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Extreme Cave Diving: Worth The Risks?

There's a line of work where the risks include toxic layers of hydrogen sulfide and maze-like passageways.  (No, we're not talking the halls of Congress.) It's the exploration of underwater caves and blue holes. Many consider survival to be is the mark of a successful dive ... so, are the risks worth it?

Wednesday on Up to Date, cave diver Kenny Broad, a 2011 National Geographic "explorer of the year," talks about why he why he spends so much time submerged in the deep recesses of the ocean.

Broad, an environmental anthropologist, tells us how he uses underwater cave exploration to probes issues ranging from climate change to inequity in natural resource management. Plus, what's going through his mind during one of these dangerous dives.

Diver and Environmental Anthropologist Kenny Broad presents "Extreme Cave Diving: Exploring the Blue Holes of the Bahamas" at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 20, in the Kauffman Center's Helzberg Hall. The presentation is part of the Kauffman Center's National Geographic Live! series. Tickets for the event can be purchased online.

Watch Extreme Cave Diving on PBS. See more from NOVA.


Kenny Broad and the late underwater photographer Wes Skiles were named “National Geographic's Explorers of the Year,” in 2011 for their achievements in documenting the Blue Holes of the Bahamas. Broad's long history of diving and documentary film expeditions includes the exploration of one of the world's deepest caves in the Huautla Plateau in Mexico.  He is known for his interdisciplinary approach when developing research teams. He frequently brings together hydrologists, biologists, oceanographers, climatologists, psychologists, and anthropologists.  Broad has a Ph.D. in anthropology from Columbia University and an M.A. in marine affairs and policy from the University of Miami. He is currently a professor at University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, is the Director of the UM's Abess Center for Ecosystem Science and Policy, and is Co-Director of Columbia University's Center for Research on Environmental Decisions.

Brian Ellison is a guest host of talk shows, newscasts, special coverage and community events for KCUR. Follow him on Twitter @ptsbrian.
After growing up on the east coast and spending his first professional years in classical music, Stephen moved to Kansas City in 1995 expecting to leave after a few years. (Clearly that didn't happen.) More than two decades and three kids later, he doesn't regret his decision to stick around. Stephen began his career in public radio as a classical music host. As the founding producer of Up to Date with Steve Kraske, he received a number of local and national awards for his work on the program. Since 2014 he's overseen KCUR's broadcast operations. When Stephen isn't at KCUR's studios, he's probably adding more stamps to his passport with his KU professor wife and their three kids. His son almost made him cry during a drive through the Rockies when he said at age 8: "Dad, can we listen to public radio?" Sniff sniff.