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“Hot news, cold truths, utterly uncensored.” —Greg Palast
“[Censored] offers devastating evidence of the dumbing-down of main-stream news in America. . . . Required reading for broadcasters, journalists, and well-informed citizens.” —Los Angeles Times
“Project Censored brings to light some of the most important stories of the year that you never saw or heard about. This is your chance to find out what got buried.” –Diane Ravitch, author of The Death and Life of the Great American School System.
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Buy it, read it, act on it. Our future depends on the knowledge this col-lection of suppressed stories allows us.” —San Diego Review
“Project Censored shines a spotlight on news that an informed public must have . . . a vital contribution to our democratic process.” —Rhoda H. Karpatkin, president, Consumer’s Union
“Censored 2014 is a clarion call for truth telling. Not only does this volume highlight fearless speech in fateful times, it connect the dots between the key issues we face, lauds our whistleblowers and amplifies their voices, and shines light in the dark places of our government that most need exposure.” –Daniel Ellsberg, The Pentagon Papers
“[Censored] should be affixed to the bulletin boards in every newsroom in America. And, perhaps read aloud to a few publishers and television executives.” —Ralph Nader
“Project Censored interrogates the present in the same way that Oliver Stone and I tried to interrogate the past in our Untold History of the United States. It not only shines a penetrating light on the American Empire and all its deadly, destructive, and deceitful actions, it does so at a time when the Obama administration is mounting a fierce effort to silence truth-tellers and whistleblowers. Project Censored provides the kind of fearless and honest journalism we so desperately need in these dangerous times.” —Peter Kuznick, professor of history, American University, and coauthor, with Oliver Stone, of The Untold History of the United States
“Most journalists in the United States believe the press here is free. That grand illusion only helps obscure the fact that, by and large, the US corporate press does not report what’s really going on, while tuning out, or laughing off, all those who try to do just that. Americans–now more than ever–need those outlets that do labor to report some truth. Project Censored is not just among the bravest, smartest, and most rigorous of those outlets, but the only one that’s wholly focused on those stories that the corporate press ignores, downplays, and/or distorts. This latest book is therefore a must read for anyone who cares about this country, its tottering economy, and–most important– what’s now left of its democracy.” –Mark Crispin Miller, author, professor of media ecology, New York University.
“In another home run for Project Censored, Censored 2013 shows how the American public has been bamboozled, snookered, and dumbed down by the corporate media. It is chock-full of ‘ah-ha’ moments where we understand just how we’ve been fleeced by banksters, stripped of our civil liberties, and blindly led down a path of never-ending war.” –Medea Benjamin, author of Drone Warfare, cofounder of Global Exchange and CODEPINK.
“For ages, I’ve dreamed of a United States where Project Censored isn’t necessary, where these crucial stories and defining issues are on the front page of the New York Times, the cover of Time, and in heavy rotation on CNN. That world still doesn’t exist, but we always have Project Censored’s yearly book to pull together the most important things the corporate media ignored, missed, or botched.” –Russ Kick, author of You Are Being Lied To, Everything You Know Is Wrong, and the New York Times bestselling series The Graphic Canon.
“The staff of Project Censored presents their annual compilation of the previous year’s 25 stories most overlooked by the mainstream media along with essays about censorship and its consequences. The stories include an 813% rise in hate and anti-government groups since 2008, human rights violations by the US Border Patrol, and Israeli doctors injecting Ethiopian immigrants with birth control without their consent. Other stories focus on the environment, like the effects of fracking and Monsantos GMO seeds. The writers point out misinformation and outright deception in the media, including CNN relegating factual accounts to the “opinion” section and the whitewashing of Margaret Thatcher’s career following her death in 2013, unlike Hugo Chavez, who was routinely disparaged in the coverage following his death. One essay deals with the proliferation of “Junk Food News,” in which “CNN and Fox News devoted more time to ‘Gangnam Style’ than the renewal of Uganda’s ‘Kill the Gays’ law.” Another explains common media manipulation tactics and outlines practices to becoming a more engaged, free-thinking news consumer or even citizen journalist. Rob Williams remarks on Hollywood’s “deep and abiding role as a popular propaganda provider” via Argo and Zero Dark Thirty. An expose on working conditions in Chinese Apple factories is brutal yet essential reading. This book is evident of Project Censored’s profoundly important work in educating readers on current events and the skills needed to be a critical thinker.” -Publisher’s Weekly said about Censored 2014 (Oct.)
“Project Censored continues to be an invaluable resource in exposing and highlighting shocking stories that are routinely minimized or ignored by the corporate media. The vital nature of this work is underscored by this year’s NSA leaks. The world needs more brave whistle blowers and independent journalists in the service of reclaiming democracy and challenging the abuse of power. Project Censored stands out for its commitment to such work.” —Deepa Kumar, author of Islamophobia and the Politics of Empire and associate professor of Media Studies and Middle Eastern Studies at Rutgers University

