Pantone’s color of the year might vanish from nature by 2040

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Every December, experts at the Pantone Color Institute comb through the world’s Rolodex of hues to determine the color of the next year. 2019, they have decreed, is the year of “Living Coral.” The “living” part is important: Dead coral is white, which hasn’t even earned a spot on the color wheel, let alone color of the year.

The announcement, much awaited by those fashionable enough to care, comes a little over a month after a monumental United Nations climate report found that the world’s coral reefs may experience a mass die-off as soon as 2040. Already, half of Australia’s 1,400 mile-long Great Barrier Reef has perished in bleaching events. Coral reefs are the bedrock of diverse coastal ecosystems, so a massive coral wipeout could also lead to the disappearance of other rare colors found among aquatic species.

What’s the purpose of memorializing the hues of a dying planet? As Slate’s Christina