[Coral-List] Ocean Acidification and the state of coral reefs

Peter Sale sale at uwindsor.ca
Wed Feb 15 13:02:52 EST 2012

Hi all,
I have been reading the posts on ocean acidification and related matters 
and have been impressed.
My friend Alina Szmant got it started with a post that could have led to a 
lot of name-calling and worse (the polite description is that Alina was 
being provocative).  What followed was a series of posts about the science 
of OA, about the large gaps still remaining in our understanding of the 
impacts of OA on reef systems, and about the relationships between science 
and advocacy.  They were informative, useful, and respectful of 
contributors with differing views.  You all did well.

Interspersed with this discussion was the suggestion that OA is a bit of a 
bandwagon, and the implication that bandwagon riders are self-serving, out 
for what they can get in the grubby world of science funding.  As one who 
has ridden the occasional bandwagon ....... we choose the bus that will 
take us where we have to go, and a bandwagon is not always a pretty sight, 
but it can move.  OA is clearly an important change happening to the 
oceans right now, very deserving of scientific study, and if that 
generates a bandwagon, those who have the skills to tackle the science 
should hop on board.

At the same time, lets not fall into the 'mine is bigger than yours' trap 
when discussing the various deleterious impacts on coral reefs.  Humanity 
is in the midst of the worst environmental crisis we have had to deal with 
since the Pleistocene, it is multifaceted, coral reefs are being hit 
harder than any other ecosystem, and the future looks very grim, both for 
us and for reefs, if we do not change our ways.  Arguing about which 
process is worst diverts attention from the need to confront the fact that 
there is an enormous crisis out there and it really is time for humanity 
to stop rearranging deck chairs and deciding the tunes to be played on the 
decks of the Titanic.  OA, bleaching and a whole lot of local 
anthropogenic nastiness are worthy of being investigated, understood, and 
documented in an effort by scientists to get the word out to those who 
still insist that if we can just get those deck chairs rearranged..... You 
get my point.  We don't need to add to the confusion.
Peter F. Sale

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