[Coral-List] Science vs Science the Saga Continues

karim karim.benmustapha at instm.rnrt.tn
Wed Apr 10 05:18:54 EDT 2013

Dera all,
I did nt fellow the discussion from the beginning nevertheless I allow
myself to be part of it at this stage, with your permission.
I m Tunisian marine biologist (profession), and a radical ecologist as such
I do not see that any UN 'action' (if any) will be relevant at this stage
neither governmental ones. A new paradigm could'nt be achieved with the
#business at usual# philosophy, and so sustainable development... 
What we mean with a development that should be sustainable? While our global
ecological footprint already exceeded 3.5 time what was allowed to us (since
august 2012) and that scientist warned international community about a
possible state shift in our biosphere
A paradigm should support intitaives that go fareway beyond the concept of
sustainable development and green econonmy tha the UN are promoting, because
the final goal is to allow the capitalization of the nature and its systems.



-----Original Message-----
From: coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
[mailto:coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov] On Behalf Of
Sent: Friday, April 05, 2013 03:21 PM
To: Bastiaan Vermonden; Peter Edwards
Cc: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
Subject: Re: [Coral-List] Science vs Science the Saga Continues

Dear Bastiaan,

>From your first and last name I must infer that you are European and a
native Dutch Speaker like myself, which should indicate that we have the
same intellectual cultural heritage and thus similar points of view.

I am part of multiple UN high level panel (UN HLP) open consultations with
global civil society to come up with a new paradigm to be able to implement
sustainable development when the 2015 deadline for the Millennium
Development Goals runs out.

See: http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/stats.shtml

Already within the Beyond 2015 alliance we sense that the UN HLP
consultation is being thwarted by some governments which do NOT really want
to commit themselves to tackling problems, and it seems that because civil
society lacks a scientific spine or backbone if you will that bureaucrats
and multinationals can still get away with conserving their own agendas
instead of conserving Planet Earth.

Creating a global federated network (no central command, the Internet as
command central utilizing all its technologies, membership based on shared
objectives, goals and deadlines) of scientists and civil society would be
the best way to start this common quest.

Ironically it is the scientists that are the least organized bunch of them

I have some ideas as to how to resolve this and will float these very soon.

Milton Ponson, President
Rainbow Warriors Core Foundation
(Rainbow Warriors International)
Tel. +297 568 5908
PO Box 1154, Oranjestad
Aruba, Dutch Caribbean
Email: southern_caribbean at yahoo.com

To unite humanity in a global society dedicated to a sustainable way of life

 From: Bastiaan Vermonden <bastiaan.vermonden at gmail.com>
To: Peter Edwards <horlicks_1989 at yahoo.com>
Cc: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
Sent: Thursday, April 4, 2013 1:54 PM
Subject: Re: [Coral-List] Science vs Science the Saga Continues
Dear coral listers,

I would like to ask what do you all hope to achieve from this discussion?
For me it is clear we should achieve cooperation and solutions to our
problems. I think that all of us on this list will agree that humans are
damaging the environment, that coral reefs are being lost and that we should
do something regardless of our background, ecologist, economist, social
scientist, biologist etc etc. What we don't agree about is the how to tackle
the problem and as long as we don't work together I don't believe we will
come with a solution. Now we can all point fingers towards each others
shortcomings or we can take a good look at out own and then see how someone
from another discipline can help us reduce those.

I think the final solution to coral reef and any other form of nature
conservation will not come biological and ecological research it will come
from business. Either that or we will need an entire social rethink as some
people seem to suggest, but before we advocate this we should consider this
quote from Churchill:

"It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all
the others that have been tried."

And maybe we can also change this into "capitalism is the worst form of
economic planning except for all the others that have been tried." I
certainly don't want to go to a feudal or centrally planned economic system!

So for me I believe that the day that we can apply for a job or start a
business that pays for each square meter, hectare, km of reef saved and
maintained or restored to a healthy or (near) pristine state will be the day
that coral reef conservation turns succesful.

So I don't mean jobs that pay us to be:

a conservationist,
a coral reef researcher,
a environmental educator
a marine park manager,
a marine park guard,
a artificial reef builder or coral transplanter a policy maker and etc etc

It is essential that someone gets paid for and can make a living by
effectively conserving and restoring the marine environment and if these
persons are not effective they get fired. Based on my *general *observations
I do not believe that this is currently the case.

Lets take the marine park manager, most often his boss is a politician or
government official. Now if he starts to enforce his marine park to improve
the quality of the environment and hands out big fines before he knows it
the fishermen, irresponsible tourist operators and their business partners
and employees are upset and complaining to the local politician and the
marine park manager gets fired. But if instead (s)he just sits back and
relaxes cashes the pay check and doesn't upset anyone except for maybe some
nature lovers (or scientists ;) who can't organize sufficiently and don't
have employees and business partners to multiply their voice many times over
then (s)he keeps the job and the income.

Meanwhile tourism operators might have an incentive to ensure that the reefs
remain protected but in the short term they just don't want any tourists to
know that there are any problems or that the environment has degraded
because that could stop tourists from coming. So instead of making people
aware that there is a problem, often they are complicit in spreading the
illusion that the "marine" environment is healthy and sometimes even

& Fishermen (poor and rich!) meanwhile continue to operate on the basis that
if they don't catch the fish someone else will.

So does this mean that science is not necessary and that we sit back and let
business fix everything. No of course not, behind each business revolution
there is technical and social innovation ranging from the steam engine to
capitalism and even consumerism and most often also the implementation of
good policy. And these innovations are only possible due to the work of
scientists, innovators, philosophers, economists and etc.

So my question is how will our work make it possible for people to make it
their job to conserve and protect a reef and make sure it resembles a reef
that we would expect to see if there were no people. I dream of such a job
and I am sure many of you here do as well. Yet just like you cannot be a
scientist if no one pays your salary and funds your research or any other
occupation we cannot tell our bosses that next week we are no longer coming
back to work and instead we are going to devote our life to saving our
favorite reef. In the end we need to eat, take care of ourselves and our
families and most of us want some luxury as well and therefore we need a

So to answer this question of how can make it someone's job to (effectively)
conserve and restore the reef we can use everyone from any discipline with
any good idea, any relevant insight whether they are a biologist, economist,
mathematician, physicist or whatever.

I dream of one day being one of many people making my living effectively
protecting a coral reef, I dream of one day participating in a strike with
(other) coral reef protectors and their families and friends to prevent a
government from destroying (our) reefs and livelihood, I dream of one day
breeding sharks to reintroduce to a degraded ecosystem, of planting corals
as if planting a new forest, I imagine participating in a lobby that calls
for politicians to provide subsidies to coral reef protection companies
rather than oil, military& banking companies. I dream of politicians one day
telling society that letting coral reefs fail is a systemic risk to our
society, that coral reefs and their associated businesses are too big to


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