This seminar captures a key moment in the history of coral reef science and of nature conservation in general. Drawing on more than one hundred interviews, Braverman will discuss the physical, intellectual, and emotional plight of coral scientists and their painstaking deliberations as they struggle to understand and save corals from a catastrophic future on a rapidly warming and otherwise assaulted planet. Coral scientists from around the world emerge here not only as harbingers of doom and as messengers of hope but, perhaps more importantly, as humans facing an existential crisis. Their task is tough: They must witness the death of their beloved corals and at the same time narrate this death to the world. They must be careful not to sound too gloomy, lest their warnings be labeled alarmist, nor too hopeful, lest they be dismissed as Pollyannas, or even as denialists. Finally, all this is happening in the face of what many coral scientists experience as a lack of interest in coral death and its causes on the part of the general public and certain prominent politicians. Yet despite the desperate realities corals face in the Anthropocene, coral scientists have not given up hope. Through their engaging narratives, corals emerge as a sign, a measure, and a way out of the imminent catastrophe of life on earth.
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