[Coral-List] Don't be Such a scientist

Gregor Hodgson gregorh at reefcheck.org
Wed Dec 28 11:05:31 EST 2011

David Guggenheim is to be congratulated for getting a major TV program like
60 minutes to focus on coral reefs with an initial viewership of over 18
million Americans that can now be viewed online throughout the world.
Helping to create a TV program like this takes a huge amount of time and
effort and resources. Getting a celebrity like Anderson Cooper underwater is
a major accomplishment because he will be talking about this experience for
many years.

The biggest problem facing coral reefs today continues to be the lack of
awareness among the general public regarding how messed up coral reefs are
and that the causes are anthropogenic I.e. fixable. David did a nice job of
simplifying this message and this will help generate more support for coral
reef science/ conservation efforts that are so desperately needed and
continue to be so poorly funded.

The underfunding of coral reef science and conservation is a reflection of
the lack of support among the general public and politicians regarding the
importance of this issue. The total annual funding for coral reef work
globally wouldn¹t even pay for one beach resort in Cuba, one cruise ship or
one high-rise office building in a major city.

For those scientists who continue to want to nitpick ‹ I strongly suggest
that you read the excellent book by our colleague Randy Olson on why
scientists are such poor communicators and how we can learn to do better.

We no longer have Jacques Yves Cousteau who was a magician at bringing the
ocean and coral reefs into the living rooms of the average family at a time
when there were three major TV stations. In an age of hundreds of
TV/internet channels,  we all need to try our best to better communicate the
importance and urgency of the global decline of coral reefs and that we need
more help to reverse this. We are winning some battles but losing the war.

Gregor Hodgson, PhD
Executive Director
Reef Check Foundation
PO Box 1057 (mail)
17575 Pacific Coast Highway (Fedex)
Pacific Palisades, CA 90272 USA
T: +1 310-230-2371 or 2360
Gregorh at reefcheck.org
Skype: gregorh001

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