[Coral-List] Coral Reef Change messaging

Phil Dustan dustanp at cofc.edu
Mon Jan 12 10:35:50 EST 2015

Hi Listers,
 I thought I'd add my two cents to the conversation on messaging the coral
reef crisis to the public.
The message has to be crafted very simply and carry a strong emotional
component as well as informational.
It also has to be targeted to those who may have the resources to help.
I feel that
e need redouble our efforts to develop more committed public policy, engage
stakeholders, and utilize economic models that actually save reefs.
While science publications require careful analysis of data,
*photographs ​can  speak far louder than words to most people. They are
harder to deny as well.*
I have just completed a pretty graphic  photographic series for Dancing
Lady Reef, Discovery Bay, Jamaica and Carysfort Reef  off Key Largo that
span over 40 years of time.  Both cases the reefs have lost 85-95% of their
living coral cover which is typical of every reef surrounding them as well
along the North Coast of Jamaica and the entire Florida Keys Reef Tract.
 Imagine if  this had happened to 90% of the remaining Giant Sequoia or
Redwood trees?
The  message should be real to wake people up!
I'd also suggest that we all start publishing in journals, magazines, etc
that circulate to people  that are peripheral to fields. If we publish in a
scientific journal we are lucky if its read by a few  people who all think
very muck like we do (preaching to the choir). However, if we publish in
commercial publications, or popular magazines we have a much wider
dissemination of information and stand a better chance of  engaging a wider
audience with other ideas and resources to contribute.

The photographic series  can be viewed at::   //
   along with a blog by Liv wheeler at    www.diveaware.wordpress.com
   and an article in the December issue of Sea Technology Magazine: The
Decline of Caribbean Coral Reefs:

The coral reefs of the world are declining faster and faster each day and
it is no longer acceptable to simply document their losses, hide behind
monitoring projects, or wish we could do something.  All ecology, like
politics, boils down to local actions we can all participate in.

Phillip Dustan
Department of Biology
College of Charleston
Charleston SC  20401
Charleston SC
843 953 8086 (voice)
843-224-3321 (m)

*"When one tugs at a single thing in nature *
*he finds it attached to the rest of the world."*
*   John Muir*

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