Hope for Curaçao’s Corals and the Future of Journalism

Ayana with Andy Revkin being interviewed on-location in Curaçao for the Pace Coral film.

When New York Times Dot Earth reporter Andrew Revkin got in touch with me seeking a documentary topic for the environmental journalism course he co-teaches at Pace University, he walked right into my trap. I rarely pass up an opportunity to twist someone’s arm to share optimistic stories of ocean conservation (#OceanOptimism!). Curaçao has some of the healthiest coral reefs remaining in the Caribbean, and having conducted most of my dissertation research there, I knew there was an important and complex story to tell.

And tell it they did! Revkin’s students spent their spring break in Curaçao interviewing scientists, politicians, environmentalists, and fishermen to understand what has led to the decline of Curaçao’s reefs and what could turn that around. With minimal background in marine biology, conservation, and policy, they dug in, worked extremely long hours, and put together this story.

The 20-minute film – “Curaçao’s Coral Challenge – Reviving the Rainforests of the Sea” – features marine biologist Dr. Mark Vermeij, Director of Science at Curaçao’s Carmabi Foundation, Mr. Faisal Dilrosun of Curaçao’s Ministry of Environment, Curaçao Senator Glen Sulvaran, marine biologist Dr. Aaron Hartman, geologist Dr. Bruce Fouke, and me. Each of us present an important piece of the story. My piece is about solutions — creating a brighter future.

Ayana with Andy Revkin while being interviewed on-location in Curaçao for the Pace Coral film. (Photo: Yumeng Ji, Pace University)

As I describe in my interview (and am quoted in Revkin’s article “Film Explores Curaçao’s Efforts to Become a Caribbean Haven for Coral,”) I think that Curaçao has been really lucky so far. Curaçao has some of the healthiest reefs in the Caribbean, and that is not because of marine reserves, that’s not because of strong pollution —> Read More