[Coral-List] Evidence that ocean warming has caused most Caribbean coral loss

Peter Sale sale at uwindsor.ca
Wed May 10 00:00:16 EDT 2017

Hi all,
Since this thread is proving to have remarkably strong legs, I'm butting back in to advise I have just posted comments about five reviews that appeared in Science day before Earth Day.  They formed a special environmental section.

They did not write about coral reefs (I think reefs scored mentions in two of them) but about the environmental crisis generally.  Still they should be read by anyone interested in doing a much better job on conserving coral reefs.  Hopefully, my post, at http://www.petersalebooks.com/?p=2463 provides a useful entry point.  In particular, the two articles, by Ruth DeFries and Harini Nagendra on why environmental problems are wicked, and by Elise Amel, Christie Manning, Britain Scott and Susan Koger on why it is so difficult to change hearts and minds, should be read by everyone who wants to improve reef management.  The former paper outlines succinctly the various factors that make environmental problems so seemingly intractable and some ways forward to gain success.  Many of you will already know about this, but the need to build effective partnerships that span across bureaucratic silos, and across jurisdictional boundaries in order to address the whole problem instead of small parts, and on ecologically relevant scales has been a significantly under-recognized need, and we seem slow to learn how to do better.  And this is just one of the problems they identify!  (Unless you are comfortable doing your small part educating people about plastic waste, or coral aquaculture for restoration, or working with fishermen to ban damaging methods, and to hell with the big picture, you all should be continuing to do your thing while working damned hard to build the more effective, more complex approaches (including GHG emissions reduction) that are needed for real change.)

The paper by Amel et al strays far from natural sciences.  Never mind just learning some historical geology so you can get really frightened about the possible future, Amel introduces psychology.  Yes, there are people who study what makes it difficult for people to change their mind, or get on board with a new program!  Again, they provide pointers to ways forward that include such simple things as actually getting people out into nature again (yes, it focuses on first world city dwellers) and more subtle things such as the value of framing a message so that acting sustainably is presented as the usual, appropriate, cool thing to do, rather than as something that will set you out from the crowd as a bit odd.

Unfortunately, all five articles are behind the paywall which will keep many non-academic people away from them.  That's why I devoted a blog post to them.  If we really want to keep reefs with us (and most of us sure seem to) we have got to contemplate the more complex, more nuanced approaches suggested in these two papers.

OK, back to corals.
Peter Sale

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