[Coral-List] Coral reefs on TV; great!...the message wrong!.

Venetia Hargreaves-Allen mmamanagerquestionnaire at gmail.com
Mon Jun 23 08:48:32 EDT 2008

Dear coral listers,

I have to agree with Dr. Mora that we need to find a way to express the
severity of the situation in terms of reefs and the people who rely on them
for food and income.

In the past, nature film-makers have been reluctant to use what was referred
to in the industry as the "dirty c- word" (conservation) and the result has
been films that were highly mis-leading and encourage apathy.  This fact has
become increasingly acknowledged by these film-makers and many are trying to
improve the situation.

There will always be way make something that is going to affect so many
people to such a large extent, exciting and watchable.  Notable examples
include; "strange days on planet earth", which uses a "CSI"/ detective style
to report the unintended global consequences of climate change, using Edward
Norton (a  recognisable and successful actor). Another example is
"Sharkwater", which was made on a tiny budget and chronicles the
destruction, corruption and danger behind the highly organised international
shark trade.  You can see the website at:

Scientists should find new ways to respond in similar ways and to work with
film-makers and journalists - who have access to huge audiences.  We must
use this symposium to get journalists on-side and to help them by proving
information on how bad the situation is and how the average person can
help.  We also need to try to present some kind of consensus, so that
slightly contradictory results are not used to emphasize the differences in
research results.

I would suggest perhaps preparing a statement based on the latest knowledge
presented in this conference and asking people to sign it, so journalists
can report; "xxxx number of the worlds leading experts on coral reefs agree
that..." and that we use economic as well as aesthetic arguments to
emphasise that long term regional losses of reef destruction outweigh the
short term gains of local actors by many factors.



Venetia Hargreaves-Allen (MSc, MA Oxon)
PhD Researcher
Imperial College, London

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