[Coral-List] A plea to stay on topic

Julian @ Reefcheck Malaysia julian at reefcheck.org.my
Thu May 20 10:51:26 EDT 2010

Dear Hal

With the greatest of respect, and sympathy to your inbox, I am not sure that
the two subjects are actually that disconnected. This may be a simplistic
argument, but our choices of energy source today will have an impact on
coral reefs in the future if the climate does keep on warming, if oceans
keep on warming and if CO2 levels in the oceans keep increasing. 

Here in Malaysia we are seeing the first signs of coral bleaching, which
NOAA warned about a few weeks ago. It is looking like it will be extensive
(I remember 1998) and a colleague in Thailand reports bleaching of up to 50%
of hard coral cover on some shallow reefs (I have pictures if anyone is
interested). For me, the question is: what do we do about it? Short term,
there are management measures such as closing access to some areas, but long
term needs us to look at the big picture, if we are to find real solutions
to declining coral reef health. Are we to ignore the wider causes of
bleaching and just manage local impacts in the short term? Isn't that a bit
like sticking your finger in a hole in the dyke and not telling anyone else
about the problem? Or are we to raise the issue at a "higher level" (by
which I mean higher up the political food chain, rather than higher
intellectual level), and bring some solid science and research into a debate
which has been largely stifled to date?

Is there a link to coral reef science? Perhaps not directly from the
scientist's viewpoint. But maybe this takes us back to the "discussion" a
few weeks ago about scientists and non-scientists being able to communicate.
The coral reef scientists may want to concentrate on technical problems such
as the precise mechanism by which corals bleach. But managers must deal with
the broader issue of how to maximise reef resilience, both in the short term
and the long term. Some support from scientists in that endeavour would be
highly appreciated!

For me, it is a relief to see that these issues are being raised in the
scientific community, because these are big, important questions for society
(the energy ones, not the coral bleaching mechanism!!) and they have been
ignored for too long. There has been virtually NO debate in the UK about
whether off-shore wind is the right way to go. And this despite the huge
cost to the tax payer.

So I sincerely hope you will forgive me if I add to your inbox and stay a
little off topic. As someone new to the list, and not really a scientist, I
won't mind if you put me right on this (I mean it, I really won't, I am not
being facetious here). If the list really is just for discussing coral reef
science, then fine. But I think an opportunity would be missed to engage a
wider audience, unless there is an alternative forum.


Julian Hyde
General Manager
Reef Check Malaysia Bhd
03 2161 5948
Follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/rcmalaysia

"The bottom line of the Millenium Asessment findings is that human actions
are depleting Earth's natural capital, putting such strain on the
environment that the ability of the planet's ecosystems to sustain future
generations can no longer be taken for granted."

-----Original Message-----
From: coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
[mailto:coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov] On Behalf Of Lescinsky,
Halard L
Sent: Thursday, 20 May, 2010 3:54 AM
To: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
Subject: [Coral-List] A plea to stay on topic

Can we please use the moderator's authority to keep the discussion on
topic..  Energy futures, global warming and much of what has been coming
across lately really is pretty far removed from coral reefs.  I'd love to
keep my inbox a little smaller.---  Hal Lescinsky
Coral-List mailing list
Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov

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