[Coral-List] Approaching game over

David M. Lawrence dave at fuzzo.com
Wed Mar 21 14:01:52 EDT 2012

Thanks for the preaching, Mel, but I think it is a demonstrable fact -- 
almost a law of nature at this point -- that engaging in hyperbole and 
throwing the occasional insult actually increases the odds of being 
called upon to speak out on a topic.

The scientific community can continue to ignore reality as long as it 
likes, but any serious student of modern media can find countless 
examples of speech far more extreme than Sarah's rather mild comments 
not just being used, but in fact dominating public debate and thought -- 
this trend has been increasing since, say, the 1980 presidential 
campaign.  (And there have been countless examples in the past if one 
bothers to study, say, mainstream media portrayal of minorities.)

There are quite a few examples of both sides using such speech -- 
effectively -- in the environmental arena, too.

Bringing it back to coral reefs, the questions she poses are 
legitimate.  How will use of tar sands (still the better term, despite 
the modern marketing) affect climate, ocean chemistry, and the like?  
And how can we effectively communicate with portions of the public whose 
mind is inclined to be closed to considering the value of marine 
resources far from their front yards?



On 3/21/2012 10:55 AM, Mel Briscoe wrote:
> "Once the Keystone pipeline is operational, it will be game over for Earth's
> climate and for the coral reefs."
> I doubt that the extreme hyperbole is a good way to communicate your
> concerns to decision makers.
> They simply do not listen to Chicken Little.
> "initiate a conversation with someone who still has a working brain in
> there"
> A truely wonderful way to get someone to listen to you.
> Sarah, your emails are now in the (permanent) public record.
> Given your stated attitude, I doubt that you will be called to testify! This
> squanders your knowledge and passion.
> Sorry.
> - Mel
> -----Original Message-----
> From: coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
> [mailto:coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov] On Behalf Of Sarah
> Frias-Torres
> Sent: Wednesday, March 21, 2012 10:22 AM
> To: coral list
> Subject: [Coral-List] Approaching game over
> Dear Coral-ListersI think we are approaching game over.
> President Obama will announce tomorrow the permit approval for the southern
> portion of the Keystone XL
> pipelinehttp://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/bestoftv/2012/03/21/exp-early-myb-k
> eystone.cnn
> This is a pipeline operated by TransCanada, that will connect the oil sands
> in Canada with U.S.  oil refineries in the Gulf of Mexico. While the
> approval is still pending for the portions of the pipeline that go through
> the U.S. heartland (and one of the most valuable aquifers in the country),
> approval of the southern portion of the pipeline means that, unless
> something dramatic happens, the pipeline will become a reality.
> Once the Keystone pipeline is operational, it will be game over for Earth's
> climate and for the coral reefs.
> When you follow the debate about this project, it's interesting to see that
> scientists are almost non existent. Reporters talk about "environmentalists"
> and use the words "believe" to frame the consequences of using the Canadian
> oil sands and the pipeline. As if environmentalists are running around in
> some mystical trance, playing with crystals, singing kumba-ya, and using
> their believes to "stop the progress of America". Whereas the statements
> from the oil companies are framed as facts. They even go to the extend of
> saying "Canadian oil sand use will diversify the country's energy
> resources".
> Where are the climate scientists, the marine scientists, the coral reef
> scientists in this debate? Are any of the top scientists on those research
> areas talking to government officials, warning them against using the oil
> sands?I don't know if Canadian scientists have approached the Canadian
> government asking to reconsider the use of oil sands. If they had, it didn't
> work.
> Considering the U.S. is the largest fossil fuel consumer in the world, you
> would expect top scientists have approached the government and demonstrated
> this madness has to stop. I'm not aware of a commission of top scientists
> speaking up... the Union of Concerned Scientists seems missing in action.
> What can we do?
> July brings the 12th International Coral Reef Symposium. I wonder if this
> will be the last ICRS held while there are still living coral reefs out
> there. Besides the many activities during the Symposium, those attending
> should think about the 13th ICRS, in 2016. If nothing changes, the Keystone
> pipeline will be operational, the Canadian oil sands will have had 4 more
> years to burn, and so all the other fossil fuel burning all around the
> world.Maybe the 13th ICRS will be renamed as the "International Coral Reefs
> We Used to Have Symposium"
> Perhaps the world renowned scientists attending the upcoming ICRS could
> draft a letter to both the U.S. and Canadian governments, explaining the
> major environmental damage of oil sand usage, for land and marine
> ecosystems, willing to provide their scientific expertise to answer whatever
> questions politicians might have... maybe it can be signed up by those
> attending the Symposium.
> Or perhaps, some of you in this list can get into the power circles in
> either government (or knows someone who can), and initiate a conversation
> with someone who still has a working brain in there.
> Or maybe someone in this list has a better idea on how to deliver the
> message.
> Think about it. Imagine if scientists could really change the world.
> Sarah Frias-Torres, Ph.D. Schmidt Ocean Institute Postdoctoral FellowOcean
> Research&  Conservation Association (ORCA) 1420 Seaway Drive, Fort Pierce,
> Florida 34949 USA Tel (772)
> 467-1600http://www.teamorca.orghttp://independent.academia.edu/SarahFriasTor
> res
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  David M. Lawrence        | Home:  (804) 559-9786
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