[Coral-List] pushing Paris while pulling no punches

Kaufman, Leslie S lesk at bu.edu
Mon Jul 3 18:34:50 EDT 2017

John, pushing Paris is a wonderful idea, especially now, and especially with some good voices from out of the US loud enough to drown the din of our Twitter In Chief.  Throwing rotten fruit at the Trump show may be therapeutic, but better still is to just change the channel.

I would also suggest that we do the one-two: push Paris, but also put out a welcome mat for reefs to return to.  I think most of us realize that the debate over why coral reefs are deteriorating is sterile- you know, whether it is climate change or local impacts (overfishing, overdevelopment, overpopulation, lousy watershed stewardship).  Without battling climate change we are screwed, but even doing so, if we do not also recreate the enabling conditions for coral reef growth, then we are shanked.   We should also exercise caution in berating manual restoration as futile, for it is going to prove a welcome adjunct in this recently recruitment-limited ocean.  We’ve brought the ocean to a new low and it may take a little encouragement to love it back to life.  Think of the “lost Franklinia,”  the gorgeous North American camellia, Franklinia alatamaha.  Minus the admiration of the Bartrams and subsequent generations of ambitious gardeners, this magnificent small tree from a tiny last redoubt in Georgia, would surely be extinct.  Or think of the American chestnut, for which hope that it might one day return as a bulwark of eastern US deciduous forests is literally growing, today, in experimental gardens.  Now, in the same mental frame, think Atlantic acroporid corals.

It might be advisable to separate the two messages: killing climate change and cultivating corals, to keep each point simple, forceful, and in its proper context.  Dealing with climate change is essential on so many levels, and for so many reasons, that it stands alone.  Meanwhile, however, in our basic science and clinical practices alike, we should be reinforcing the importance of responsible stewardship for anything good to happen and stay happening in our children’s and grandchildren’s lives.


Les Kaufman
Professor of Biology
Boston University Marine Program
Faculty Fellow, Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future
Conservation Fellow
Betty and Gordon Moore Center for Science
Conservation International
lesk at bu.edu<mailto:lesk at bu.edu>

Message: 6
Date: Mon, 3 Jul 2017 12:29:08 -0400
From: John Ogden <jogden at usf.edu<mailto:jogden at usf.edu>>
Subject: Re: [Coral-List] What's really killing the corals.
To: Peter Sale <sale at uwindsor.ca<mailto:sale at uwindsor.ca>>, "coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov<mailto:coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov>"
<coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov<mailto:coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov>>, Magnus L Johnson
<M.Johnson at hull.ac.uk<mailto:M.Johnson at hull.ac.uk>>
Message-ID: <3b9865f5-3413-2189-6153-9a99dd91700e at usf.edu<mailto:3b9865f5-3413-2189-6153-9a99dd91700e at usf.edu>>
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Hi Peter and all,  OK, I think we pretty much agree and probably have
for decades.  But if policies are going to change, we need a focal point
on something that has a good chance of being achieved.  Right now ICRI
is working on the materials for the announcement of the third
International Year of the Reef (IYOR) in 2018.  Presently, the goals
look disturbingly like those of the first IYOR in 1997.  Is there a
policy focus suitable for  IYOR 2018 that can be achieved?   For
example, is it conceivable that the global coral reef community could
rise up with one voice to push the Paris COP climate agenda?

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