[Coral-List] Reassessing Coral Reef Scientists

Quenton Dokken qdokken at gulfmex.org
Mon Apr 6 10:55:20 EDT 2015

Good Day Judy and Listers,

I don't think this is so much "hypocrisy," but rather running head on into
reality.  We live in a global socioeconomic structure that is based upon
consumption; and we in the U.S. have established consumption as a desired
lifestyle.  Globally, we are viewed as the desired standard for consumption.
We define quality of life as based on consumption; and to a large degree,
the world depends upon U.S. consumption.  Go into your nearest Walmart and
count the number of products actually produced in the U.S.  

Travel is just one of many forms of consumption.  We need experts in
tropical ecology engaged regardless of where they call "home."  And, we all
need to be driving the discussion toward balanced and sustainable
consumption.  As has been noted by others on this list, we cannot fix the
threats to tropical habitats if we do not address and fix the entire
picture. The ecosystem is all one and the same; and we need to be presenting
it as such.

We've got to push better technology.  Before the big auto industry crash in
~2008, the auto industry spent tens of millions on marketing to convince the
U.S. car buyer that big inefficient engines were what we wanted and
deserved.  Fast forward to March 2015, I travel by car a lot around the Gulf
coast and I rent cars to do so.  Three weeks ago I had a rental Dodge
Charger.  I made a 450 mile trip on 0.75 tank of gas.  Two weeks ago, to
make the same trip I was given a Cadillac CXT and it required 1.75 tanks -
BIG difference.  Every time we tell the coal industry to use advanced
technology the industry starts a campaign on "job loss" due to increased
costs.  They then lobby Congress to build ports through which they can ship
the unsold coal to foreign buyers.  Tell a city to clean up its storm water
discharge and the city claims the taxpayer will not willingly pay the cost.
Corporate leaders use "responsibility to the stockholder" to resist
operational and technological improvements.  The list of examples goes on
and on.

As much as I appreciate the discussions on this list serve, I don't know
that we have moved the ball forward in conservation of tropical habitats.
We've got to take discussion  outside of our little circle and put it into
discussions around the dinner table of every consumer.

Take care.


Quenton Dokken, Ph.D.
Gulf of Mexico Foundation
361-882-3939 o
361-442-6064 m
361-882-1262 f
qdokken at gulfmex.org

-----Original Message-----
From: coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
[mailto:coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov] On Behalf Of Judith Lang
Sent: Monday, April 6, 2015 8:27 AM
To: Magnus Johnson; coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov list
Subject: Re: [Coral-List] Reassessing Coral Reef Scientists

Hi Magnus and Listers,
I know of a few NGOs and foundations that currently mitigate for
work-related air travel, but many, or perhaps most, organizations choose to
ignore these societal costs. Those of us who commute to reefs from temperate
regions and also have geographically scatterered family obligations are
especially guilty of generating far more than our share of global carbon

Here are some suggestions  to minimize the "professional hyprocisy" related
to our travel: try to combine several projects, activities or meetings in
each trip; personally contribute to a carbon offset program when funders
don't provide such compensation; help build local capacity, both in person
and via the Internet.

Best wishes,
Judy Lang

On Apr 4, 2015, at 12:41 PM, Magnus Johnson <m.johnson at hull.ac.uk> wrote:

> You could say the same about scientists who preach about climate change,
damage to reefs etc but enjoy travelling the world to do field work . .and
often dive to do it! (I'm one of them).  Perhaps we share a degree of
professional hypocrisy?
> What we should be doing is ensuring that local scientists have the
capacity and infrastructure to do their own research.  Should there be such
an animal as a coral reef expert from temperate regions?  I cant remember
the last time I met a Mongolian expert in temperate intertidal ecology . . 
> Just sayin' . . . 
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