[Coral-List] Arthur C. Clarke and coral reefs

Thomas Goreau goreau at bestweb.net
Thu Apr 3 19:06:59 EDT 2008

Dear Bob,

Arthur C. Clarke really loved reefs and diving, and like ALL of us  
old timers, he knew decades ago that he had seen the best long  
vanish. That is why it is so amusing to us to read now about how  
coral reef deterioration is just being "discovered", when we were  
making this point, based on direct observations since the 1950s.

All through the 1970s and 1980s I was personally ridiculed by coral  
reef researchers who had never been around long enough or in enough  
places to notice, and who claimed I and others were irresponsible  
alarmists and that there was "no data" to show decline, including  
many of those who later claim to have discovered this by  ignoring  
all the older observations. Because they only began noticing after  
most was already gone, they have seriously underestimated the decline.

False claims of ignorance about reef deterioration were used for half  
a century as a funding ploy for monitoring to tell us what we already  
long knew, and thanks to these delays we lost all the time in which  
we might have done something about it......

Now it is pretty much too late unless we apply the most advanced  
methods, as Arthur immediately grasped, but there still remains no  
funding for serious restoration.

Unfortunately, I failed to check and got the name of Arthur's Sri  
Lanka book wrong, it was another ancient name for the island,  
Taprobane, that he used.

Best wishes,

On Apr 3, 2008, at 6:21 PM, Robert Ginsburg wrote:

> Thanks Tom for this interesting vignette.
> Bob<rginsburg.vcf>

Thomas J. Goreau, PhD
Global Coral Reef Alliance
37 Pleasant Street, Cambridge MA 02139
goreau at bestweb.net

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