[Coral-List] Reefs in Trouble: The Root Cause

Jeremy Goldberg jeremy.goldberg at doc.as
Sat Sep 13 03:44:14 EDT 2008

Hello all,

I have been following the recent exchange concerning population
issues, women empowerment, and the future of the planet with great
interest.  It is fantastic that this issue is being discussed on the
Coral-list as ongoing social issues and our growing population have a
clear impact on all of the major issues affecting coral reefs

In American Samoa, the Governor's Coral Reef Advisory Group has
identified population pressure as the single biggest threat to our
marine environment.  To target this important issue we have created a
Local Action Strategy to formulate proactive means of addressing the
areas of immigration, family planning, reproductive health, and
environmental planning.  Additionally, we are hosting the first
'American Samoa Population Summit' on September 24/25 which will bring
together approximately 150 local and regional experts to discuss these
issues and to formulate collaborative projects to improve not only our
environment, but our quality of life as well.  Additionally, we have
generated a lot of attention on the island with a comprehensive media
campaign on TV, the radio, and via a successful collaboration with the
local newspaper on a population pressure series of articles on five
key issues related to population pressures.  These are simple yet
essential steps to involve the community that each of us can take to
affect change in our local areas.

Clearly, the issues of population growth are unfamiliar to many of us
environmentalists.  However women's rights advocates, family planning
practitioners, and reproductive health experts have been tackling this
issue for years in their own respective fields by encouraging
governments to empower women and families to be able to make informed
decisions on their reproductive choices.  At a minimum we can begin to
partner with these groups and develop collaborative actions together.
For those interested in learning more about ongoing projects around
the world, I recommend USAID's Population, Health, Environment page
(http://www.ehproject.org/phe/phe.html).  There are several existing
models which we can apply to our ongoing conservation activities.

The environmental issues we face are challenging, but we must face
them nonetheless.  If not, what is the alternative?  While the
problems concerning the state of the planet are undoubtedly
overwhelming at times, please recognize that there are millions of
individuals around the world fighting day in and day out to change
things for the better, to improve the lives of others, and to ensure
that the world we have borrowed from our children is improved upon.
After all, where there is life there is hope, and we're all still

All the best,

Coral Reef Initiative Coordinator
Resource Management Division
Department of Commerce
Pago Pago, American Samoa
684.633.5155 (phone)
684.633.4195 (fax)

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