary health, many people have no idea we’re currently engineering the extinction of aquatic life around the globe. That includes our monumental coral reefs, often referred to as the “rainforests of the sea,” about which we know quite little and won’t have much time to learn, because climate change is killing them faster than we can study them.
And what we have recently learned about reef extinction is partially thanks to Vevers, one of Chasing Coral’s chief subjects, whose stunning 360-degree image surveys of ravaged coral in 13 countries provide some of the documentary’s most powerful moments.
Orlowski’s award-winning 2012 documentary Chasing Ice painstakingly documented the titanic collapse of glaciers across the Arctic. When Vevers screened that movie, he knew he’d found the filmmaker who could communicate the accelerating madness of global warming and our responsibility for creating and solving it.