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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.

As a host and contributor at KCUR, I seek to create a more informed citizenry and richer community. I want to enlighten and inspire our audience by delivering the information they need with accuracy and urgency, clarifying what’s complicated and teasing out the complexities of what seems simple. I work to craft conversations that reveal realities in our midst and model civil discourse in a divided world. Follow me on Twitter @ptsbrian or email me at brian@kcur.org.
Stephen Steigman is director of Classical KC and chief of broadcast operations for KCUR 89.3 and 91.9 Classical KC. You can email him at stephen@kcur.org.