Chasing Coral – Movie Screening

ROBERTA MAGGI
COMMITTEE MEMBER

On the 12th of December 2017, the EC hosted its second movie screening of the academic year. Around twenty students gathered to watch the Netflix Original documentary Chasing Coral, produced and directed by Jeff Orlowski, and released in July 2017.

The documentary features a team of divers, photographers and scientists set out on a journey to document the disappearance of the world’s coral reefs. The documentary provides viewers with a series of alarming facts about a problem that, for most, seems to be “out of sight, out of mind”. There is no doubt that the disappearance of the world’s corals is a result of global climate change, the film argues: 93% of the rise in temperatures is absorbed by the oceans, thus making the seas the locus of the most indisputable damage. The majority of the documentary focuses on the gravity of the issue; since Australia’s massive Great Barrier Reef lost nearly a third of its coral in 2016, there is a constant sense of urgency as documenting the disappearance of corals is, in fact, a race against time. This seemed appropriate to many students, since the most pessimistic predictions indicate that the disappearance of coral reefs could mean the collapse of the whole global ecosystem.

Once the documentary ended, students gathered around some fruit and snacks, as well as some locally brewed biological beer produced in the neighbouring Pays de Gex (France), to discuss its content and share their thoughts. During these discussions, many students highlighted their disappointment in the documentary ending on an upbeat note (by asserting the possibility of restoring coral life through changes in human behaviour), especially after portraying the issue with the appropriate amount of urgency. Overall, there was consensus regarding the spectacular images shown in the documentary (thus showing the Chasing Coral team reached their primary goal of documenting the impact of climate change on corals through photography), and everyone left the screening more aware of the issues our oceans are facing due to climate change.

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