[Coral-List] #oceanoptimism, sort of...

Martin Moe martin_moe at yahoo.com
Mon Jan 23 09:01:05 EST 2017

Hi Peter,
I'm sure that everyone on this list shares your concern and commitment to doing everything that is possible to preserve and protect our coral reefs and the future of ocean life. And of course it all depends on people, on our use and exploitation of the oceanic natural resources, restoration of what we can restore, and prevention of the environmental destruction that the physical and chemical effluent that our affluent civilization produces in ever increasing profusion.
There are two basic elements to public engagement withenvironmental issues. The first is the acquisition of knowledge, the what andwhy of environmental protection; and the second is not only how to implementthis knowledge into personal behavior but also how to provide a stimulus toenhance the spread of environmental knowledge and protective behavior toothers. I think that when people, hopefully most people, realize that our marineenvironment is a living thing and not an amusement park, and that this life canbe destroyed by unthinking carelessness, that they will begin to care andbehave in ways that will protect rather then destroy the life of the oceans.This is life that supports all life on our fragile Earth.

Here in the Florida Keys we encourage visitation and hostmillions of people every year that fish, dive, and tour the wonders of atropical sea located at the southern tip of our nation. As the Education andOutreach seat on the SAC, I look for ways that the SAC can aid the SanctuaryE&O staff in their mission to educate the public and stimulate not onlyacceptance and compliance with the rules and regulations that protect ourenvironment but also to encourage the public to aid in developing the behaviorsin others that would support environmental care and protection. To that end Iwrote the following Code of Ethics that I thought might aid in this effort ifpromoted and distributed. My feeling was, and is, that this, or something likethis, short but meaningful, if presented in the right way, in the right places,could be instrumental in raising awareness of, and stimulating compliance with,the basic elements of environmental care in use of our natural resources.

There may or may not be interest in using this or a similardocument in one way or another to stimulate interest and care of our marineenvironments, but I think it is worth exploring. I claim no ownership orauthorship in any use of the Code as it is, or concern with any use of it orany changes that may be made to it. It is only an idea that that I hope may beuseful in different ways in different places.


A personal Code of Ethics for visiting and living in theFlorida Keys

I understand the fragile nature of the unique, beautiful,and rich marine environments that circle our Florida Keys, the only tropicalislands of the continental United States. I know that if we do not treat ourcoral reefs, inshore waters, and natural resources with care, respect,restraint, conservation, and preservation they will not persist for our futureand the future of our children.


I know that waste; nutrients, chemicals, plastics, and allother disposable matter does not just disappear into the water, it persists andis greatly detrimental to the animals and ecology of the Florida Keys. So tothe best of my ability, I will not add my waste to the water or the land and Iwill remove the waste of others as best I can.

I know that increasing populations and increasing usage ofour waters and reefs degrades our natural resources. So I will conserve ourreefs, seagrass meadows, fish and lobsters by taking only what I need, andobeying the regulations that serve to preserve our natural resources. I willnot wantonly destroy corals, fish, lobsters, or other marine life throughignorance or carelessness.

I know that our coral reefs and inshore waters have and aresuffering greatly due to our exploitation and are in great need of care andrestoration. So I will support and aid the Florida Keys National MarineSanctuary in their efforts to sustain and repair our unique marine ecosystems.

I know that respect for our natural world is the foundationof conservation and preservation of our natural resources, and I will make thisrespect the foundation of my use and enjoyment of the great natural resourcesof our Florida Keys.

I know that others will follow my example if I cancommunicate my knowledge and caring, and I will take every opportunity toeducate my fellow citizens on the fragile nature of our ecosystems and how toenjoy our resources with minimal environmental impact.

This is my personal commitment to the sustainable future ofthe ecosystems of my Florida Keys. I will keep this document where I will seeit frequently and use it as a reminder of my obligation to the beautiful andfragile ecosystems that provide me with a unique and wonderful way of life.


    On Monday, January 23, 2017 7:53 AM, Peter Sale <sale at uwindsor.ca> wrote:

 Hi listers,
I've just posted some further thoughts on how we can effectively get people to act to reduce footprints and save coral reefs.  I'm still trying to find the hook that will work with the less committed public, getting them to realize that the degradation of coral reefs is not just another 'just so' story from the world of nature, but a sign of a serious problem for humanity.

The post is at http://wp.me/p5UInC-Ce and harks back to some comments I made 8 years ago, at the 11th ICRS.  Some of you may remember.

Also, there is a recent podcast by Randy Olson, who seems to be too shy to post to coral-list himself, on the topic of communicating effectively about coral reef demise.  It is here:

I'm seriously interested in finding a more effective way to communicate about reefs, because they are important to me, and because I think they are telling us something really important.  Plus, particularly in the closing days of January 2017, it is nice to be able to advocate for ethical behavior!

Peter Sale

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