[Coral-List] Save the reefs?

John Ware jware at erols.com
Thu Jan 8 10:49:09 EST 2015

Peter et al,

As important as all the information you have provided about the fate of 
coral reefs is, I see some fundamental problems - not with you or your 
information - but about how to get the message across.

(BTW: Following is extracted from a presentation I gave at International 
Congress on Conservation Biology, 2013).)

In the famous words of Cool Hand Luke (1967): "What we have here is 
failure to communicate".

To my way of thinking, there are a couple of rules to be followed for 
successful communication:

1- Have something to say.
2- Say it in terms intelligible to your audience.

The example I used was based on the following quote:

  "If every American home replaced just one light bulb with a light bulb 
that's earned the ENERGY STAR, we would ... prevent 9 billion pounds of 
greenhouse gas emissions per year."

The public response is: So what?  Sounds like a big number, but is it?

I proceeded to show the following "facts" (which could be argued):

1- Each US ton of CO2 emitted has killed ~0.5 ft**2 of coral reef.

2- The 9 billion tons equates to about 40+ US football fields of coral 

3- American kill (via GHG emissions) ~0.1% of world's coral reefs/yr.

4- World total is almost 1%/yr.

So the message is put in terms the average person can understand.

HOWEVER, it begs the question: Why should the average person be 
interested in saving coral reefs?  The answer better not be that they 
are really pretty and have nice fish, but that is the way that Americans 
probably view coral reefs.


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If you are a coral-reef scientist and you are not a member
of the International Society for Reef Studies, then
shame on you.
Become a member of the International Society for Reef Studies

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