Chasing Coral Up Close

What do being 9 and 13 years old, having a deep love of animals, the documentary film Chasing Coral, and a snorkel add up to?

At first glance I couldn’t have imagined these things fit together at all, nor could I have predicted that last month I would be on a snorkeling trip with my family in the Red Sea and see, up close and personal, the profound connections documentary film would have on my own family’s lives.

Image of pier out onto the Red Sea, June 2017. 

Image of pier out onto the Red Sea, June 2017. 

But here I was listening to my kids be in awe of the coral, the fish, the colors as the entire world beneath the surface of the water was coming alive.They would snorkel a bit, pop their heads up and ask so many questions about the kinds of corals and fish they were seeing but also about the actual health of the corals. Are these reefs being affected by rising ocean temperatures? Is there coral bleaching here? How would we know?

Certainly coral bleaching was not a topic of conversation at our kitchen table prior to seeing Chasing Coral, even with their dad working in the renewable energy field. We live in a landlocked state surrounded by the natural beauty of the Rocky Mountains. We spend a great deal of time in the outdoors being stewards of our natural world but this was the first time my children were seeing coral reefs outside of a visit to an aquarium.  I was moved to tears watching them discover this underwater world for the first time, yet hearing their questions and fear about coral bleaching was heartbreaking.

Two years ago when we first met Jeff Orlowski and Larissa Rhodes at Good Pitch New York, their film was of keen interest to us because of our commitment to bridge documentary storytelling into educational spaces. Being fans of Chasing Ice and knowing of its ongoing visual impact on our understanding of climate science, we were immediate fans of the project and followed its development from the sidelines and celebrated its many festival awards. Recently Blueshift was brought on to work in partnership with the Exposure Labs team to develop educational content to leverage the film’s breathtaking beauty and support the next phase of its impact campaign.

Today, the Netflix original documentary Chasing Coral will have its broadcast premiere. We encourage everyone to share this film with your friends and family and fall in love, like we did, with the sheer grandeur of the coral’s beauty. In the film’s Screening Field Guide we have worked with their talented team to suggest some realistic steps each of us can take to insure the future health of our coral and move towards a sustainable energy economy.

- Fran Sterling, Blueshift Co-Founder and Partner, writing from South Africa, July, 2017