The documentary “Chasing Coral”, published today on Netflix, opens, appropriately, with coral formations of images of various shapes and sizes, all magnificent, loaded with a range of colors so vivid that it seems to pulsate.
Other formations are a uniform hybrid purple, green and gray. This is not the stealth stone nor do you wear camouflage. It is a dead coral. What is a problem.
The first voice we hear is the Richard Vevers sailing and long amateur sailing. He remembers the years he spent at an advertising agency in London, where he was good at his job, and how he believes what he was doing was trivial.
He decided to apply the communication skills he learned in his professional life to his passion and created a company that has studied the world’s oceans and created “virtual” dives using special cameras.
The story of a company man who left the business world to devote his energies to something more wonderful is not new.
But Vevers was alarmed by something in his new line of work: the “bleaching” of corals and subsequent death, a phenomenon driven by an increase of two degrees of water temperature.
The results are not only visually unpleasant, they are environmentally catastrophic.
Vevers was not the first to notice. A climate scientist, who warned the world of coral bleaching in the early 1990s, recalls how he was sent as an alarmist.
But Vevers was captured by the idea of documenting the phenomenon, which makes the film a suspenseful scientific story, as a team develops the necessary equipment and started on the reefs around the world to record damages.
If you are not educated in marine biology, you see a coral reef as an unusual form of plant life. This is not the case. This is animal life, and the film offers a simple explanation of how coral works.
Macro photography of coral polyps, including thousands exceeding any given coral formation, gives more fascinating images like anything in science fiction films. However, it is part of our real world.
In his explanation of how corals feed and how other forms of feeding marine life in or around coral, the film gives an understanding of how humans are also relying on coral.
We are aware of what is going to die. What is at stake is much more than an attractive attraction for dive tourists.
In the 2012 documentary “Chasing Ice” director Jeff Orlowski followed a National Geographic photographer on a project to document climate change affecting the Arctic glaciers.
Vevers puts in contact Orlowski, who agreed to make a film about the crisis of corals. With a similar title, “Chasing Coral” is a kind of “ice” sequel.
“We had not planned to do a series,” Orlowski said in a telephone interview.
“Doing ‘Chasing Ice’ really did wake me up to the urgency of the climate change problem, and this seemed like an opportunity to tell a new story, and one that looked very different….