[Coral-List] An Open Letter to the Scuba Diving Industry

Steve Mussman sealab at earthlink.net
Mon Nov 18 15:31:08 EST 2013

   Expressing my opinions via an open letter to the diving industry was just my
   way of venting. You are right
   to assume that it is unlikely to be helpful to my (our) cause, but it sure
   made me feel better to express
   in words the frustrations that have been building up for some time. If I
   could just take a moment to address
   your points of criticism: 1) I addressed it to "Industry Leaders". I could
   have listed names, but if I could
   target a specific entity, it would likely be the DEMA board. 2) I signed "A
   Concerned Diver" because I feel
   it is not just reflective of my perspective; it represents the views of many
   divers that I know.  3) As for being
   condescending; I hope not, but if you are referring to my attitude towards
   the industry it remains and will remain
   critical until things change. I realize that climate change and OA has
   become politicized, but that's not my
   concern. If I wanted to recognize the facts as to how these issues relate to
   coral reef ecosystems I would
   consult  with  the  experts.  The  experts in this case are coral reef
   scientists. Among them are many members
   of this list. I can't read everything and perhaps I'm not privy to all the
   information, but I haven't found one paper
   that does not show considerable concern for the impending impacts of climate
   change and OA that has been written
   by a coral expert. Perhaps there are skeptics and deniers among marine
   biologists who study corals, but I have yet to
   read their work. It could be that dive industry leaders simply find comfort
   in the views of the small percentage of
   non-coral related scientists who perpetuate the debate because it falls in
   line with their political and economic beliefs.
   And if so, I will continue to suggest that they consult and respond to the
   science rather than the noise.
   -----Original Message-----
   >From: Melbourne Briscoe
   >Sent: Nov 17, 2013 10:17 PM
   >To: 'Steve Mussman' , coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
   >Subject: RE: [Coral-List] An Open Letter to the Scuba Diving Industry
   >With all due respect, and with much sympathy for your goals, I think this
   >letter  is  very unlikely to be helpful to your cause, for three main
   >(1) it is not addressed to anyone in particular, so is probably going to
   >suffer the tragedy of the commons; (2) it is not signed by anyone, so has
   >all the credibility and anonymity of any unsigned comment; and (3) is very
   >condescending to some rather thoughtful and intelligent people....not the
   >best way to get them on your side.
   >Never the less, good luck.
   >-----Original Message-----
   >From: coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
   >[mailto:coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov] On Behalf Of Steve Mussman
   >Sent: Friday, November 15, 2013 4:06 PM
   >To: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
   >Subject: [Coral-List] An Open Letter to the Scuba Diving Industry
   > Dear Industry Leaders,
   > I'm not sure if you are aware, but it appears that we've got some serious
   > problems
   > developing with our marine ecosystems. I'm particularly concerned about
   > future of
   > coral reefs which just might be a personal bias although it does seem
   > your entire
   > industry's economic future is inextricably linked to our ability to
   > healthy coral
   > reefs world-wide. Have you ever considered the role that coral reefs play
   > providing
   > the dramatic backdrop that actually gets so many people captivated and
   > enamored with
   > scuba diving in the first place? I think that without coral reefs many
   > people who dive would
   > likely seek out other diversions. I know you are aware of some of our
   > oceans' problems like
   > plastics and other forms of debris. Clean up campaigns are widely
   > and that's a
   > good thing. You are also on top of the lionfish invasion. Speaking of
   > you might want to
   > put more emphasis on sustainable seafood because many species seem to be
   > vanishing.
   > Have you noticed that? It won't be nearly as much fun to scuba dive if
   > fish disappear,
   > especially the bigger ones! Getting back to corals, have you heard
   > climate change
   > and ocean acidification are bad news for coral reefs? I haven't heard
   > talk about
   > it much. I realize that climate change is a controversial issue, but
   > ignoring it won't make it
   > go away. Politicians and media personalities seem to know a lot about it,
   > but maybe you
   > should listen more to all those marine scientists who actually study
   > reefs. They may
   > be an odd bunch, but they know a thing or two about coral reef ecology.
   > really do and
   > they are pretty adamant about the fact that man-made climate change and
   > ocean acidification
   > are going to be very detrimental to coral reefs around the world. The
   >ones I
   > know are actually
   > worried about it. Problem is that they are generally a well-behaved group
   > and consider self-restraint
   > an integral part of maintaining their scientific objectivity . . .
   > I think some of them
   > would secretly like to scream out from time to time in frustration
   > you and some
   > others don't seem to be paying much attention. I can't speak for them,
   >but I
   > believe they would like
   > to see the diving industry become more responsible and pro-active. They
   > would probably
   > recommend that you begin appealing directly to the community of divers to
   > help change attitudes,
   > end the debate and affect change. There are actually some simple steps
   > your industry
   > could take that might help alter the current downward trajectory if you
   > would just exert a little
   > more leadership. Contrary to what the naysayers predict, prudent action
   > would not result in
   > economic ruin; it might even stimulate growth! To be clear, the science
   > telling us that the
   > threats are real and time is running out if we are to have any hope of
   > mitigating the impacts.
   > I sincerely hope that it is not too late because your industry's fate as
   > well as that of our coral
   > reefs is in the balance. We may be able to develop synthetic 3-D coral
   > structures, but
   > don't be fooled into thinking it will be the same. Despite technological
   > advances like virtual reality,
   > the diving industry can't hope to maintain it's financial stability built
   > some fabricated substitute
   > for what was once a wild, live and dynamic underwater wonderland. So for
   > the benefit of divers
   > and non-divers alike, please take the first step and forthrightly and
   > publicly address this issue.
   > I know you can do it and it might make a difference. It's certainly worth
   > try.
   > Thank you and warm regards,
   > A Concerned Diver
   >Coral-List mailing list
   >Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov

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