[Coral-List] Happy Birthday Coral-List, Politics

Steve Mussman sealab at earthlink.net
Mon May 26 12:29:09 EDT 2014

   I think you guys nailed it with these two remarks.

   "We have met the enemy and he is us"   . . .   and  . . .   "if we actually
   start speaking up, what do we actually say".
   After all, the current coral reef crisis totally reflects back on "us". We
   caused  it  this  time  around  and perhaps our only chance to avert a
   shameful outcome is tied to the proposition that we change "our ways" . .
   much like corals which will have to swiftly adapt to changing conditions in
   order  to  survive. I would suggest that the recent outbreak of rather
   personal "rancor" on the list is just one indication that many of us have
   reached a point of frustration in the realization that humankind has thus
   far been resistant to change even when confronted with a clear vision of a
   legacy that threatens the survival of not only innumerable other species,
   but ultimately our own.
   So if we are to speak up, what do we actually say?  Say whatever you can to
   whoever  you  can,  but  understand  that we  need more  fighters  and
   communicators. Especially more people willing to speak truth to power. Doug
   Fenner exemplified that spirit by initiating this thread. We may not be able
   to change the world, but running away or sticking our collective heads in
   the sand is tantamount to surrender. In the end maybe our irrepressible
   ingenuity  will save us, but for now it sure looks like our relentless
   "transformation of the ecological landscape" is both ill conceived and
   manifestly fated.

   -----Original Message-----
   >From: IUCN Barbara Gratzer
   >Sent: May 23, 2014 2:58 PM
   >To: Jim Hendee
   >Cc: Coral-List , Lew Gramer
   >Subject: Re: [Coral-List] Happy Birthday Coral-List, Politics
   >Dear all,
   >Thank you, Jim, for this post. Yesterday I spoke to a friend about this
   mail-match, we ended up debating whether 8000 members in the coral list is a
   lot or much too little to make a change.
   >Despite some general arguments about what is going to happen when, we all
   agree that corals are declining and somehow coral reefs as they are now will
   not survive (whether they will shift to different community compositions,
   whether certain species will adopt, whether we will loose them all - we can
   find evidences for one or the other - but we will not know until the time
   has come). So roughly 8000 people who potentially know this is going to
   happen within the next 30 - 50 years from now.. Probably a few thousand
   people more know about the importance of our oceans.
   >Let me quickly give you an impression of my work before I want to ask you
   one question.
   >I am currently working as a Marine Biologist in Maldives, one out of about
   40. Most of us are paid by resorts (about 110 so far). Our job is so busy
   sometimes that we could easily give work to another 4 or 5 people on the
   island - it never stops. Guest education, hospitality, staff awareness,
   local islands that urgently need more education, accessibility to resources,
   vision, understanding, monitoring, coral nurseries, turtle hatcheries, shark
   counting, fish landing protocols, etc.
   >20 years of marine biology in Maldives and still there is a rubbish island,
   still every local island dumps the sewage, the entire organic waste (about a
   ton per day from one resort only), and what ever is available into the
   ocean. And guests are complaining. The reefs look different, they say. Some
   -  travelling  to  Maldives since 20 years - do not want to come back.
   Additionally to the bleaching events in the past (1997/98, 2010) we are
   currently waiting for another potential mass bleaching due to El Niño.
   >The  Government picked it up and is very much aware. There are marine
   biology classes in schools, rubbish bins in Maleâ city, a waste solution
   plan, shark programmes to keep up the shark finning ban, different NGOâs
   come to work with the Government to beat the drums of awareness. And yet, it
   is so difficult to make a change.
   >So we can see our options through different perceptions and most of them
   have already been mentioned: we could become guerrilla-fighters on the
   streets, we could try to influence politicians, we could go to conferences,
   TV shows and start speaking up, we could continue research - for climate
   change, for basic knowledge, for medicine. Everything is important. But if
   we actually start speaking up, what do we actually say?
   >Whenever there is a crisis people react in 4 different ways: They put their
   head  in  the  sand,  they  run,  they  fight with a gun or they start
   >This is my impression. Everyone says something different. We are like
   scared up hens in a stud. This is not how we convince others to believe in
   >What can actually be done fast enough and who is willing to do it? There
   are  already  enough scientists, who have calculated that the expenses
   Governments would have to bare now for adjusting environmental standards,
   would be a lot less than what we all would need to invest if climate change
   really kicks in, if we really loose coral reefs, etc.
   >As a countries Government there is so little you can do fast enough. There
   is no way you can generate a pool of awareness that is large enough to make
   a difference within the next 5-10 years, you can also not change sewage
   plants, fishermenâs thinking, private stakeholderâs greed within such a
   short amount of time. Who is paying for developing countries if they donât
   even have proper medicine? Who start thinking about the grand children if
   the children are hungry?
   >I  agree  with Jim that it is now time to start talking about what we
   actually could do. But first we have to identify what we all want to say, or
   am I wrong?
   >On May 23, 2014, at 16:53, Jim Hendee wrote:
   >> On this day 19 years ago, Coral-List began with about 100 members.
   >> Today our numbers are 8,129. I wonder why, out of all these people who
   >> appreciate and help to save coral reefs, there are mostly only a handful
   >> who contribute on a regular basis. Speak up!
   >> As I reflect on the recent thread of politics and coral reef
   >> conservation, and some of us hammering each other, I can't help but
   >> notice what many already see as obvious, that we have met the enemy, and
   >> he is us (thank you Walt Kelly). For some reason I let these personal
   >> attacks go on longer than I should have, but maybe it helps to clear the
   >> air.
   >> But now, can we (including myself) tone down the rancor a bit and try
   >> to come up with some constructive steps we can implement to reduce coral
   >> reef decline?
   >> Thank you, and I hope you all have a nice weekend.
   >> Your Coral-List Administrators,
   >> Jim Hendee
   >> Mike Jankulak
   >> Lew Gramer
   >> _______________________________________________
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   >> Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
   >> http://coral.aoml.noaa.gov/mailman/listinfo/coral-list
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