[Coral-List] hope and change

Les Kaufman lesk at bu.edu
Fri Jul 27 14:39:38 EDT 2012

Dear all,

in the interest of clear messaging, I do not think that anybody on this list was suggesting that slow change is the answer to CO2 emissions, and the switch to a low-GHG economy is going to be incremental whether we like it or not- it just has to be in the fastest increments we can possibly imagine and achieve.

Meanwhile, the value of local protective measure for coral reefs remains high no matter what.  Sustainability in tropical watersheds involves all aspects of watershed dynamics, and as horrible as it might be to contemplate losing coral reefs, watershed sustainability would remain just as important- no even more important- even if coral reefs vanished this evening.  It's just that moving quickly on stemming land-based stressors will also help coral reefs along a spectrum that ranges from a great deal, to barely at all, depending upon local circumstances.  As a general statement, though, it is entirely rational and also well-supported by evidence that a well managed watershed is good for coral reefs, and likely to make them more resilient to climate change (though not guarantee their safety without global action to reduce GHG levels).

We must not argue about the merits of local vs. global action, but move things forward quickly on both, quite different fronts.  This in the same vein as arguments over GHG reduction "versus" adaptation to climate change.  There is not "versus", it's just that adaptation is no substitute for GHG reduction and only gets us so far.

I know these things are obvious but we should keep them in mind in our discussions so we don't keep falling into infinite loops.


Les Kaufman
Professor of Biology
Boston University Marine Program
Senior Fellow
Conservation International
lesk at bu.edu 

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