[Coral-List] Pew report on climate change

todd duncan amphibioustodd at yahoo.com
Sat Nov 27 11:52:20 EST 2010

Fair enough.  As an educator, my biggest challenge is not to teach facts, but to inspire students to apply what they learn to their own lives in the way they see fit; to live what they believe.  It's harder, and takes some measure of courage.  All good change breeds conflict, and at some point we all are faced with the prospect of shrinking away or hanging it out there.  Those moments will define us, and the success of environmental stewardship everywhere.  If real environmental awareness is to make inroads into the average American home as a priority, a fair amount of educated people will need to become vocal in ways that has yet to happen, they aren't used to, will attract criticism, maybe compromise funding, and generally make life more complicated.  If coral reefs are really threatened to the degree the Pew Report and those on the List are saying, than these personal losses are small ones.  I enjoy the List by following along as a
 voyeur, mostly, but was compelled to join in.  Thanks for writing.  Todd
 On Tue, 11/23/10, Steve Mussman <sealab at earthlink.net> wrote:

From: Steve Mussman <sealab at earthlink.net>
Subject: Re: [Coral-List] Pew report on climate change
To: "todd duncan" <amphibioustodd at yahoo.com>
Date: Tuesday, November 23, 2010, 5:01 AM

#yiv453350090 #yiv453350090yiv475361681 {font-family:Geneva, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;font-size:9pt;background-color:#ffffff;color:black;}

Hi Todd,     
  Didn't mean to upset you, but I am glad that I did because I was simply expressing a bit of sarcasm with statements made tongue in cheek. 
I still believe that the scientific communty must step up to confront the situation revealed so clearly in that Pew survey. I just don't know what it will take to get them to react accordingly.  So, I was just being an agitator in an attemt to draw a response. 
We all need to do what ever we can to, as you said, inspire the scientific community to act.
 I am not giving up, just trying another tact.  Thanks for your encouragement and stay involved!
P.S. I like your email address as I am amphibious as well.

-----Original Message----- 
From: todd duncan 
Sent: Nov 22, 2010 11:16 PM 
To: Steve Mussman 
Subject: Re: [Coral-List] Pew report on climate change 

This sounds a lot like giving up.  If you know better, than you have a duty to educate, regardless of the challenge.  Since when did science relent to public opinion? You need to re-read the quote that follows your own email, firstly, and secondly, listen to your gut that drove your first impulse to inspire the scientific community to step up.  It wasn't nonsense.  It was the right idea, and still is.  

--- On Sat, 11/20/10, Steve Mussman <sealab at earthlink.net> wrote:

From: Steve Mussman <sealab at earthlink.net>
Subject: [Coral-List] Pew report on climate change
To: "coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov" <coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov>
Date: Saturday, November 20, 2010, 3:25 PM

The Pew Research Center’s survey that Milton Ponson posted is indeed 
troubling, but at the same time its findings should come as no surprise.
The partisan divide that the poll revealed on climate change and energy 
policy is simply reflective of the polarizing differences that exist on
any number of critical issues.

In the past I have opined that in order to reverse this trend, the scientific
community needs to step up and be more assertive in communicating with the public
at large. This, in the belief that popular opinion would eventually react and adjust
appropriately to reason. I’m afraid that such logic has already proven to be highly 
simplistic and exceedingly optimistic. I regret asserting such nonsense.

Considering the amount of resources utilized by those promoting the campaign to
downplay the pernicious nature of anthropogenic climate change, the prospects for 
reversing the prevailing public perception are beginning to dissipate. Unless a 
counter force capable of momentous push back suddenly appears, we can only expect 
the disturbing trend to gain impetus. The expectation that scientists should collectively 
accept responsibility to counter these forces is beyond reason. After all, scientists
have their own interests to protect and they cannot be expected to fulfill a role
that requires such an elevated level of risk and self-sacrifice. 

When one factors in the state of current fiscal conditions, we may be facing
the perfect storm. Under these circumstances it is highly unlikely that any economic
policy designed to reduce carbon emissions (like a carbon tax), no matter how well 
conceived, could possibly be agreed upon by our polarized government institutions.
It is just not going to happen and we can only hope to buy time. That is, if there
is time before the tipping point is upon us.  

There is of course, another consideration that may well be the proverbial 
eight hundred-pound gorilla in the room. That is the fact that environmental issues
that threaten coral reefs and other ecosystems are of little consequence
(and therefore, a low priority) to most Americans. It may be that even if they 
believed and accepted as fact the worst case scenarios relating to anthropogenic
climate change, it would not elicit the appropriate response.

"The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice 
to solve most of the world's problems."- Mohandas K. Gandhi


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