[Coral-List] List politics free

Peter Sale sale at uwindsor.ca
Mon Nov 14 13:15:03 EST 2016

Hi Steve and others,
Anyone who does not think that the planet's climate changed trajectory last week with the election of Donald Trump as President of the USA has not been following the politics of the global effort to ween humanity off carbon-based sources of energy.  We cannot know the future with certainty, so we cannot evaluate the magnitude of that change in trajectory. And Dennis Hubbard, as frequently, is wise in advising patience while we see what Trump will do.  This list is not a forum for discussion of politics until the politics start to affect coral reefs, but Trump's first staffing announcements - Reince Priebus and Steve Bannon - coupled with a denialist-heavy congress, do not suggest to me that American political decisions are likely to be ones most environmental scientists will be pleased with.

In recent days, I've personally seen a bit too much rationalization of the Trump election by other politicians (to the left of Trump) suggesting that, of course, he will not enact measures seriously counter to the more or less progressive policies of Obama.  Their comments sound just too politically correct to me (as did criticism of a Professor's widely disseminated open letter to his students in his environmental science course - since when must Professors avoid expressing opinions?).  I think we are all in for some nasty surprises, but, yes, until he acts we should temper our own judgement.

I personally am maintaining a tiny bit of optimism in the knowledge that even the President of the USA is not powerful enough to change the world unless the rest of us let him, and that, just possibly, the political processes so necessary to an effective shift away from carbon are far enough along that they can only be slowed momentarily, not stopped or reversed.  But then, I could not conceive it possible that Trump would be elected until I watched it happening on Tuesday evening!  It is past time to articulate very clearly that the Anthropocene is a dangerous time, that we do not have a Planet B available in an emergency, and that coral reefs are quietly telling us to mend our ways before it is too late for us.  As reef scientists, we can do this, and discussing it is IMHO appropriate to this list.  Along the way we also might start pushing for much wider recognition of the rights of the biosphere in law.  That is not science, and likely more appropriate to a blog post, but until more people embrace an ethical approach to nature we reef scientists will be fighting a rearguard action.  We live in interesting times.

Peter Sale

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