[Coral-List] political arguments on coral-list

Martin Moe martin_moe at yahoo.com
Fri May 23 09:28:46 EDT 2014

What is it worth? What is our current civilization worth?
What is (was) the ecological, geological biological, and chemical environment
of our planet, developed over millions of years of evolution in all areas of
life worth? Obviously, it is worth applying all the effort and science we can
muster within and perhaps just beyond the constraints that politics, government,
religion, and the biological and behavioral imperatives that are imposed by the biology
of our species. And if that is not enough, will it matter? Obviously yes it
will matter, just as much as the capacity of intelligent life to recognize the
significance of all life matters.

If humanities’ current knowledge of science and our place in
a biological world goes down the drain of the incompetence of humanity to
identify and control the excesses of our reproduction, our placement of
economic growth and development over environmental destruction, and our
dependence (nay, our obsession) with belief in a supernatural basis of our origin
and soon to come final gasp of the biological and ecological structure of this
planet at the hands of a vengeful creator destroying the forces of evil in a supernatural
orgy of destruction; will it matter? Is humanity doomed by the unchangeable
course of our biological and behavioral evolution? This may be the hidden tap
root of the current discussion on how politics meddles, some would say directs,
our attempts to recognize and correct the current path that science and
technology has created for humanity over the last few hundred years, but
unfortunately, there is apparently no way for humanity to change this
lemming-like rush toward destruction. However, it has been disclosed that it is
just a myth that lemmings engage in mass destruction by rushing over a cliff,
so perhaps there is hope.

No question that our oceans, and our coral reefs, are changing and not for the better, and largely because
of our collective ignorance and blindness to the effects that the effluents of
our affluent societies have on our world. But we have to somehow recognize and change the course
we are on, and that means ... well, younger and sharper minds than mine must
answer that question. Apologies to my grandchildren for handing them these problems.
On Thursday, May 22, 2014 11:09 AM, Michael Risk <riskmj at mcmaster.ca> wrote:

> Billy:
> When Gene started working in Florida, coral cover was about 45%. It is
> now less than 4%.
> It is obvious that "management" is failing. Instead of railing against
> Gene, you might give some thought as to the points he makes. Citing the
> complexity of the system is management-speak for, "we have no idea what
> we are doing."
> Mike
On May 20, 2014, at 7:03 PM, Billy Causey - NOAA Federal <billy.causey at noaa.gov> wrote:

> Gene,
> Please don 't pretend you know what Sanctuary management is about.
> You are way off the mark and have no idea of the complexity in
> managing 2900 sq nautical miles (9800 sq k) of some of the nation 's
> most significant and heavily- used marine resources with about 28
> different jurisdictions.
> The solutions and answers are no where close to as simple as you imply.
> When is sailing off into the sunset on your agenda?
> Billy
> Billy D. Causey, Ph.D.
> Southeast Regional Director
> NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries
> 33 East Quay Road
> Key West, Florida 33040
> Phone:
> 305 809 4670 office
> 305 395 0150 mobile
> 305 293 5011 fax
> Email:
> billy.causey at noaa.gov
>> On May 20, 2014, at 6:02 PM, Eugene Shinn <eugeneshinn at mail.usf.edu> wrote:
>> Thank you Chris and Daphne. Yes it is a contact sport but one we have
>> all  created. I well remember when the coral-list began. It was for
>> scientists trading technical information...then it began to change and
>> it started to bother some that so much space was used advertising reef
>> management jobs and the like.  When climate and acidification became an
>> issue things became even more political and complicated. I might mention
>> here that global warming came after the 1970s when Steve Schneider was
>> predicting we were headed into another ice age. The problem I constantly
>> worry about is that NOAA, which claims to be a
>> technical/science-oriented agency, sponsors the coral-list. At the same
>> time the Coral reef Sanctuaries are part of NOAA and they are mainly
>> about management/enforcement. Both are under the dept. of Commerce so
>> that adds another level of restraints and unintended consequences. What
>> if science uncovers a problem, for example that aerial spraying of
>> mosquito pesticides is harming the reef, would that activity is made
>> illegal? Not likely because it would drastically affect the
>> Economy/Commerce of the Florida Keys. Another example would be
>> sunscreen, which some published research suggest causes coral bleaching.
>> (The stuff is banned in Mexican coral reef parks) If NOAA/dept. of
>> Commerce banned sunscreen in the Keys might they be accused of promoting
>> more skin cancers? The tourism/economy would certainly be affected. We
>> can't have that. There are many such examples because the economy of the
>> keys is greatly dependent on natural resources such as the
>> fishing/lobster industry. Again the same political problem! The
>> Sanctuary controls those activities by enforcing rules set up by another
>> NOAA agency, National Marine Fisheries. And right next door is
>> Everglades National Park, which is the dept. of Interior with a very
>> different philosophy. Mosquito spraying is not allowed on their property
>> and they have their own fishery rules/regulations and enforcement
>> officers.  And lets not forget Fish and Wildlife Service, yet another
>> part of the dept. of Interior. And of course there are the State Parks
>> such as Pennekamp. See what a convoluted political situation we have! We
>> just do it to ourselves. Does anyone really expect all these diverse
>> parts of government to operate seamlessly especially at their
>> headquarters back in Washington DC where each is constantly trying to
>> increase its funding and influence?  It's clear we can't take politics
>> out of coral reef science and research. A friend of mine used to say the
>> definition of mixed emotions is when your mother in law drives your new
>> Cadillac over a cliff. We certainly seem to have created a lot of mixed
>> emotions to deal with. Gene
>> --
>> No Rocks, No Water, No Ecosystem (EAS)
>> ------------------------------------ -----------------------------------
>> E. A. Shinn, Courtesy Professor
>> University of South Florida
>> College of Marine Science Room 221A
>> 140 Seventh Avenue South
>> St. Petersburg, FL 33701
>> <eugeneshinn at mail.usf.edu>
>> Tel 727 553-1158
>> ---------------------------------- -----------------------------------
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Michael Risk
riskmj at mcmaster.ca

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