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

David Obura dobura at cordioea.net
Wed Oct 29 14:22:57 EDT 2014

Farewell from the list Alina,

I'll miss your occasional comments, for one.

One of my most despairing moments as a coral biologist was at the final plenary of the ICRS in Fort Lauderdale where we as a community decided NOT to include any statement on world population in the final message from the Symposium. I wondered just WHAT planet the leadership in coral reef research (us) were living in.

I don't write much on population and 'the end is nigh' on the coral-list as of course its never quite the end, kids today still do have some nice waters to swim and play in (at least, some of them), and yet, as your figures show, there's more people worse off now BECAUSE of our technological advances rather than in spite of them. If we don't have the wisdom to use science and technology well, it certainly doesn't help in the long run, it just kicks the can down the road.  I've just run some numbers from UN sources on population growth to 2100, and two of the currently middling regions in Africa (the Horn of Africa and the Mozambique channel) may EACH host near 1 billion people in 2100. That doesn't even count central, west or north Africa, nor South Africa. Where are we going? I have no idea. (which, of course, has been said by many of the ages).

So yes, unless we don't get off our high horses nit-picking at one another we'll definitely not contribute to any meaningful solutions. Our ecosystem is a canary in the coal mine - we'll likely lose the canary in most functional ways, but how much worse it will be to lose the coal mine! (a pretty miserable analogy in an age of carbon-fired warming!!)

I certainly don't have more suggestions that what has already been posted by many, but we do need your kind of voice to be active Alina - in useful, productive places, such as in education, and advisory panels - so don't be silent elsewhere!

regards to all, as usual!!


CORDIO East Africa
#9 Kibaki Flats, Kenyatta Beach, Bamburi Beach
P.O.BOX 10135 Mombasa 80101, Kenya
www.cordioea.net ; Email: dobura at cordioea.net; davidobura at gmail.com
Mobile: +254-715 067417; skype dobura; Twitter @dobura

On 29 Oct 2014, at 16:55, coral-list-request at coral.aoml.noaa.gov wrote:

> Message: 2
> Date: Tue, 28 Oct 2014 21:26:07 -0400
> From: "Szmant, Alina" <szmanta at uncw.edu>
> Subject: Re: [Coral-List] Why we are failing to repair coral reefs
> To: "dagzav at yahoo.com" <dagzav at yahoo.com>, coral list
> 	<coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov>
> Message-ID:
> 	<68ECDB295FC42D4C98B223E75A854025DABAC95EE7 at uncwexmb2.dcs.uncw.edu>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="utf-8"
> 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
> http://people.uncw.edu/szmanta
> *******************************************************

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