[Coral-List] question about the expanded listing of coral species

David M. Lawrence dave at fuzzo.com
Sat Feb 27 23:52:11 EST 2010

I find Gene's response somewhat illogical and incredibly mean-spirited. 
  I learned early on when I worked on an environmental issue in 
Louisiana that a people can have a variety of motives for working 
together on a cause -- no matter how diverse their motivations, it was 
pretty clear they cared about the issue.  We welcomed their help, 
whether they were hikers from the Sierra Club, birdwatchers from the 
National Audubon Society, or hunters from Ducks Unlimited or the 
National Rifle Association.  They joined the cause because they found 
common ground -- and helped make our effort more successful than most of 
us imagined.

I think it's disgraceful to question the motives of the CBD as Gene has 
done here.  One certainly doesn't get the impression they do anything 
nefarious from the Tucson Citizen article he cited.  The article is a 
review of Edward Humes's book, "Eco-Barons."  Note what the reviewer said:

"But Humes saves some of his most lavish praise for our homegrown Center 
for Biological Diversity.


"Humes notes that during its 20-year existence, the center has won close 
to 90 percent of its 500 cases - an unprecedented success rate in 
environmental law.

"The George W. Bush administration didn't like listing species as 
endangered. But almost every one of the 87 listed during the Bush years 
was protected because the Tucson-based center 'used the courts to force 
the issue,' Humes writes.

"And that is how the Center for Biological Diversity works: by forcing 
the government to abide by every letter of environmental law - 
especially the Endangered Species Act.


"It was the center that forced Bush 'to concede, after six years of 
resolute denial, that there really is such a thing as global warming and 
that it is killing (among other species) the polar bear,' Humes writes.

"And that's an impressive accomplishment for a bunch of people working 
in a Tucson warehouse."

Hmmm.  The CBD has won nearly 90 percent of its cases?  Gene seems to 
think its a scandal, but it would seem to me they generally have the 
center has the law on its side.  What's so scandalous about that?

As for the condoms, it is silly, but the condom campaign highlights a 
very real problem -- growing human population strains the environmental 
support system that makes human life possible.  I don't know when we'll 
hit our carrying capacity (and find out how sound some of Malthus's 
ideas are), but if we don't find a way to stem our reproductive output, 
we will hit it someday.  I don't think any of us would like to live in 
that world.

Personally, I'd rather see our population controlled by us making 
informed, voluntary choices on the r-side of the population growth 
equation than have the choice made for us by involuntary and potentially 
catastrophic forces on the K-side of the equation.

Finally, we have Gene's logic problem.  You list a species in order to 
gain the legal authority to do what you can to save a species or a group 
of species.  No one can protect against storms, meteorite impacts, or 
other "acts of God," so to speak, but we may be able to do something 
about climate change (if we act sooner than later), recreational 
impacts, commercial fishing impacts, land use changes, etc., etc., etc.

An unforeseen disease could have wiped out the bald eagle when it was 
first listed decades ago.  Would it have made sense to argue against 
listing it just because we couldn't protect it against all threats such 
as epidemics?  No.  What about the brown pelican?  No.  The American 
alligator?  No.  The timber wolf?  No.

Does it make sense to argue against protecting the coral species in 
question because we can't protect them against everything?  Well, if you 
want to remain logically consistent with past public policy, the only 
answer is no.  If you want to be logical, period, the answer remains no.


On 2/25/2010 12:23 PM, Eugene Shinn wrote:
>> My concerns about the CBDs proposed threatened coral species action
>> certainly created some interest among list readers.  I had hoped
>> that by discussing this issue someone would come forward and explain
>> how the listing would save those species when listing of Acropora
>> appeared to have done little. Like Eric Borneman, I wanted to know
>> who and how the species were selected.  What I heard through the
>> list responses was that "it would make people aware of the problem."
>> Unfortunately that will not save any corals since they are not being
>> collected or molested in any significant way. There really is no
>> action that would change Caribbean-wide diseases and water quality
>> issues in the short term. What worries me the most  is that the
>> Florida Keys are already a marine sanctuary that protects all
>> species of corals including those that are not included in the 82
>> species.  Will having NMFS list them  save those in Florida? Maybe
>> they are directing this listing outside of Florida? I think we are
>> all aware that  If Co2 emissions were to cease tomorrow it might
>> take about 50 years before atmospheric and sea water levels returned
>> to pre industrial levels. If that's what is killing them (we really
>> do not know what is killing them in the Caribbean) then they would
>> already be dead by then.
>> What we have heard from the CBD attorney on the list was a simply a
>> legal explaination of their action. There was no suggestion as to
>> how NMFS can save corals from storms, and a region wide
>> disease/water quality problem. I did a little checking and found
>> that the CBD has been very successful in badgering governments and
>> using our tax money to do so. During its 20-year exisence CBD has
>> wone close to 90 percent of its 500 cases! For more see the book
>> "Eco Barons: The Dreamers, Schemers and Millionaires Who Are Saving
>> Our Planet." I asked the question earlier, "where do they get their
>> funding" A little investigation revealed a lot. Here is a quote from
>> Budd-Falen Law Offices of Cheyenne, Wyoming document, "Just between
>> Arizona, California, the District of Columbia, Georgia, New Mexico,
>> and Washington, the CBD has amassed $6,709,467 in attorneys fees all
>> paid by the taxpayers. That's a pretty good business. I will send
>> the full statement to those who request it. For more about the
>> attorneys and who makes CBD tick go to
>> <http://www.tucsoncitizen.com/daily/opinion/113415.php>  and finally
>> for a lot of fun go to this site
>> <http://www.endangeredspeciescondoms.com/>  and learn about CBD birth
>> control devices. I can't wait to order my Staghorn package. Gene PS:
>> The tucsoncitizen website has been removed since I read it yesterday.
>> --
>> No Rocks, No Water, No Ecosystem (EAS)
>> ------------------------------------ -----------------------------------
>> E. A. Shinn, Courtesy Professor
>> University of South Florida
>> Marine Science Center (room 204)
>> 140 Seventh Avenue South
>> St. Petersburg, FL 33701
>> <eshinn at marine.usf.edu>
>> Tel 727 553-1158----------------------------------
>> -----------------------------------

  David M. Lawrence        | Home:  (804) 559-9786
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