Inside Asia Podcast

Richard Vevers: Chasing Coral

October 12, 2018

My guest is one of the most dedicated and articulate environmental activists working today, Richard Vevers, Founder and CEO of The Ocean Agency.

Richard is a pioneer of underwater 360-degree photography, and invented the cameras that took Google Street View underwater. It was while working on that project that he became aware of the fact that much of the planet’s coral  – and with it, 25% of all sea life – is at risk of disappearing. He committed himself to raising public awareness, and one of the results is the Netflix documentary film, Chasing Coral.

 For those of us who’ve lived and worked in Asia, this environmental crisis has a particular urgency. On the one hand we’re confronted by a bounty of natural resources and a variety of natural environments that are unmatched anywhere on earth; however, we also see levels of indifference to preserving those environments that are astounding.

Developing Asia has been magnificent in leveraging technology to side-step or leapfrog problems that once stumped today’s more advanced economies. But there’s also a dark side. While technology might aid us in raising awareness and monitoring mankind’s impact, it won’t save our oceans.  

The developed and largely industrialized countries of the world have been the greatest abusers, choosing maximum economic growth over environmental protection. Now it’s Asia’s turn. Will countries in this region wake up to the fact that economic growth at the expense of the planet may not simply mean a dirtier place for all of us, but indeed, the difference between life and extinction?

It’s a fascinating and urgent discussion. As always, thanks for listening.