[Coral-List] Two news stories about coral reefs
psammarco at lumcon.edu
Mon Aug 22 17:28:24 EDT 2016
What you say is true. I've been lecturing on this for years - and have
published on it. Many of the fastest-growing human populations on the
planet, and highest densities, and those having low nutrition occur in
regions where there are coral reefs. Of course the reefs get
over-exploited. Stands to reason.
I guess the real question is where do we go from here? How do we treat this
massive problem? It is a socio-economic-political problem of massive
proportions. I think the main answer to the fine-scale problem (coral
reefs) will come when we get the answer to the large-scale one
(population/energy/climate change/world economy, etc.). And that will not
necessarily come in the short-term. Would that we all lived in the times of
StarTrek New Generation, when all of these problems have been solved. But,
in the meantime, every small effort we make at rectifying the problem reaps
important benefits. Thus, we gird our loins and keep at it.
Q: How do you eat an elephant?
A: One bite at a time.
Paul W. Sammarco, Ph.D.
Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium (LUMCON)
8124 Hwy. 56
Chauvin, LA 70344-2110
psammarco at lumcon.edu
From: coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
[mailto:coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov] On Behalf Of John Ogden
Sent: Friday, August 19, 2016 3:17 PM
To: Phil Dustan <dustanp at cofc.edu>; Coral List
<coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov>
Subject: Re: [Coral-List] Two news stories about coral reefs
Dear Phil and All,
I agree with you and those who firmly indict the relentless growth of the
human population and the related pressures for economic growth and the
disproportionate use of global resources by the industrialized nations as
the ultimate drivers of the destruction of global environments on land and
If you live long enough you can see a pattern to the waxing and the waning
of the population issue. I was a graduate student with Paul Ehrlich at
Stanford University in the mid-1960s when the population of the U.S. just
passed 200 million and that of the world about 3.5 billion (less than half
of the nearly 8 billion today). Ehrlich was approached by David Brower,
Executive Director of the Sierra Club, who invited him to publish the ideas
he had been pushing in his popular public lectures in a small paperback
book. Ehrlich wrote The Population Bomb (1968) in a few months and it was
an instant best seller. The book featured a series of alarming predictions
of disaster unless something was done, and soon. He became a public figure
and arguably one of the most high profile and influential scientists in the
world. For example, he appeared over 20 times in the 1960-70s on the
popular, late-night Johnny Carson TV show, more than anyone else and always
with a new wrinkle on the topic of overpopulation. Excoriated by some
scientists for crossing the forbidden line between science and public
policy, Ehrlich was undeterred and went on to his long career which
continues today, now with over 40 books and countless publications and
lectures always firmly connected to over-population and its ramifications.
But the dates of the predicted disasters in the Population Bomb came and
went and skeptics arose. No worries, they said, technology will find a way
to support many more people. A prominent example was the Green
Revolution, one of many technological solutions to food production. In
a famous bet with economist Julian Simon, Ehrlich said that the prices of a
list of strategic materials would increase abruptly with growing population
and shrinking supply. He lost the bet and the technologists relaxed. As
late as the mid-2000s, following a public lecture attended by thousands at
the USF, an editorial in the Tampa Bay Times suggested that we had heard
enough of this issue and Ehrlich was getting a little tiresome and
repetitious. About the same time, a New York Times op ed suggested that the
idea of populations outrunning their resources
(Malthus anyone?) would be solved by technology. About this time
China, a bit out of step as usual, but capable of astonishing changes, cut
its birth rate in half. This was before the global economy and the demand
for growth created the fastest growing middle class in the world and a
growing demand for resources that boggles the mind.
I know I am way past the risk of boring you, but here comes population
again. We admit we are distracted by small scale approaches to the decline
of global environments and we are casting about for an approach to global
problems that have so far proven to be unapproachable, even if the arguments
for taking them on are getting stronger by the year (see, for just one
recent example, Our Dying Planet, by Peter Sale 2012).
Population growth and climate change require global action. If we can ramp
up successfully on the climate issue, can this provide leverage for the
population issue? I am aware of at least two mulch-disciplinary academic
groups who are working on these issues. In the ocean, for example, there is
some evidence that if we can successfully expand our governance of the ocean
to the scale of ocean processes, we can build ecosystem resilience to
climate change.But whether this works or not, the effort will not be
wasted.Even if the ocean as we know it is doomed, if life is to remain on
earth we will always need to draw resources from the sea and will be
sustained by its contributions to the maintenance of the global system.Great
challenges spawn great ideas and these are popping up all the time.So let's
just get busy and do what we already know is the right thing.
Good luck to us!
