[Coral-List] Why we are failing to repair coral reefs
frahome at yahoo.com
frahome at yahoo.com
Wed Oct 22 07:21:40 EDT 2014
We donot need to wait to solve the "ultimate" problem of following a wrong unsustainable model.We can start solving it today knowing we are actually doing a useful andmeaningful thing. We have all the tools and knowledge available to develop asustainable model and it can be done by us (not the government) on a smallscale in our communities starting from our back and front yards, then involvingour neighbors, then eventually maybe we will also get the attention of someoneat the council.
Really nothingagainst in particular Marine SpatialPlanning (I repeat it’s a focus of my profession) but to continue on theexample, MSP has been in vogue for almost2 decades now and one of the first main application was by the Great BarrierReef Marine Park Authority in the 90s, an enlightened model at that time as faras the use of innovative tools and stakeholder involvement in the decisionmaking process.
But whatis going on now in the GBR? Did MSP or even the MPA approach managed to repairor safeguard the GBR? No, the GBR lost 50% of its coral cover in the past 3decades according to scientists. And what the future “planning” has on the menufor the GBR? Dredging for a mega harbour to export coal. What a surprise!
Tools and planning can only really help within a sustainable framework that needs to be build first.
Until weneed to “spatial plan” for such destructive endeavors as demanded by an unsustainablesystem we won’t achieve anything. This is justmy opinion (it took me quite some time to get to it as in the process I had to deeplyquestion most of my habits, professional and lifestyle choices).
PS Additional food for thought, very often this supposedlyinnovative helpful tools, like MSP, requires big expensive, resource demanding equipment,ships, satellites, airplanes all linked to the growth model, are they even sustainable?
From: Douglas Fenner <douglasfennertassi at gmail.com>
To: "frahome at yahoo.com" <frahome at yahoo.com>
Cc: "coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov" <coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov>; "sale at uwindsor.ca" <sale at uwindsor.ca>
Sent: Wednesday, October 22, 2014 10:10 AM
Subject: Re: [Coral-List] Why we are failing to repair coral reefs
I think that human population and consumption/economy are the two ultimate drivers of environmental destruction, and ultimately threaten humans as well. Both have been growing exponentially. A recent Science paper reported a model that predicted that world human population will not stabilize by 2100 but will continue to grow beyond that, and that at 2100 there will be 9 to 13.2 billion humans. "Experts be damned: world population will continue to rise." http://news.sciencemag.org/economics/2014/09/experts-be-damned-world-population-will-continue-rise However long it takes to stabilize, coral reefs will be long dead by then, let alone when population is back to half the present size. Some time back, the outgoing president of AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science, publisher of Science magazine) wrote an essay he delivered to Congress, arguing that science was the reason that the US economy had grown exponentially for so long. I thought that was a powerful argument to get Congress to fund Science, because everyone wants the economy to grow. Fastest way to loose an election is to promise to reduce the size of the economy. The earth is finite. Exponential growth of anything on a finite planet cannot be sustained. One way or another, sooner or later, the exponential growth will stop, it can't go on forever. It can be ended in a way we like, or in a way we don't like. An old saying in population is that there are only two ways to control population, birth control and death control. If you don't use one, you will eventually get the other, unless you live on an infinitely large place. The problem is that we can go on like we are until the planet is damaged to the point that it makes humans miserable, that is, all the environment that supports us is destroyed. Unfortunately, we can't change either the growth of human population or of economic growth fast enough to avoid killing coral reefs. They are going to be even more severely damaged than they already are in just a few decades and surely by 2100. The economies of China and India and a few other places are growing very rapidly, bringing hundreds of millions out of poverty. I personally think that is good. China has done more than any other country to control population. If rich countries would just provide free birth control to everyone in poor countries that wants it, and didn't force anyone to do anything they don't want to do, that would go a long ways towards slowing population growth. But if we wait to solve the ultimate causes, we will loose what we have left of coral reefs and every other ecosystem. Ultimately, we better get population and economies stabilized and sustainable, for our own good if nothing else. But we can't afford to wait for that, because that can't possibly be done fast enough to avoid destroying the reefs meantime. Which brings us back to the original problem. We need to do better at slowing and stopping the destruction of coral reefs if we want to have any left in half decent condition a few decades from now. Many things can help, there is probably no one magic cure. Spatial planning can surely help. And yes, at the same time contribute to getting population and the economy to be sustainable. Let's get to work and get it done!! Cheers, Doug
On Tue, Oct 21, 2014 at 11:56 AM, frahome at yahoo.com <frahome at yahoo.com> wrote:
Although the article rises some important points I believe Peter only marginally touches the issues for which we have failed to "repair" coral reefs and he ends up proposing again tools that try addressing symptoms (e.g. Marine Spatial Planning) rather than the root problem. This seems the same mistake made by the very same attempts he is criticizing.
I believe that the root of the problem is in the entire “infrastructure” of our society built around an intrinsically unsustainable economic model (based on perpetual quantitative growth) and the cultural model that derives from it (based on consumerism, spoiled/lazy/luxury aiming mindset, competition, individualism).
As governments are not currently designed to be proactive nor farsighted, then we should start acting ourselves in our communities to develop a more sustainable model, something that will be quite different than just putting the word "green" in front of "business as usual".
I do not want to sound arrogant nor provocative but I would really invite each of us to stop focusing only on researching on what we already know (reefs are declining) and start dedicating a lot more time into our communities to imagine, design and implement a new sustainable way of living on this planet.This very likely will mean pushing for a very different economic model, embracing simpler lifestyles, redesigning our food production system and deeply rethink and question the entire industrial system.
Marine Spatial Planning is part of my profession but I admit that while it is fun to work on and it pays the bills I really do not think it has the potential to make a real difference to the marine ecosystems fate in the current economic and social context (and almost paradoxically it could be actually part of the problem due to its links to the high demanding industrial system). This applies in one way or the other to most of the current approaches used to look into and trying to solve the environmental problems.
The engagement to bring change in the current system and in the above aspects, although a major challenge, seems the only chance we have to make a difference.
Further reading (I do not necessarily embrace all the contents of these resources but they all provide some food for thoughts):http://www.postcarbon.org/
From: Peter Sale <sale at uwindsor.ca>
To: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
Sent: Monday, October 20, 2014 7:02 PM
Subject: [Coral-List] Why we are failing to repair coral reefs
I recently penned a comment on why we are, for the most part, failing in
our efforts to repair and sustain coral reefs, despite the efforts of many
dedicated and hard-working people. It appeared in Reef Encounter, the
on-line news journal of ISRS, and many readers of this list will have seen
it already. Thinking it might be worth wider dissemination, I've now put
it up on my blog, with some pretty pictures attached. You can access the
blog at www.petersalebooks.com/?p=1708 and you can see the original in
Reef Encounter which can be downloaded from the ISRS website at
http://coralreefs.org/ Reef Encounter has lots of interesting content
(perhaps even more interesting than my comment)!
If you are a member of ISRS, you could also think of nominating someone to
the ISRS Council, and if you are not a member, think about joining this
international coral reef science community.
sale at uwindsor.ca @PeterSale3
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