[Coral-List] Effective PSA: Plastics Kill

Martin Moe martin_moe at yahoo.com
Thu Mar 22 17:32:13 EDT 2012

I found Sarah's post on the "game being over" most interesting and I agree with the message and the 
alarm. When your two year old child runs out in the road you don't say 
"Please don't do that, honey." and continue watching a sit com on TV. 
You jump up and scream and slap him or her on the behind and do your best 
to impress on the child the great danger in that behavior. The danger is not evident to the child in one quick look at an empty and inviting open 
road. Without an emotional correction, the message is ignored. However, the problem with most adults is that they see what they want to see and think as do their peers. If the message is likely to negatively impact their financial state or their comfort zone or even just appears to be a problem that will not be evident until a time in 
the far future, like two years or so, then they consider the best course of action is to ignore it and accuse the messenger of being a hysterical Chicken Little. Corporate and political interests are all about growth and development, the economy of the present almost always trumps consideration of negative effects in the future. I know it isn't effective to throw stones at popular culture, the vapid and shallow entertainment and past times that so many of us consider almost a birthright and the basic reason for living, and really, I hope that winter never comes for the grasshoppers, hmmm maybe it won't, but the effects of an eternal summer may be much worse then those of a seasonal winter.

Unfortunately, I don't have an answer. I fear that humanity will party in the caboose as 
the train speeds toward the washed out bridge and not realize what has 
happened until the caboose hits the bottom of the gorge. And the small 
group in the sleeper car listening to a Power Point being presented by
a  calm rational scientist who is promoting a petition to be presented 
next month to the engineer dozing in the locomotive will scream "We told you so!" as the sleeper car lands down next to the caboose. But maybe, just maybe, if enough rational minds understand the problems and the science behind the problems, solutions can be found. All we can do, all we must do, is try as hard as we can.

But on 
another note, I also worry, as does Sarah and many others, about the effects of toxic effluents on our affluent society. My current concern is that the presence of endocrine disruptors in our fresh and near shore waters may be seriously affecting reproduction and development of planktonic and larval forms of life, and these "stealth pollutants" are active at the miniscule concentrations of ppb and ppt. We have only an outline idea of what they are, in what concentration they are in various areas, and what their effect might be on larval fish and invertebrate development. My interest stems from my quest
 to solve the problems of death at metamorphosis in the culture of 
Diadema sea
 urchins using the near shore water of Florida Bay. I recently wrote an article (an article, not a scientific paper) on the possibility of endocrine disruptors in Florida Bay that was published in the Jan/Feb issue of CORAL magazine. These "stealth pollutants" are active in extremely small concentrations, ppb and ppt, and can interfere with hormone activity in vertebrates and invertebrates. The link to the digital edition is below.

Feminization of male freshwater fish is is rapidly increasing world wide. Endocrine disruptors are a matter of great concern and developing research programs in rivers and lakes, and the water in rivers and lakes is ocean bound. I think that it is quite possible that survival of the larvae of 
many coral reef organisms can be affected during larval development by 
endocrine disruptors in concentrations so minute that their presence is 
not detected by ordinary chemical analysis, and being larvae, their 
death is also not detected. If this is a problem to coral reef organisms nothing can be done about it, certainly not until research is done that identifies and defines the problem.


Martin Moe

 From: Sarah Frias-Torres <sfrias_torres at hotmail.com>
To: coral list <coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov> 
Sent: Thursday, March 22, 2012 11:03 AM
Subject: [Coral-List] Effective PSA: Plastics Kill

As Monty Python says: and now for something completely different...
Here's a very effective PSA showing plastics kill marine life and what we can do about it.
Perhaps we could think of something that effective to communicate how burning fossil fuels is affecting the oceans, including coral reefs, and how that it turn is affecting us.
Anybody in this list wants to collaborate with me to produce the PSA, or multiple PSAs?
Warning: we might have to use hyperbole and/or humor to get people's attention. 

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/SarahFriasTorres
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