[Coral-List] Why we are failing to repair coral reefs

frahome at yahoo.com frahome at yahoo.com
Tue Oct 21 18:56:38 EDT 2014

Although the article rises some important points I believe Peter only marginally touches the issues for which we have failed to "repair" coral reefs and he ends up proposing again tools that try addressing symptoms (e.g. Marine Spatial Planning) rather than the root problem. This seems the same mistake made by the very same attempts he is criticizing.

I believe that the root of the problem is in the entire “infrastructure” of our society built around an intrinsically unsustainable economic model (based on perpetual quantitative growth) and the cultural model that derives from it (based on consumerism, spoiled/lazy/luxury aiming mindset, competition, individualism).

As governments are not currently designed to be proactive nor farsighted, then we should start acting ourselves in our communities to develop a more sustainable model, something that will be quite different than just putting the word "green" in front of "business as usual".  

I do not want to sound arrogant nor provocative but I would really invite each of us to stop focusing only on researching on what we already know (reefs are declining) and start dedicating a lot more time into our communities to imagine, design and implement a new sustainable way of living on this planet.
This very likely will mean pushing for a very different economic model, embracing simpler lifestyles, redesigning our food production system and deeply rethink and question the entire industrial system.

Marine Spatial Planning is part of my profession but I admit that while it is fun to work on and it pays the bills I really do not think it has the potential to make a real difference to the marine ecosystems fate in the current economic and social context (and almost paradoxically it could be actually part of the problem due to its links to the high demanding industrial system). This applies in one way or the other to most of the current approaches used to look into and trying to solve the environmental problems.

The engagement to bring change in the current system and in the above aspects, although a major challenge, seems the only chance we have to make a difference.

Kind regards

Further reading (I do not necessarily embrace all the contents of these resources but they all provide some food for thoughts):





 From: Peter Sale <sale at uwindsor.ca>
To: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov 
Sent: Monday, October 20, 2014 7:02 PM
Subject: [Coral-List] Why we are failing to repair coral reefs

I recently penned a comment on why we are, for the most part, failing in 
our efforts to repair and sustain coral reefs, despite the efforts of many 
dedicated and hard-working people.  It appeared in Reef Encounter, the 
on-line news journal of ISRS, and many readers of this list will have seen 
it already.  Thinking it might be worth wider dissemination, I've now put 
it up on my blog, with some pretty pictures attached.  You can access the 
blog at www.petersalebooks.com/?p=1708  and you can see the original in 
Reef Encounter which can be downloaded from the ISRS website at 
http://coralreefs.org/  Reef Encounter has lots of interesting content 
(perhaps even more interesting than my comment)!

If you are a member of ISRS, you could also think of nominating someone to 
the ISRS Council, and if you are not a member, think about joining this 
international coral reef science community.

Peter Sale

sale at uwindsor.ca                 @PeterSale3
www.uwindsor.ca/sale           www.petersalebooks.com
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