marbio: How to conserve?
JCULTER at marinelab.sarasota.fl.us
Wed Nov 1 14:37:42 EST 1995
I am sure your questions will generate many responses (and requests
for funding). I will offer some ideas based on our experience both
in the U.S and overseas. Scientists are often accused of always
insisting on "more studies" without offering "answers" to socially
caused environmental problems. In defense, many of these problems
are "new" and require new information.
At MML we are inundated with questions from the public, wanting to
know the causes and cures for complex problems. Sometimes we have
answers based on many years of data, but for many questions we do not
have simple answers. New problems demand new data. In terms of
scientific data and enviromental studies the U.S. is far ahead of Latin
America (this is not a criticism of science in these areas, just a
comment on the "quantity" and intensity of research).
There is a popular notion within the conservative political elements
of the U.S. that we have had enough environmental science, enough
studies and that conservation is counter to economic development.
Without arguing this point I will say this is simply not true.
Much of the financial aid to Latin America is in the form of
management and planning projects. My question is; What are they
planning to manage, and how, if the information describing the type,
quantity and function of the resources is deficient or totally
lacking. Environmental science has largely been reactive, with
systems being studied only after problems are perceived. This
palces a burden on the scientist to somehow determine causes and
levels of degradarion without any reliable data on the condition in
"the good ole days".
The point of this is that to have a working conservation program
today we need to know how things were working yesterday. The
stabilization of Central American politics is resulting in an
increase exploitation of the coastal resources, at a rate that far
exceeds development of scientific knowledge.
My encouragement is for the combination of developing management
strategies based on large quantities of sound science and data
gathering. Training of indigenous people is important and they must
also be provided with the resources to continue gathering
information after the training is completed.
Good luck with your projects,
Jim Culter jculter at marinelab.sarasota.fl.us
Mote Marine Laboratory voice (813) 388-4441
1600 Thompson Parkway fax (813) 388-4312
Sarasota, FL 34236
MML is a private non-profit marine/estuarine research and
education laboratory. All opinions herein are my own
(not MML policy) unless noted as otherwise.
FOR MORE ABOUT MML SEE:
On Wed, 1 Nov 1995, Lloyd Timberlake wrote:
> I have a problem which I think will be of interest to most
> of you, no matter what your speciality.
> I am working with a new foundation which supports leadership for
> sustainable development in Latin America. We are already funding
> projects dealing with business, grassroots and institutional leadership.
> We would like to develop a strategy to support leadership for nature
> conservation. Since we "inherited" a small marine ecosystem conservation
> project in the western Caribbean (keys and coral), we are looking at the
> possibility of doing more work in marine conservation.
> My question is: Given the host of assaults today on shallow-water,
> tropical marine ecosystems - varying types of pollution, over-fishing,
> global warming, etc. - how does a small foundation with considerable
> resources work most cost-effectively? Does one establish more small
> conservation zones? Does one simply donate to a big international green
> NGO? Does one do policy work with Latin American governments? Is there
> key research which needs funding which is not getting funding? (I am
> afraid of getting thousands of research proposals from this group.)
> I have spoken to a number of appropriate organisations, and it is
> surprising how little consensus there is on how best to DO marine
> conservation. The usual response is a rather unconvincing "Fund us."
> Perhaps by throwing the question out to such a group, I can get beyond
> Thanks in advance for your interest.
> Lloyd Timberlake,
> Visiting Fellow Centre for Environmental Technology, Imperial College
> 48 Prince's Gardens, London, SW7 2PE, UK
> Phone:+44 171 594-9286, Fax:+44 171 581-0245
> e-mail: lloyd at gn.apc.org
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