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Vanishing Coral

“Vanishing Coral” presents the personal story of scientists and naturalists who are working with local communities to protect coral reefs that are being destroyed by warming seas, pollution, and destructive fishing practices. Featured in the documentary is the President of the Biosphere 2 Foundation Abigail Alling, marine biologist and coral expert Phil Dustan, captain of the Mir research sailing vessel Mark Van Thillo, and Nono Suparno, a leading conservationist in Bali.

“Vanishing Coral” comes during a pivotal time when coral reef populations are declining at a rapid pace. In 2016, a warm spell attributed to climate change caused bleaching of one-third of the Great Barrier Reef along the eastern coast of Australia that is 5,000 to 10,000 years old. Reefs in the Florida Keys have declined by 80 percent over the past three decades and scientists warn that all Caribbean coral could disappear in the next 20 years. One of the most diverse and complex ecosystems on the planet, the coral reefs provide livelihoods, food and important shoreline protection in many regions. Though they make up less than 1 percent of the oceans, reefs are home to 25 percent of fish and other marine life.

Funding for this program was provided by the Orange County Community Foundation and individual donors. “Vanishing Coral” was produced and directed by Stephen Olsson, CEM Productions.The "Earth Focus" series was created by Raisa Scriabine.

For action resources and to learn more about the issues, visit our special CORAL pages, and these articles:

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Full Episodes

Upcoming Airdates

Restoring The Earth

(Earth Focus: Episode 53) It is possible to rehabilitate large-scale damaged ecosystems, to improve the lives of people trapped in poverty and to sequester carbon naturally. John Liu presents "Hope in a Changing Climate," which showcases approaches that have worked on the Loess Plateau in China, Ethiopia and Rwanda. Produced in collaboration with the Environmental Education Media Project (EEMP).

  • 2018-12-10T03:30:00-08:00
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Climate Science In Action

Whether they are researching the pace of Alaskan glacier melt or measuring the impact of Arctic sea ice changes on our our weather, climate scientists go to some of the most remote areas on Earth to help us understand our environment. The Juneau Icefield Research Program (JIRP) brings scientists and students together annually to study glaciers. Jeff Barbee reports on the 2013 JIRP expedition. Julienne Stroeve of the National Snow and Ice Data Center looks at the impact changes in Arctic sea ice may have on weather patterns.

  • 2018-12-10T23:30:00-08:00
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  • 2018-12-11T03:30:00-08:00
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  • 2018-12-12T23:30:00-08:00
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  • 2018-12-15T03:30:00-08:00
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Shades of Gray: Living with Wolves

Gray wolves once ranged across North America. But by the 1930s, they were nearly extinct — trapped, poisoned and hunted by ranchers, farmers, and government agents. With protection under the 1973 Endangered Species Act, the wolf population rebounded. But wolves lost federal protection in 2011. Now, with hunting permitted in many Western states, the future of this once endangered species may again be in question. Can we live with wolves? "Earth Focus" travels to Montana and Wyoming to find out.

  • 2018-12-11T23:30:00-08:00
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  • 2018-12-12T17:30:00-08:00
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Illicit Ivory

Every twenty minutes an elephant is killed to feed an insatiable demand for ivory. African elephants may be gone in as little as ten years. Behind the slaughter are the most dangerous groups in the world – organized crime syndicates, insurgents and terrorists. Ivory buys guns and ammunition for Uganda's Lord’s Resistance Army and Sudan's Janjaweed, both linked to mass atrocities and supports al Shabaab, the al Qaeda affiliate behind the attacks on Kenya’s Westgate Mall and Garissa University.

  • 2018-12-15T16:30:00-08:00
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  • 2018-12-24T03:30:00-08:00
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Fracking Goes Global

(Earth Focus: Episode 52) U.S. domestic gas production is on the rise because of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, a controversial method of extracting natural gas from shale rock by pumping millions of gallons of water mixed with sand and chemicals underground at high pressure. Environmentalists say this gas boon threatens water supplies and pollutes air. Now, as fracking expands around the world, so does growing resistance. "Earth Focus" looks at three countries on the new fracking frontline: South Africa, Poland, and the UK.

  • 2018-12-17T23:30:00-08:00
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  • 2018-12-22T03:30:00-08:00
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Unsafe: The Truth Behind Everyday Chemicals

There are tens of thousands of chemicals in our air, water, and in the everyday products we use. They are largely unregulated and few are adequately tested for safety. They contribute to disease and are linked to conditions such as asthma, autism, ADHD, diabetes, cancers, infertility, cognitive disorders, obesity, reproductive disorders and birth defects. "Earth Focus" looks at endocrine disruptors, ubiquitous chemicals that affect development, metabolism, fertility and intelligence at extremely low doses and at what measures could be taken to better ensure public safety.

  • 2018-12-22T16:30:00-08:00
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  • 2018-12-23T08:30:00-08:00
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Exposed: The Ugly Side of Food Production

Food and social justice. Human rights abuses, rape and corrupt practices in the Bangladesh shrimp industry. A report by the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation uncovers the human and environmental cost of shrimp farming and shows why buying shrimp from Bangladesh where they are exposed to pesticides and injected with dirty water may be hazardous to your health. UK's The Ecologist investigates the plight of African migrant workers in Italy and looks how financial speculation is threatening the livelihood of Mexican farmers.

  • 2018-12-26T23:30:00-08:00
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  • 2018-12-29T03:30:00-08:00
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Killing Bees: Are Government & Industry Responsible?

Honey bees, the essential pollinators of many major U.S. crops, have been dying off in massive numbers since 2006. This threatens the American agricultural system and the one in 12 jobs that depends on it. There is growing evidence that a new class of pesticides -- nerve toxins called neonicotinoids, which are used on many U.S. crops like corn -- may be toxic to bees.

  • 2018-12-29T16:30:00-08:00
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  • 2019-01-01T23:30:00-08:00
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  • 2019-01-04T03:30:00-08:00
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Maritime Pollution Exposed

(Earth Focus: Episode 46) Between 70-210 million gallons of waste oil are illegally dumped at sea by commercial ships each year. In fish, marine oil pollution is linked to cancers, tumors, reduced growth rates, genetic side effects, and death. It is also toxic to seabirds and marine mammals including whales, sea otters, and dolphins. The new film "Oil in Our Waters" exposes this practice. Film director Micah Fink shares his findings with "Earth Focus" and explains new ways citizens can now help stop illegal oil dumping.

  • 2019-01-02T23:30:00-08:00
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  • 2019-01-05T03:30:00-08:00
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Climate Migration

Populations are dramatically shifting as climate change drives migration. Droughts and floods are driving many people away from their rural, farming communities into big cities. We see how this is manifesting in Mongolia and examine the factors leading to the new community of Haitian people living in limbo at the border between Mexico and the U.S.

  • 2019-01-05T16:30:00-08:00
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