18. World’s Coral Reefs Dying


January 2001
Title: Shoals Of Time: Are We Witnessing The Extinction of the World’s Coral Reefs?
Author: Julia Whitty

Faculty evaluator: Ervand Peterson
Student researcher: Connie Lytle

One-quarter of all coral reefs have been destroyed by pollution, sedimentation, over-fishing, and rapid global climate change. Coral reefs have survived enormous changes in our planet’s past, but today they are experiencing challenges from a multitude of new fronts. Remaining reefs are in such peril that governments are preparing for the contingency that millions of island residents will need to be relocated.

Corals are among the simplest of invertebrate animals. They are composed of little more than a hollow tube, the gastric cavity, which is surrounded by a fringe of stinging tentacles with which they capture prey. Generation after generation of new corals grow atop the limestone skeletons of dead corals, until a reef is formed. The growth is less than one inch per year, and the colonies can live a thousand years or more. Coral colonies occur in the narrow band of equatorial water at the 21°C isotherm, where the delicate balance between sunlight, temperature, salinity, nutrients, and gases meets the exacting requirements of the tiny coral animals, and compose the largest aquatic architecture on the planet.

Ordinarily, more than 6.5 million zooxanthellae inhabit each square inch of coral, and in return these algae contribute the by-products of their photosynthesis: oxygen, carbohydrates, and alkalinity. The corals’ calcium carbonate production is considered a likely mediator of atmospheric CO2, making this collaboration between plant and animal a contributor to the stability of our atmosphere. The reefs contain nearly one-quarter of all marine life and, as they are visibly altered by climatic and sea level changes, are often called “the record-keepers of the sea.”

Under assault from pollution, coastal development, agricultural runoff, overpopulation, and over-fishing, the world’s reefs are exhibiting their vulnerability in many ways. Each year new coral diseases are discovered, some caused by such factors as the desertification of Africa, where huge volumes of dust in the atmosphere are dropping viral and fungal spores onto the weakened seas.

In the last two decades, worldwide coral bleaching events associated with higher seawater temperatures have destroyed reefs throughout entire ocean basins. Increasing global temperatures, resulting in a lack of proteins, lipids, and carbohydrates necessary for coral reproductive and skeleton building causes bleached corals. A 1991 bleaching event in French Polynesia led to the death of 25% of all Acropora corals. The 1997-98 El Nino killed 70% of all corals in the Indian Ocean from Africa to India, and the reefs of the Galapagos Islands have yet to show signs of recovery from the bleaching event 17 years ago. Increases in ultraviolet rays entering the atmosphere have contributed to the bleaching effect in the coral reefs worldwide.

The worldwide trade in aquarium fishing, currently worth $200 million per year, is another source of coral reef destruction. The collection methods of exotic fish include using poisons, primarily sodium cyanide, which destroy entire ecosystems in order to capture the few remaining fish on the perimeter. Blast fishery, also common in such places as the Philippines, is a practice whereby fish for local consumption are collected with explosives, killing the fish at the epicenter, and incapacitating those on the perimeters. The blasts reduce the reefs to rubble, from which they may never recover.

UPDATE BY AUTHOR JULIA WHITTY: Since the publication of this article, I am now working on a book (“The Fragile Edge: Secrets & Struggles of the Coral Reef) for Houghton Mifflin. Research for this book will take me to Australia, the Philippines, Indonesia, and elsewhere, to show important new developments in the science and conservation of reefs. Some of the problems alluded to in the article are already coming to pass, as sea levels continue to rise and island-dwelling people face the loss of their homes and their nations. Elsewhere, conservation efforts are paying off, albeit on a fairly small scale.

I still consider the fate of coral reefs to be vital to our own well-being on earth. Sadly, this story, and other environmental stories, rarely make the evening news or the front pages of newspapers. As we fight a “war of national security” against terrorism, I wonder how it is that we fail to see or act upon the threats to global security that face us from the self-induced loss of biodiversity, the destruction of habitats, and global climate change. The “freedoms” and the “way of life” that we fight Al Quaeda for are at least as threatened by our continued misuse of the planet.

Harper’s Magazine originally offered me this article, so I had no struggle in trying to present it. But I know from years of making nature documentaries that there is strong resistance to telling the environmental truth—even when that truth can reveal important solutions.

Readers interested in learning more can track my coral travels (autumn 2002) at I will also be working closely with The Great Barrier Reef Research Foundation:

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