[Coral-List] big high pedestal

Curtis Kruer kruer at 3rivers.net
Tue Nov 10 14:39:55 EST 2009

Mr. Felix,

I missed your email 1st time around so am slow getting a comment back.  No,
I haven't missed a piece of the pie, I've just watched the pie fought over
by so many others, and yes I'm aware it's shrinking. And, yes I'm aware
there are many good scientists doing many good things.  Those are not the
ones referred to.  

But what does the future hold as funding is bound to shrink more and the
limited funds will go to prop up and sustain existing politically correct
programs and agencies?  The shift has to be from doing science (with no
$$$?) to focusing concerted protective efforts on a local level - where the
action is - and being aggressive about it.  Conservation biology with an
attitude.  It's just too easy to continually focus conservation efforts on a
larger and larger scale, and bemoan the lack of science upon which to make
hard decisions.    

I don't have the answers but based on my experience it obviously can't be
left to government and the former empire builders there, nor can it be left
to academia and their scientists who have ignored so many of the local
problems we see today.  Examples abound now about inherent conflicts between
science and corporate $$$ that will only get worse as money tightens up. And
it can't be left to resource managers who are for the most part fine with a
continual status quo for which there is no real accountability.  Times are a
changing (and have over several decades now) but it seems the real
difficulty is getting taxpayer funded conservation and resource protection
programs to keep up.  Lip service and bragging about all the good things is

Encouraging resiliency by removing existing damaging stressors 
is absolutely necessary.  Adapting to what is to come (like accelerated sea
level rise) is widely promoted but our way of doing things must adapt also
and keep up. That is not happening.  No better example exists then in the
FKNMS where the same limited MPAs exist as existed nearly 15 years ago, with
nothing new added (other than a cruise ship port, a few thousand new
shoreline structures, several massive metal wrecks sunk to keep the dive
industry happy, and the like), and except for the new Tortugas protected
area 70 miles from land and already part of a National Park.   

No great answers here - I just know that something has to change. An
uprising is needed - but there's no money in it. 

Curtis Kruer 

-----Original Message-----
From: coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
[mailto:coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov] On Behalf Of Faerthen Felix
Sent: Thursday, October 29, 2009 10:17 AM
To: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
Subject: [Coral-List] Re: big high pedestal

This is unfair, Curtis.

Quite in contrast to this mythical pedestal, in recent years American
scientists, researchers and academics have seen one of the biggest
cuts in economic & popular support in history. Fight over whether
climate change matters or what we should do about it if you like, but
don't blame the messengers.

I don't know anyone in public research who isn't spending
unprecedented amounts of time "embracing advocates and
conservationists, sharing funding, and working together to solve
resource problems of mutual concern". There's less & less time to
actually do science. Coordination is a real job--who is going to do it & how
are they going to be funded? If you somehow feel like you've been denied a
piece of the pie, it's probably just that the pie is far, far smaller than
you imagine. The money went to the military.

This isn't coral-reef related, but here's a short video showing the
broad array of public agency, university, private, corporate & NGO
collaborators that had to come together for a recent road ecology
research project I'm involved with...and there is only a couple
hundred thousand dollars involved, not millions. This seems to be how
science works these days, at least for us:

Universities & public agency budgets have been cut to the bone, so their
public affairs offices are not what they used to be. More & more, we have
to provide our own media & outreach or suffer whatever spin someone
else chooses to put out there about our work...& it's utterly amazing
how things
can be misinterpreted. Fortunately, I guess, the media is eager for
content, since their budgets are even worse off than ours, it seems.

It's really a mess if even people obviously interested in conservation
are demonizing scientists...what other hope have you got, Curtis?


> ------------------------------
> Message: 4
> Date: Wed, 28 Oct 2009 08:36:17 -0600
> From: "Curtis Kruer" <kruer at 3rivers.net>
> Subject: Re: [Coral-List] Public perceptions about climate change
> To: "'John Bruno'" <jbruno at unc.edu>, <coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov>,
>        "'Melanie McField'" <mcfield at healthyreefs.org>
> Cc: "'Richard B. Aronson'" <raronson at fit.edu>
> Message-ID: <00cc01ca57dc$02602f00$07208d00$@net>
> Content-Type: text/plain;       charset="iso-8859-1"
> John - Seems it's going to be a long hard fall from that big high pedestal
> that scientists, researchers, and academic types have placed themselves on
> in recent years.  Instead of embracing advocates and conservationists,
> sharing funding, and working together to solve resource problems of mutual
> concern, the disdain from "above" has been obvious and a huge roadblock to
> reacting quickly to major issues. And this disdain will now be a roadblock
> to pushing government to implement new and aggressive site-specific
> management initiatives to take up the slack during this critical period
> new stressors and impacts are overwhelming natural systems.
> Good luck.
> Curtis?Kruer
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