Publicity of Coral Reef Degradation

Stephen D. Colwell scolwell at
Mon Dec 18 13:42:34 EST 2000

RE: Publicity of Coral Reef Degradation

>For over a decade, there has been a massive publicity campaign to "Save the
Rainforest" and I am wondering why there has not been a comparable effort on
behalf of the reefs.

As the Executive Director of the Coral Reef Alliance (CORAL) and the
Coordinator of the new International Coral Reef Information Network (ICRIN),
We wanted to follow up on a couple of issues raised in the message from Ruth

There are many individuals trying to raise public awareness about coral
reefs.  We invite you to visit CORAL's website to see
not only our outreach efforts, but the listing of over 200 coral reef NGOs
(large and small) that play an important role in building public support for
coral reef conservation.

Whether coral reefs will ever attract the level of attention accorded to
rainforests is an open question, but there is an active effort to build the
type of critical mass needed to get substantial public support.

The International Coral Reef Initiative - and the ICRIN information network
that has grown out of it -  is building upon years of work by scientists,
conservationists, governments and other concerned individuals to find
solutions to the threats facing coral reefs.  The ICRI "Framework for
Action" is a solid basis for looking for solutions, but we cannot expect
immediate results.

The important lesson from the Rainforest movement is that changes do not
happen overnight.  Although you may recall "over a decade" of messages, the
roots to that movement go back forty years.  While a few individuals and
small groups have been working to protect coral reefs for almost as long,
substantial interest to protect coral reefs have only gained real momentum
in the last decade (with the 1997 "Year of the Reef" being an important
stimulus).  By working together, we can build momentum

> while I receive practically daily reminders about the threats to reefs from
industry sources (like the list),  I rarely come across information aimed
towards the general public.

There is actually quite a bit aimed at the general public.  Not all of it
may be reaching the target audiences.  Through the ICRIN system we have
already gathered over 150 examples of coral reef public awareness materials
in more than a dozen languages.  We will be reviewing these material and
trying to determine how - with limited resources - we can have the greatest
impact globally. If you are aware of effective outreach material, please let
us know.

Another important point is that building public awareness of "coral reef
degradation" is not enough.  We must identify specific activities or changes
in behavior that will help reverse the trend of degradation and promote
those actions to specific target audiences.  action, not just awareness, has
to be our goal.

We invite all readers of the coral-list to contact us with their ideas about
how we can reach more people, more effectively (with very limited financial

Stephen Colwell
Executive Director
The Coral Reef Alliance (CORAL)

Anita Daley,
ICRIN Coordinator

2014 Shattuck Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94704
Tel: 510-848-0110
Fax: 510-848-3720
Toll-free: 1-888 CORAL REEF
E-mail: scolwell at
            adaley at

"Working together to keep coral reefs alive."

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