[Coral-List] Proposed: "Until We Know Better" campaign for coral reefs
lesk at bu.edu
lesk at bu.edu
Fri Mar 24 09:33:56 EST 2006
I think we should follow through on Alina's consumer-side suggestions,
just think them through a bit more.
Until we can think of a better name, I propose that we call this the
"Until We Know Better" campaign.
The point of this name is to reverse the burden of proof, as long ago
suggested by Paul Dayton.
Until we know better, we should not eat any spiny lobster or large reef
predators. Until we know better, we should do everything in our power
to allow populations of these species to rebuild themselves.
Until we know better, we should designate limited areas of coral reef
or other tropical marine habitat, for use and destruction. This is a
better idea- more easily enforced and more likely to work- than
designating limited areas of coral reef for protection. There is no
theoretical minimum area for an area designated to be over-used and
destroyed. It can be as small as you like. However, there is a
definite minimum area for protection to be effective. We do not really
know what this minimum is, except that it is obviously much larger than
most of our existing protected areas, because they are nearly all
degrading. So, until we know better, let's gazette areas for
destruction instead of restoration, and let the undestroyed areas
restore themselves. MPA scientists have often arrived at a figure of
about 20% of the seabottom as a minimum area for a global network of
marine reserves. That is a good-sounding number. Let's say instead,
that 20% of the seabottom be designated for sustainable use.
Until we know better, let us take at face value the evidence that human
activities are changing the atmosphere and climate in ways that
threaten coral reefs. Until we know better, let's do everything
possible to resist these changes.
I wonder if SeaWeb might be up to the dare of taking on this campaign?
The obvious challenge is to recommend positive steps to alleviate the
hunger and desparation that such a position will cause. It made no
sense for northwest Pacific coast loggers in the US to keep logging old
growth forest, knowing full well that it would run out. We need
grease, lots of it, to slide people over to other ways of doing and
being. However, the logic of "Until We Know Better" is unassailable.
It has worked for primitive societies for millenia. Our increased
destructive potential notwithstanding, we are still a quite primitive
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