On 8/19/2016 1:49 PM, Phil Dustan wrote:
> Dear Bob,
> The elephant in the room is really 7 billion people on the
> planet......and no one wants to talk about it as though it would be
> upsetting some moral taboo. The rest of it - coal, methane, carbon, sea
> level etc is a consequence not real drivers.....The Club of Rome had it
> spot on in the 1970's........
> NOAA is too politically greedy, large NGO's have become corporate, the
> diving industry is making too much money pushing into new territories
> their customers trash the last place, Wreck diving is replacing reef
> in the Florida Keys 'cause the reefs are dead........Oh, and scientists
> keep asking for more money for "research".
> Ecology is really a local sport with local actors - just all over the
> planet. We don't need more research, more monitoring, or more
> technology...We know the basic principles now and how to put them in
> We need people to change their behaviors, reproduce with longer generation
> times, eat a different diet, and to distribute wealth more equitably.
> But all that is too much to ask of the human race so we have situation
> like the GBR, Florida Keys, Bahamas, Jamaica, Philippines, etc.......all
> over the planet. Our reproductive success is really the driver behind it
> And the destruction is accelerating as in Bali this past year:
> All the best,
> On Thu, Aug 18, 2016 at 11:23 PM, Robert Bourke<rbourke at oceanit.com>
>> Doug & All;
>> The discussion concerning saving Australia's Great Barrier Reef
>> ignores the elephant in the room.
>> At the recent coral reef conference we all listened to numerous
>> papers placing much of the blame for the decline of the Great Barrier
>> upon two key factors 1) sediment turbidity from agriculture and mining
>> operations, and 2) global warming.
>> Nobody mentioned the fact that last year (2015) Australia mined and
>> 150,000,000,000 kg
>> of coal, primarily to China. China imports about
>> 190,000.000.000 kg per year - primarily from Indonesia and
>> Why does the government allow this to happen? Because coal exports make
>> about 15% of Australia's GDP (~1 Billion $) and there is no comparable
>> measure of the value of the GBR against which to balance the economic and
>> social welfare from these two sources.
>> The solution to this is NOT to use questionable economic surveys to
>> inflate the economic value of reefs. NOAA has tried this approach and
>> results are not pretty. Rather we should urge our governments to take a
>> broader view of the economic AND social value of all activities so that a
>> better balance can be achieved.
>> Methods to conduct a true ecosystem valuation were developed by
>> cumulating (my opinion) with the work of de Groot in 1992 (Functions of
>> Nature: Evaluation of Nature in Environmental Planning, Management, and
>> Decision-making). Unfortunately (for us biologists) this methodology has
>> been conscripted by the economists. The method was further developed and
>> used to create the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (2005) which
>> the "value" of all the worlds ecosystems. Fortunately many large
>> international organization (mostly outside the US) have adopted methods
>> that incorporate the quantification of all ecosystem functions and
>> as part of their large project planning and funding activities. Anyone
>> interested in the approach to saving reefs should look into the work of
>> World Resources Institute, The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity,
>> the United Nations Environmental Program. Many good universities now
>> programs that concentrate on this
>> NOAA, USFWS, EPA and USACE would all benefit from adopting a similar
>> strategy based upon analyses of ecosystem functions and services.
>> Perhaps to save the reefs, one must become an economist........ just a
>> Bob Bourke
>> Environmental Scientist
>> Oceanit, Hawaii
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From:coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov [mailto:coral-list-bounces@
>> coral.aoml.noaa.gov] On Behalf Of Douglas Fenner
>> Sent: Wednesday, August 17, 2016 10:40 PM
>> To: coral list<coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov>
>> Subject: [Coral-List] Two news stories about coral reefs
>> Five things we can do right now to save the Great Barrier Reef
>> The coral die-off crisis is a climate crime, and Exxon fired the gun.
>> Cheers, Doug
>> Douglas Fenner
>> Contractor for NOAA NMFS, and consultant "have regulator, will travel"
>> PO Box 7390
>> Pago Pago, American Samoa 96799 USA
>> phone 1 684 622-7084
>> Join the International Society for Reef Studies. Membership includes a
>> subscription to the journal Coral Reefs, and there are discounts for pdf
>> subscriptions and developing countries. Coral Reefs is the only journal
>> that is ALL coral reef articles, and it has amazingly LOW prices compared
>> to other journals. Check it out!www.fit.edu/isrs/
>> "Belief in climate change is optional, participation is not."- Jim
>> "Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not to their own
>> facts."- Daniel Patrick Moynihan.
>> Earth's hot streak continues with warmest May since at least 1880.
>> The political hurdles facing a carbon tax- and how to overcome them.
>> Solar can power more than 100 times America's current electricity needs,
>> new report finds
>> Coral-List mailing list
>> Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
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John C. Ogden
USF Professor Emeritus, Integrative Biology
190 18th Avenue North
St. Petersburg, FL 33704 USA
Email:jogden at usf.edu
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