[Coral-List] Value of Hawaiian Reefs - why cant we all just get along? :-)

Billy Causey billy.causey at noaa.gov
Sun Nov 20 15:24:59 EST 2011

Well said Peter!  You have made a lot of good points in your post.  

Billy D. Causey, Ph.D.
Southeast Regional Director
NOAA's  Office of National Marine
33 East Quay Road
Key West, Florida 33040
Office: 305 809 4670 ex 234
Cell:  305 395 0150
Fax:   305 293 5011
Email: billy.causey at noaa.gov

Please excuse brevity for messages sent from this BlackBerry.

----- Original Message -----
From: Peter Edwards [mailto:horlicks_1989 at yahoo.com]
Sent: Friday, November 18, 2011 03:43 PM
To: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov <coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov>
Subject: [Coral-List] Value of Hawaiian Reefs - why cant we all just get	along? :-)

Hello Coral-Listers,

I will try not to be-labor the point, and I am pretty sure that the 
"pure" coral reef biologists, oceanographers, et al will soon chime in 
to let us know this topic is not "science-y" enough.  And that all this 
nonsense about people's preferences, values etc has little or nothing to do with coral reefs (chuckle).

But to I'd like to refer to Gene's last email and others of a similar "strain".... 

There will always be debate among and within disciplines.  This should be 
encouraged as different points of view help to move science and human 
knowledge forward.  However I believe that we will continue to witness 
the decline of precious and "invaluable" resources such as coral reefs, mangrove forests, sea 
grass beds etc if we continue to remain entrenched in our camps.  
Dismissive comments and generalizations about a discipline that people 
may have little understanding about is not helpful.  If we (natural and 
social) scientists learned to "speak" to each other perhaps we would be 
more successful at finding solutions to conservation.  Again I am 
speaking as an individual who has come from a foundation of biology, 
coral reef ecology who recognized the need for integrating social 
sciences including neo-classical micro economic theory as part of my 
tool-kit.  This has helped me better understand issues of efficient 
allocation of resources and open my eyes to possible solutions for 
reducing pollution and environmental degradation.  

I get the strong sense from some of the comments that there is the 
suspicion that by conducting these types of studies the results will be 
"hijacked" by business interests who want to privatize, sell off, steal 
these resources. Well I am sorry to say...."News 
Flash...this just in"...it is already happening.  What this discipline 
and these approaches try to do is find solutions to ensure that these 
resources get the respect they deserve and are not completely 
obliterated from the planet. Message:  WE ARE ON THE SAME TEAM!!!

I urge some of you with deeply ingrained philosophical biases to try to 
be a little more open minded and read a little wider.  Instead of just 
cherry picking articles against this discipline, look for some balanced 
articles.  There are indeed pros and cons to these approaches.  I would 
hate to think that scientists such as ourselves are just as entrenched 
as the political and religious extremists you know that anti-anything-we don't understand- 
folks that seem to dominate the news and political discourse these days.

Nuff Said

Peter Edwards

The views and comments expressed here do not reflect the official position of any organization I may be employed to or affiliated with




Message: 2
Date: Fri, 18 Nov 2011 11:24:16 -0500
From: Eugene Shinn <eshinn at marine.usf.edu>
Subject: [Coral-List] $33B Hawaii Reef Economics Value
To: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
Message-ID: <a062309b4caec2e582adf@[]>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii" ; format="flowed"

Robert, Thank you for exposing the devious nature of the,  "Total 
Economic Value for Protecting and Restoring Hawaiian Coral Reef 
Ecosystems" survey that came up with an outrageous $33.5B per year 
value of Hawaiian coral reefs. You did a great job of showing the 
problems, flaws, and exaggerations. In my long career I have seldom 
seen a questionnaire type survey that was not self-serving. I like to 
call them, "when did you stop beating your wife" surveys that imply 
you have been beating your wife (or dog). Agencies that do these 
surveys decide what they want to do then ask questions about various 
options and ways to accomplish the thing they want. They never ask 
the basic question,  Is the thing or action they want necessary in 
the first place? They are usually all about expanding the agency and 
squeezing more funding (our money) out of Congress.
     I suppose they know how poorly educated the vast majority really 
is (especially in science) and realize they can pull the wool over 
their eyes. You clearly exposed this attitude in your posting. These 
days agencies often have covert help from tax exempt Non Government 
Foundations (NGOs) that are very good at getting press coverage, 
influencing congress, and squeezing tax exempt donations from those 
having expendable money or in need of the tax breaks they provide. 
Gene PS: I could not help noticing posting number 3 that starts with: 
"Seeking a Natural Resource Social Scientist to support the National 
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Center for Coastal Monitoring
and Assessment (CCMA), Biogeography Branch. (note key words, "Social 

No Rocks, No Water, No Ecosystem (EAS)
------------------------------------ -----------------------------------
E. A. Shinn, Courtesy Professor
University of South Florida
College of Marine Science Room 221A
140 Seventh Avenue South
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
<eshinn at marine.usf.edu>
Tel 727 553-1158---------------------------------- 

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