[Coral-List] Forever

Billy Causey billy.causey at noaa.gov
Mon May 16 15:20:42 EDT 2011

Thank you for the perspective and this posting.  Speaking for myself, I 
like what you have written for it reminds me of what I think about when 
reflecting about the future to be left behind for my grandchildren.  So 
many of us thought the fountain would flow forever.  Billy

On 5/16/2011 2:12 PM, Martin Moe wrote:
> Scientists work with hypotheses, numbers, statistics, carefully measured
> observations, scientific descriptions of organisms, and develop understandings
> of temporal changes in biological and physical phenomena; and this is how it
> should be and how it is for coral reef scientists. The complexity of the coral
> reef and associated ecosystems, however, often makes precise science difficult,
> and in pursuit of accuracy and truth we tend to eschew the passion and
> superficiality that permeates most human thought and communication. Thus, I
> realize that there is little room for emotional environmentalism on this list,
> and so I hesitate to make this post (and maybe it won’t even be accepted, and
> that would be OK). Some will say that this list is no place for things like
> this, but others may appreciate such musings. And as discussed at length some
> time ago on this list, we do have to find some way (ways) of communicating the
> necessity of coral reef science and the reasons for conservation, preservation,
> and restoration of our marine ecosystems and marine natural resources to those
> that can see only the surface of the sea. And maybe, just maybe, this might be
> of help with that.
> Forever
> It was the year 1511. The old Calusa sat on the white sand beach of Lower
> Matecumbe Key, watched his grandchildren play in the clear sparkling waters at
> the edge of the island, and knowing that his remaining years were not many,
> contemplated his world. His life had been one with the tropical sea and the
> subtle seasons of these islands, he had never wanted for sustenance or beauty.
> As the world had been for his ancestors, it was for him, and for those who would
> follow him. He knew that the spirits of the earth and sea would always provide
> for the needs of his people. He thought of what he knew about his world.
> The innumerable queen conch of the nearby grass beds, they were Forever.
> The huge turtles that crawled the beaches and lay their eggs. Forever would they
> do so.
> The islands to the west covered with sea birds and their nests. Forever
> The giant groupers hiding in the rocks and reefs. Forever
> The mangroves with their roots that reached out to the sea. Forever
> The spiny lobsters found everywhere from bay to reef. Forever
> The birds that flooded the islands in spring and fall. Forever
> The fish of every size, form, and color that lived, according to their needs, in
> every different habitat throughout his world. Forever
> The ospreys and cormorants that caught fish with such ease and the eagles and
> frigate birds and sea gulls that stole those fish. Forever
> The sea urchins that lived in the rocks and reefs and buried themselves in the
> grass beds. Forever
> The Caribbean monk seal, found on sandy beaches and rocky shores ranged to every
> corner of his world. Forever
> The plump sponges that covered the bay bottoms and provide habitat and utility.
> Forever
> The great living rocks, the foundation of his world, the corals that protected
> the islands during storms and made homes for fish and other creatures of amazing
> form and color. They were Forever
> He thought that this was how it was, this is how it is, and this is how it would
> be, Forever. He knew that when his days were done he would still be a part of
> his world and his world was, Forever. And he was content.
> Six hundred years later I sit where perhaps he sat so long ago. My grand
> children play in the waters that sparkle just as brightly, but are filled with
> the effluent of a civilization unimaginable not so very long ago. My thoughts
> also wander as my days wind down, as did his. I also love these islands, but I
> am not content. I know that Forever, is not forever.
> Martin Moe
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Billy D. Causey, Ph.D., Regional Director
Southeast Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Region
National Marine Sanctuary Program
33 East Quay Road
Key West, Florida 33040

305.809.4670 (ex 234)
305.395.0150 (cell)
305.293.5011 (fax)

Billy.Causey at noaa.gov

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