Coral reefs and the future of the world
The Chinese proverb “may you live in interesting times” doesn’t quite capture just what an extraordinary period the last 30 years has been in the span of human experience. In that brief moment, our planet has changed faster than in all of human existence. We have transformed from simple inhabitants of this world to the architects of its future. Nowhere is this more obvious than in the realm of coral reefs. I stumbled upon coral reefs in 1982 as a 20-year-old. What captivated me then was the richness and exuberance of these rainforests of the oceans. What obsesses me now is their extraordinary vulnerability to global climate change. Across huge swathes of the tropics, coral reefs have suffered catastrophic loss of life and vitality. The expression ‘canary in the coalmine’ is overused but is apt for what reefs say about the dangers of our headlong planetary experiment. This talk tells the story of coral reefs, lavishly illustrated by one of the world’s foremost underwater photographers, Alex Mustard, and based on Callum’s forthcoming book: Reef Life (Profile Books). It tells how they became one of the wonders of the ocean world, how we learned to love them and how they now struggle to survive. Coral reefs tell us something urgent and important – we need to change course now if we are to leave a world fit for generations yet to come.
About the speaker
Callum Roberts is Professor of Marine Conservation at the University of York and author of two award-winning books on the sea: The Unnatural History of the Sea (Island Press) and Ocean of Life: How our Seas are Changing (Penguin Books). He was series scientific advisor to BBC Blue Planet II and is a Trustee of BLUE Marine Foundation, Nekton Oxford Deep Ocean Research Institute and Ambassador for WWF-UK.
He tweets at @Prof_CallumYork
Dinner will be taken in the Conference Room due to another event taking place in the Brodsky restaurant.
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