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

Szmant, Alina szmanta at uncw.edu
Tue Oct 28 21:26:07 EDT 2014

No one likes bad news, but sometimes bad news is necessary... reality check.

In the 1960s with 3 Billion people on Earth, we had ca 1.5 Billion people who were starving or malnourished, without clean water and without much opportunity or hope for the future.

Along came the agricultural revolution, other technological innovations and medical advances.  So rather than dying as Paul Ehrlich had predicted in The Population Bomb, many of these people survived, and these survivors had children.  Antivirals prevented or delayed people from dying from AIDS, but no birth control was tied to this, so mothers gave birth to 3-6 children before finally dying from the disease.  Really sad.  And few adults around to raise these children.  Few of these children have education opportunities, and they remain hungry.

Now in 2014 we have 7.12 Billion people on Earth, and ca 3 Billion of these are starving, malnourished and do not have access to clean water;  the oceans are depleted of large fishes, coral reefs have gone through major decline, 50 % of the world's forests have been lost (80-90 % in some places). We are losing all the large mammals that still remain...elephants and rhinoceros are probably next to disappear.  I could go on, but I won't.

The major point?  In spite of the agricultural revolution (actually, because of the agricultural revolution) we now have TWICE as many starving/malnourished people alive on Earth in 2014 than we did in 1960, with little chance of escaping extreme poverty. 

The human population continues to grow because of better medical care for infants and lower infant mortality, greater longevity due to better health care even for starving people, and Earth ecosystems continue their decline as they are overwhelmed by masses of humans.  

So young folks, PLEASE keep working on all the good things you think will help, but not with blinders on.  If you don't fight the right war, all your efforts will be futile and wasted.  Think carefully about what needs to be done in order to really have an effect. You may win battles but not the war.

This will be my last post on Coral-List.  I find it too depressing to read many of the discussions and feeling compelled to respond, but I am just repeating myself, and that is even more depressing to me.

So farewell to friends I have made on Coral-List, I bid thee well.

With best wishes to all,

Alina Szmant

“Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.” Eleanor Roosevelt

“The time is always right to do what is right”  Martin Luther King

Dr. Alina M. Szmant
Professor of Marine Biology
AAUS Scientific Diving Lifetime Achievement Awardee
Center for Marine Science
University of North Carolina Wilmington
5600 Marvin Moss Ln
Wilmington NC 28409 USA
tel:  910-962-2362  fax: 910-962-2410  cell: 910-200-3913

-----Original Message-----
From: coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov [mailto:coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov] On Behalf Of dagzav at yahoo.com
Sent: Tuesday, October 28, 2014 12:02 PM
To: coral list
Subject: Re: [Coral-List] Why we are failing to repair coral reefs

“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” 
 ― Winston S. Churchill 

     On Monday, October 27, 2014 1:34 PM, Georgina Bustamante <gbustamante09 at gmail.com> wrote:

 Dear coral scientists and managers,

I am a reef fish ecologist that coordinates a network of marine protected area practitioners and had a vibrant capacity building program for strengthening marine managed areas. We expect them to help restore coastal ecosystems. We also assist young fishers to transit to  alternative livelihoods to reduce fishing  pressure  and become allies of those MMAs.

Thise young people  have decades ahead, so I want  (and prefer)  to convey messages to stimulate their creativity rather than the depressive side of their brain. It also keeps me young.

Do you have any advice for me?

Georgina Bustamante, Ph.D.

Caribbean  Marine Protected Area Management (CaMPAM) Network and Forum The UNEP-CEP capacity building program for MPA managers and stakeholders

GCFI Board of Directors (www.gcfi.org)

Hollywood, Florida, USA
Tel./fax (request) +1 (954) 963-3626
Mobile +1 (305) 297-6995
email: gbustamante09 at gmail.com
Coral-List mailing list
Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov

More information about the Coral-List mailing list