[Coral-List] A Universal Tale...

John Ogden jogden at marine.usf.edu
Fri Feb 19 12:05:27 EST 2010


What a pleasure to read your post!  But I have to say you do not do 
justice to "your" story.  Permit me. 

Dixon was a young manager at Malindi Marine Park in Kenya who came to 
the Florida Keys under a cooperative program between FIO and the Centre 
for Tropical Coastal Management at the University of Newcastle Upon Tyne 
in the UK.  Dixon traveled to Florida on his first trip to the U.S. via 
Newcastle, where he was studying for his Master's degree in Tropical 
Coastal Management.  I was his host.  As a member of the Sanctuary 
Advisory Council I took him to a meeting in the Keys during one of the 
darkest days of opposition to the Sanctuary.  When we arrived at the 
meeting venue, Billy Causey and Council Chair George Barley were hung in 
effigy in front of the hall which was filled with angry fishermen, 
treasure hunters and Conchs many bearing coconuts painted with "Say No 
To NOAA."  For the entire day, Dixon and the Council endured the 
passionate, angry testimony of this group, one of whom bowled his 
coconut at the Council. 

After the meeting Dixon and I went to my rental car and found that all 
four tires had been slashed.  I called the Monroe County Sheriff to file 
a report and then asked the officer if he would take us to the Keys 
Marine Lab where we were staying.  In back seat of the patrol car, I 
apologized to Dixon for putting him through the ordeal.  He replied, "I 
have had the most wonderful day!"   I was incredulous and asked him to 
explain.  He said that this was his first trip to the U.S., a great 
Democracy, where he expected differences would be settled by polite 
debate and reach an amicable conclusions.  "But," he said, "as I sat 
there I translated the audience remarks into Kikuyu and I hear the same 
thing on the Malindi Coast!" 

Up to that moment I had been taken with the scale and complexity of the 
Keys Sanctuary development and viewed it as unique.  Dixon, however, 
demonstrated that if anything, other places in the world were far ahead, 
that marine parks presented universal problems and to be successful we 
had to learn from each other.

Dixon, like any good story, there may be some embellishment, but I have 
used your story in classes and lectures ever since.  Thank you for that 
and best wishes to you in the continuing work that you began so long ago.


Dixon Waruinge wrote:
> Billy
> Nice story Billy, you should have posted your effigy that the Conch 
> Coalition and the treasure hunters burned at one of the hearings in the 
> summer of 1992  plus the  flattened car tyres as they campaigned against 
> the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary; it left an indelible mark in 
> me, and  it was also a good  lesson on how misinformation works. 
>  In practice we  do not protect a habitat, or a species because we have 
> all the answers, we do so primarily because we do not have the answers. 
> Any action towards protection,( in this case listing) is  a demonstration 
> that, there are people  that are  willing to create the awareness that 
> will help to generate the answers for better management, which may very 
> well  mean de-listing at a later stage. 
> Dixon G Waruinge
> dixon.waruinge at unep.org
> www.unep.org/NairobiConvention
> www.unep.org/AbidjanConvetion
> Billy Causey <billy.causey at noaa.gov> 
> Sent by: coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
> 19/02/2010 02:13 PM

John C. Ogden, Director
Florida Institute of Oceanography
Professor of Integrative Biology
University of South Florida
830 First Street South
St. Petersburg, FL 33701 USA
Tel. 727-553-1100
Fax  727-553-1109

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