[Coral-List] Using bubbles to remove CO2 from reef waters

Steve Mussman sealab at earthlink.net
Wed May 11 13:52:57 EDT 2016

Dear Martina,

You know I'm beginning to think that the dynamics are just a bit different here in the U.S. as compared to the diving communities in the EU and Asia. To set the record straight, divers in the United States are representative of our population as a whole and although many divers and dive operators are aware of what is going on in regards to the decline of marine ecosystems, many others are not and in my opinion our diving industry is not doing enough to raise awareness and change that paradigm. As you have said, it is a pity that we haven't move things forward by now and although we all should be actually "doing something" about it, I also believe it is important to write and discuss these issues every chance we get.

I do what I can to affect those divers who I train, but I believe that an industry-wide initiative would have a far greater impact hence my support for a broader approach. Please know that I for one do not believe that the diving industry is in anyway "evil". Having said that, I also believe that the industry can most definitely improve it's record in relation to how it responds to environmental issues. The only way to do that is to evaluate what we have done and discuss ways we can be more effective. Here in the United States, DEMA has great influence within the diving industry and often speaks out as if it represents the interests of all (American) divers. They have issued policy statements on everything from The National Ocean Policy to the impacts ocean acidification. Many of their concerns are my concerns, but I feel that they are not representing me when it comes to conservation issues and I will continue to be a critic until that changes. In addition, the diving industry should not in any way be depicted as the main contributor to the problem, but that doesn't let them off the hook. This is the industry that I am involved in and in my opinion we can do better across the board. My message to the diving industry would not be "you are bad" or "I blame you", it would simply be "let's embrace the science and do more to inform divers and help conserve our marine ecosystems for generations to come".

Here in the United States, although things are changing, there is no clear consensus on climate change and other stressors as well.  All the while, the science tells us that we must at the very least address land-based pollutants, over-fishing and climate change if our coral reefs are to have any chance to survive intact. In a written statement to a Senate committee on ocean acidification DEMA's executive director expressed the belief that " the diving industry depends on continued interaction with a healthy marine environment for its very existence, and is aware of the need for long term sustainability of these resources for all. Consequently the diving industry is dedicated to protecting the marine environment for its own well being and for the well being of all. For these reasons DEMA's mission statement includes an expressed acknowledgement of the need for protecting the aquatic environment".

Why then is it so controversial to ask for an open policy statement that might help end the debate and move us closer to actually doing something about it? 

By the way, Green Fins and Green Bubbles are great initiatives, but I'm not sure that all of their suggested practices would be warmly embraced here.

Steve Mussman
Sea Lab Diving

-----Original Message-----
>From: martina <m.milanese at studioassociatogaia.com>
>Sent: May 10, 2016 9:24 AM
>To: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
>Subject: [Coral-List] Using bubbles to remove CO2 from reef waters
>Hi everybody,
>apologies if I keep repeating the same things every six months - it 
>seems this is a quite recurring topic and we feel the need to restate 
>our positions every now and then. Pity we don't move forward. If we 
>spent the same energy and time doing things instead of writing about 
>things done (or supposedly not done) by others, we would probably 
>achieve a lot more.
>It is also sort of funny to see how, whatever the topic of a post where 
>"diving" is mentioned, we inevitably end up discussing about the evil 
>diving industry (wasn't the topic on something else?). It reminds me of 
>the stereotyped movie characters that keep blaming the governing party 
>whatever the chat is about, even when it is not ruling since ages...
>Now, back to diving...
>First of all, to get rid of any misunderstanding, let me say that I'm 
>not naive: I do see the problems linked to the diving industry, as I 
>would see for any mass-consumption based human industry. However, as 
>said before, I do also see the potential benefits (besides economic 
>ones) linked to the same diving industry and regret these are hardly 
>ever pointed out in such discussions.
>The second thing is: why this obsession with DEMA as if each and every 
>instructor, dive center, diver was a brainless puppet in their hands? 
>Anyone living outside the US would notice DEMA is far far and again far 
>away ... Real life occurs on a day-to-day basis and decisions are 
>definitely not taken based on a DEMA diktat. Believing the opposite and 
>basing a campaign on this assumption leads nowhere.
>Third: once agreed that the diving industry is part of the problem, why 
>this obsession with it being the only and major actor in it - as if the 
>whole responsibility to react and take action was on its shoulders? 
>Provocation: all divers going to the Maldives reach them by plane, all 
>tourists going to the Maldives reach them by plane, yet not all tourists 
>going to the Maldives are divers. This holds for most if not all diving 
>destinations. Is the diving industry the only one deemed to bear 
>responsibility for climate change? I have hardly ever read posts calling 
>the airline industry into the picture. Bias? Too powerful to tackle? Up 
>in the air? Why this?
>Fourth: things are changing. See the latest teaching materials of most 
>agencies and, for a time, try not be skeptical. See the work by Green 
>Fins (and their recent papers, which are OA by the way - no excuses for 
>avoiding a nice read). Check what various initiatives around the world 
>are achieving (I can speak for the EU project Green Bubbles, of course, 
>although our first papers are currently still under review). I am not 
>saying this is enough and the problem is now solved. For sure there's 
>still a long way to go and we are far than done. But blaming and blaming 
>and just blaming even when somebody is trying to change direction and do 
>things right is not an effective way to achieve. On the contrary, it 
>will keep the good ones distant, and we cannot complain if they lose 
>trust in science or decision making when all we are able to say is "you 
>are bad".
>These is my very personal view, but I feel I am not the only one on this 
>Dr Martina Milanese, PhD
>skype: m.milanese
>twitter: @martix_m
>Italian Mob. (WA) +39-338-1196672
>Moroccan Mob. +212-636808514
>Studio Associato Gaia Snc dei Dottori Antonio Sarà e Martina Milanese
>Via Brigata Liguria 1/9 scala A
>16121 Genova - Italy
>PI 01600400996
>Coral-List mailing list
>Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov

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