[Coral-List] 50 Reefs Initiative

Carin Jantzen carin.jantzen at gmx.net
Thu Mar 2 09:49:25 EST 2017

Hi Nadia and all the rest,

I really do appreciate your response, I am totally with you!

This initiative is a very brave one, I think, to be realistic while 
being realistic will make you a doom teller for many is not easy. The 
more I respect the way they did it (great outreach too!), and in my 
opinion you are right, the public will rather see it as good news 
'something will be done, now they know what to do'.

In a way, I assume you can never discus enough how do realize such an 
effort and there is so much one needs to consider, when making such 
choices, but at one point, you need to do it. And yes, we probably don’t 
know enough (maybe we will never...) to make sure it is the right 
choice. But choices we will need to make. And many more to come. What to 
protect, which species to take care of... I really wished this would be 
different, but we must also say goodbye to the naive thinking 'in one 
way or the other things wont end up too bad'. Even in best case 
scenarios regarding slowing down climate change, we will have a lot of 
challenges coming up. Not 'only' the bad status of our environment, but 
climate refugees, wars of water and whatever grim threats we will have 
to face...

Of course, I dont suggest to sit there and do nothing. No, we need to 
fight, like never before, however, we need to be realistic in doing so. 
We will also have to make decisions what to fight for, because we wont 
be able to safe all that would be worth saving. And in doing so, we will 
know that some of our decisions will be wrong.

I was very touched by what James Balog said about climate change in 
'chasing ice': that we have managed to change the chemistry of the air 
we are breathing. It always reminds me about the extent of what we have 
done to our planet. Keeping this in mind, we need to act and try to safe 
what we can, while we can.



Am 01.03.2017 um 22:59 schrieb Nadia Jogee:
> Hi All,
> I too am responding due to the ‘Speak Up’ thread. I am an early career
> conservationist and therefore often feel intimidated (for good reason) by
> the discussions on this thread despite always reading them. So here I am
> speaking up.
> As for the 50 reefs initiative I must say I’m on the fence. As previously
> discussed there are many pros and cons.
> I feel strongly that we must accept that the world is changing and we do
> not have an infinite supply of resources. Therefore our efforts must be
> focused on the areas where they will be most effective. Yet, I can see that
> disregarding 90% of our world's reefs seems incredibly pessimistic. These
> issues have been discussed in depth in previous responses so I won’t
> reiterate what has been said. What I will do is just add a couple of
> comments.
> As well as my academic career I have spent time working in public
> aquariums. I feel strongly that in order to make any real conservation
> impact we must impress upon the public WHY it is important to protect
> ecosystems. Without funding from wealthier countries, countless projects
> around the world (and not just coral related) would not be occurring.
> However, people need a reason to invest and to lobby their governments into
> caring and contributing. Now, I can’t speak for every country, but I feel I
> can comment about the British public. People feel disillusioned by hearing
> how dire the situation is. They want to hear good news; they like to hear
> success stories. Unlike the research community I generally feel the public
> won’t think about the other 90%, I may be wrong here, but I think they’ll
> hear that we’re saving the ’50 most pristine reefs’ and feel good about
> that. Saying we need to save ‘ALL reefs’ sounds like an undoable task, but
> the 50 most pristine, ‘well ok, that’s achievable!’ (Especially considering
> I once asked a group of 30 university undergrads how many reefs they
> thought there were in the world and the average answer was around 50!)
> They’ll feel like we’re getting somewhere, rather than constantly telling
> them doom and gloom. That I think is a good thing and I think that the 50
> Reefs initiative could just be the start of a much wider project. With the
> correct public backing it can surely be expanded.
> Secondly, I would point out that although I don’t know how exactly they are
> going to assess which are the 50 they will be focusing on, I feel that not
> all 50 should tick the same boxes. We need a variation. We should choose
> reefs that are currently showing no signs of bleaching, but not so
> economically important, whilst working with reefs that are being bleached
> that are economically important. It would seem foolish and insulting to
> ignore the millions of people who rely on reefs that are being damaged
> severely. Yet I see it as critical to protect reefs that may act as refugia
> for future reefs, even if corals do not expand from those geographical
> regions for millennia.
> So as I say I’m on the fence with this one, but keen to see how the project
> will develop. I also say good luck to the team pursuing this endeavor, any
> publicity and conservation efforts is much needed and admired. As a
> community we should be supportive of one another, sharing information and
> offering constructive advice. Of all the sciences, conservation science is
> one of those that can do without the selfish needs to publish first, which
> I have seen leads to lack of cooperation. Instead we need to be supportive
> of others’ projects as long as we can see some worth and there’s no doubt
> that the 50 Reefs project has much.  (Though I appreciate as an early
> career conservationist my mortgage doesn’t depend on the pressure to
> publish, only my chances of a PhD studentship!)
> Best wishes,
> Nadia

Dr. Carin Jantzen
Marine Ecologist & Author
SECORE Media & Public Relations

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