[Coral-List] THE NEXT66

Steve Mussman sealab at earthlink.net
Mon Dec 10 17:49:54 EST 2012

   Dear Phil,
   December 7, 1941 clarified things in a way that removed any lasting doubts
   as to the need for a concerted and determined mobilization effort by the US
   and its allies. Not to downplay the impact of The Blue Marble, but fast
   forward another forty years and we find ourselves confronted by a global
   threat of more insidious proportions.  As reefs, rainforests and countless
   species seemingly become more threatened each day, we do little more than
   wait for another indisputable moment of tragedy to provoke the appropriate
   What is even more disconcerting is the fact that as we approach the end of
   yet another year, the inhabitants of The Blue Marble seem no closer to being
   able to reach a consensus that simply recognizes that the problem exists.
   -----Original Message-----
   >From: Phil Dustan
   >Sent: Dec 8, 2012 11:01 AM
   >To: Coral List
   >Subject: [Coral-List] THE NEXT66
   >Dear Listers,
   > With all the talk about the *NEXT66* species (sort of like the Chicago 7?)
   >I'd like to add the following into the debate:
   > Two very remarkable events occurred on December 7 that were separated
   >by about 30 years: Pearl Harbor was bombed in 1941 which began the
   >US involvement in WW2 and astronaut Jack Schmidt photographed the earth
   >from space on his way to the moon onboard Apollo 17. Both offer insight
   >into the debate about the *Next 66* which will morph into the *Next128*
   > then *1000,* then the ocean will be declared off limits. Astronaut
   >Schmidt's photograph, taken while under instructions not to take pictures
   >by NASA, revolutionized the way we regard out planet. Some suggest it began
   >the Age of Ecology while others have seen the Blue Marble as a photographic
   >manifesto for global justice. Whatever your preference, the photo remains
   >the most widely printed (used) photograph ever taken - and probably the
   >most influential for humankind.
   >So now we come to WW2. The United States along with its allies was faced
   >with fighting two major wars that threatened our very existence. We
   >mobilized and backed our fears with a whopping 53% of GDP contributing to
   >the war effort. Luckily, this was enough to do the job and we owe a great
   >debt of gratitude to those who gave more with the currency of their lives.
   >The country and its allies did what it took to get the job done.
   > We are now facing another type of global threat that is going to take
   >human civilization down a long long hard miserable path. In fact it already
   >has. Our beloved reefs are just some of the beginning indicators of what's
   >in store for humanity. If we want to get serious about the imminent threat
   >we are going to have to roll our sleeves up and fight the real battle.
   >Right now we are just playing. Government programs are watching,
   >monitoring, probing to figure out the mechanisms when we pretty much have
   >identified the threats and know the causes. The NOAA budget for coral reef
   >related programs has ballooned along with their jurisdiction - but the
   >reefs are still dying. We have "protected" the Florida Keys with a
   >"Sanctuary" but the reefs now have about 1-2% of the living coral they had
   >in 1975 when the first NOAA sanctuary began in Key Largo. Today, as I write
   >this, there is a massive coral disease outbreak on Kauai which appears to
   >mirror what happened in the Florida Keys. Monitoring has satisfied the
   >legal regulations, helped to ease people's fears ('cause we got our finger
   >on the pulse so to speak), and made the scientists happy with their grants
   >to study the issue. BUT THE REEFS ARE STILL DYING.
   >No matter how many of the species we claim to protect, until we commit some
   >real effort to the local, regional, and global issues the reefs will
   >continue to die. Conservatively, it will probably take two or more times
   >the level of commitment we made in WW2 to begin to turn the problem around.
   >Anything else is child's play and done to help us placate our collective
   >political conscience. You can protect more by listing them on lists which
   >will probably hinder rather than help obtain a deeper understanding of the
   >problems - but the paperwork will be "minimal" we are told. But its not
   >enough to even say we have started to get a handle on the problem on this
   >December 7, 2012. At this point its all pretty much a very sad joke with a
   >lot of money being spent by well-intending persons to measure and map
   >the disappearance of reefs, rainforests, species, fish, and any other
   >aspect of nature you want to name! The global predictions have already
   >revealed that temperature rise and ocean acidification are going to
   >increase if we continue continuing......along with the human population.
   >So we need to do more, and more and more. We need to start by really using
   >the knowledge we have about the problem at effort levels that
   >will actually accomplish something. But as so many of your have said over
   >the years - its not just reefs and its not just monitoring, or listing, or
   > the things we do as scientists. "It's the Blue Marble stupid" and thanks
   >to Astronaut Schmidt for making that so apparent some many years ago. We
   >Earthlings need to get it through our thick, politically protected skulls
   >that the Long Term Really Has No Price... just like WW2.
   >Think about it when New Years Resolution time rolls around.
   >Happy Holidays,
   > Phil
   >PS- Check out EOS, Vol 93:49 4 Dec 2012 for the Blue Marble story.
   >Phillip Dustan
   >Department of Biology
   >College of Charleston
   >Charleston SC 20401
   >Charleston SC
   >843 953 8086 (voice)
   >843-224-3321 (m)
   >Coral-List mailing list
   >Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov

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