[Coral-List] Subject: Hollywood, Coral, Ballet and Sausages

Caspar Henderson caspar81 at gmail.com
Sun Mar 12 13:28:35 EST 2006

Dear Michael

1. Thanks for this. I didn't write that [a polled sample of] the public were
appalled by The Day After Tomorrow.  Rather, that they were less inclined to
believe that climate change was a real threat after watching the film. I
should add that I cannot recall the source of this, so the example may need
to be treated with caution. But if it's correct - and I think it is - it
does serve the argument that too much exaggeration can undermine one's
case.  That being said, the film may have struck people at a subconscious
level.  (I applied the word appalled to the reaction of the Man on who the
film Medicine Man is said to have been based to that film).

2. There are quite a few people who agree with your second point. They may
well be right. As you likely know much better than me, there is also a
constituency saying that reslience can be a feature of reef communities in
some circumstances, and that one should not give up hope, (even if the hope
is not much to hold on to in circumstances that can be pretty grim).  I aim
to explore both these positions, and others, and make the most honest
assessment I can in a way that's accessible to non specialists. I hope this
will be useful.

3. I have not read "Paradise Lost", and will do so as soon as I can get my
hands on the full text.


On 12/03/06, Michael Risk <riskmj at univmail.cis.mcmaster.ca> wrote:
> Hello Caspar.
> Some quick comments on your posting, and "sexy" spokespersons/outreach:
> 1. those who are appalled by "The Day After To-Morrow" don't understand
> the science. They need to get up to speed on recent research on the
> present status of thermohaline circulation in the Atlantic. The 1997
> Letter to Nature by Smith el al on Rapid Climate Change would be a good
> place to start. In this case, Hollywood was guilty of collapsing into a
> few days a process that will take a few years. Hardly surprising
> behaviour by Hollywood.
> 2. if you plan a book on the extinction of reefs by climate change, you
> had better hurry. Most of the damage has already been done. In fact,
> future paleontologists-Martians?-will probably consider this as
> analogous to the dinosaur dieoff. At first, the picture looked
> simple-asteroid hits the earth, BLAM, dinosaurs all dead. Now we think
> that the asteroid simply pushed over the edge a species complex that
> was well into decline.
> 3. In "Paradise Lost", I discuss the failure of the coral reef research
> community to come to grips with the problem. I cited lack of leadership
> as one key element, and anyone who gets too close to the field would
> agree. It's as they say about watching ballet and sausage-making: one
> should not get too close. There are a couple of people behind whom I
> feel most reef scientists would unite-Gene Shinn and Jim Hendee. I like
> both men far too much to wish on them such a fate.
> Mike

Caspar Henderson
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