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‘Saving Atlantis’ Explores the Declining State of the World’s Coral Reefs

“Saving Atlantis” is not only about the world’s declining coral reefs, but the people who rely on them for their livelihoods. 

Oregon State University is releasing a feature-length documentary, “Saving Atlantis,” that explores the declining state of the world’s coral reef system. The directors of the project went all the way to the island of Mo’orea in French Polynesia to understand the severity of dying reefs.

We were able to speak with one of the directors, Justin Smith, about the project.

What should a viewer walk away from after seeing “Saving Atlantis”?

“We are attempting to tell a very comprehensive story about coral reefs and the threats facing them globally. We have discovered the general public tends to have a great deal of admiration for the reefs but may not be aware corals are a living animal. Part of the film aims to inform while other aspects focus purely on telling the interesting stories of people on the reef. Coral reefs are immensely important to our survival as species. Beyond providing protection from storms, food to coastal communities as well as habitats for various species, various promising drug compounds derived from corals. We’re just starting to understand these animals and it’s very much a race against time to save them.  As much as this film is about corals it is about people.”

Tell us about the fishermen you met on Mo’orea.

“Spending time with Franck Taputuarai [a fisherman on the island] was an enlightening experience on many levels. Getting to tell the story of someone whose family has relied on a healthy reef for generations really enabled us to paint the bigger picture of the importance of the coral reefs. It is one thing to have a lot of information thrown at you but quite another to be face to face with an individual whose livelihood is directly tied to healthy corals. Ultimately Franck’s story is the kind of story we want to tell in the film and helps paint a complete picture.”

See the preview of “Saving Atlantis” here.

The filming crew from Oregon State University followed the Global Coral Microbiome Project to understand what has been killing the reefs and which island communities are suffering because of it, including Mo’orea. With more than 40% of the world’s coral reefs already lost, this is an immediate issue that needs to be addressed. Without coral reefs entire ecosystems will be destroyed.

Learn more about the project, the problem, and donate to their cause at http://coralreefmovie.org. Proceeds to this cause will help get the film distributed and help train the next generation of marine biologists.

We don’t inherit our world from our ancestors…we borrow it from our children.

“Saving Atlantis” would like to thank their sponsors for the project: Oregon State University, The Oregon State University Foundation and The National Science Foundation

‘Saving Atlantis’ Explores the Declining State of the World’s Coral Reefs