The 26th Environmental Film Festival held in the nation’s capital is the largest environmental film festival in the world. For the second year I attended, this year, two showings: “Wild Florida: Hidden in Plain Sight” and “Chasing Coral.”
Wild Florida drew me to my original home state, portraying the Florida beyond the Disneyfication of the peninsula. Carlton Ward, Jr., National Geographic Explorer and photojournalist, trekked through the heart of the state to uncover the stories and places off the map: the forests, swamps, rivers, and ranchlands in the middle of it all. The Florida Wildlife Corridor, linking the Okefenokee to the Glades in a continuous stretch of undeveloped or little-developed land, will allow unobstructed travel for the panther and black bear and everything that follows. Carlton Ward takes the viewer on a journey through place through the lens. The audience was notably tied to the Sunshine State and included state politicians and reporters.
The second film reported on the current state of coral: dismal. Coral reefs around the world are vanishing, or, more to the point, turning stark white. This is called coral bleaching, and it is happening at an unprecedented rate due to the warming of the oceans. A team of divers, photographers, and scientists set out to document this event. The audience was moved to tears and left in stunned silence.