[Coral-List] Science/ Environment/ Politics Issues

Nohora Galvis icri.colombia at gmail.com
Sat Feb 9 20:48:34 UTC 2019

Dear Coral-Listers,

Discussions on saving coral reefs are joining us here in the
Coral-List besides our reserach interests. Despite of controversies in
scientific findings. We all would like to do more to help reaching the
objetive of conservation. Therefore, we are more in agreement than we

Acknowledgement of #ClimateChange #GlobalWarming as well as we agreed
in the need to stop / control the drivers of local direct threat or
destruction of coral reefs e.g. dredging, overfishing, sedimentation
and pollution (sewage, non biodegradable chemicals and plastics, etc).
We can found indicators of local threats that can affect in days,
hours and minutes may disappear a coral reef due to the unsustaianble
development causing coral outbreaks diseases, higher algal cover.

What we should be more careful about, it is to promote with our
messages to decision makers to ignore any of the global or local
issues and therefore promote a unique "solution"
just to get funding or fame as a scientist who saves the corals.

If we say to a decision maker of a developing country that the only
thing that we need to do to save coral reefs is to control our carbon
emissions. They may say: "ok, if our contry e.g. Colombia only produce
0.4 percent of global GHG emissions, in our country may be allowed to
use dynamite on a healthy and biodiverse 500 year-old massive coral
reef (Varadero) to enlarge a channel, dredge on a coral reef and build
a huge port for crusies. Regardless of the ballast water and sewage
related, there are some coral restoration developers that have
promised to build in another place a mono specific reef branching
corals in few years".

The conclusion at the #ReefFuture2018 was clear about the need to
consider that the million of species of coral reefs are vulnerable to
both global and local stressors and only by adding to the solution is
that we can get sustainable development. There is not a "Unique
Solution that will stop all the threats to coral reefs". We as
scientists should provide complete and integral messages considering
the precautionary principle without supporting unsustainable projects
that are not enviornmental friendly.

We should be leading by example and do not support Green / Blue Washing.
Little actions can lable as coherent behavior #GlobalBehaviorChange

For example: if we know that there are options to non-biodegradable
sunscreens, we should use the called eco-friendly sunscreens. It is
not that we need to kill a coral colony to decide if we do it or not.
Even the human medical researchers suggests that "For those who are
concerned about the potential effects of chemical sunscreen
ingredients on the environment can opt for a physical sunscreen
containing the active ingredients zinc oxide or titanium dioxide".
“All of the active ingredients in U.S. sunscreens have been approved
by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as safe and effective for
human use,” says board-certified dermatologist Suzanne M. Olbricht,
MD, FAAD, president of the AAD. It is
good to know that sunscreens containing the ingredients titanium oxide
or zinc oxide, which are natural mineral ingredients, have not been
found until now harmful to corals.

The US National Park Service says that 4,000 to 6,000 tons of
sunscreen enter reef areas each year, the products covering skin wash
off  This does not spread out rapidly or evenly over the entire ocean,
but concentrates on popular tourist sites. It is estimated that 90% of
snorkeling/diving tourists are concentrated on 10% of the world’s
reefs. This means that our most popular reefs, such as those in our
national parks, are exposed to the majority of sunscreens.

I wonder how many tons of sewage enter the ocean every year by
tourists and local inhabitants of our coral reefs?... Scientists
should start focusing in alternatives to reuse / recycle sewage as
energy supply. Although methane releases carbon dioxide when harnessed
for energy, the net emissions are negligible if methane-rich biogas is
being used in place of fossil fuels


Cordial saludo,

Nohora Galvis

Directora Observatorio Pro Arrecifes
Fundación ICRI Colombia
Coordinadora Red Internacional de Observadores Voluntarios del Arrecife

Twitter @ArrecifesCoral e @ICRIcolombia

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