[Coral-List] FW: On a positive note But actually...

Douglas Fenner douglasfennertassi at gmail.com
Mon Jul 1 21:20:54 UTC 2019

    We're all humans.  We tend to respond to the same kinds of things and
make some of the same mistakes.  We do some things differently because
different people find themselves in different situations, and different
societies have different histories.  But we're all human, no one group is
responsible for most of the world's ills.  I often criticize the US because
I am from the US, and so that gives me a responsibility and license to be
critical of it and show that it is not above criticism.  But it doesn't
mean the US is the only place that causes problems, and it is not a place
that lacks concern for the environment and has done nothing to clean up air
and water, for instance.  Traditional cultures and ancient humans were also
not perfect stewards of the environment, ancient humans drove magafauna to
extinction wherever humans invented tools to kill animals and developed
cooperative hunting.  The first people to enter various areas often did a
lot of damage to ecosystems (though some settled into very sustainable
practices).  Modern developed societies do more than their part at
consuming and therefore consuming resources and damaging the environment.
In my view, we're all involved, and we're all in this together, and we all
need to pull together to improve things.  Coral-list people are doing their
part trying to save reefs, I say bravo!
Cheers, Doug

On Tue, Jul 2, 2019 at 1:00 AM Nicole Crane via Coral-List <
coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov> wrote:

> Dear listers. I am deeply concerned by the statement referred to below
> about poor people. This kind of misconception (thank you Chris for your
> comments below) is problematic for our collective missions to better
> understand and protect coral reefs. Classism, racism, sexism, and straight
> up incorrect assertions will be exactly the excuse some will need to
> discredit our community. I work with people who I suppose would meet the
> definition of ‘poor’ people though they would not use that descriptor for
> themselves. They are among the worlds best stewards and conservationists,
> and unfortunately for them are often under the oppressive force of wealthy
> western efforts which destroy their culture and their resources. I
> personally do not want to be a part of a community (Eg. Coral list) that
> sanctions the kind of rhetoric expressed in Alina’s post. Alina, there is
> some great literature I think you might consider reading to help you better
> understand the forces behind environmental destruction.
> Thanks all
> Nicole
> On Fri, Jun 28, 2019 at 6:05 PM Christopher Hawkins via Coral-List <
> coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov> wrote:
> >  Re: "... in Bangladesh, the very poor people in many countries cut down
> > all the trees, kill off wildlife, overfish their local reefs, and have
> high
> > levels of pollution because of concentrated human density."
> > Yikes. A little harsh, in my opinion. Please remember there was an era in
> > the U.S. during which we chopped most everything that grew, believed
> people
> > were incapable of fishing out a stock (i.e., cod), dammed as many rivers
> > and streams as we came across, bulldozed mountaintops, and generally
> > extirpated anything that growled at us. And we certainly did not have the
> > population density or poverty levels while we were doing it than found in
> > parts of Bangladesh. So, what excuse did we have?
> > It took us a long time to progress through that era, and portions of it
> > stubbornly hold on. But I guess we are somehow better than they are...
> > Chris
> > p.s. I wish I had more room for optimism. Most societies are reactionary,
> > and don't/won't deal with problems large and small until they are forced
> to
> > make the hard choices. We call that a "social trap." But change takes
> > energy and many animals seems to be wired to conserve it rather than look
> > for reasons to spend it. Similarly, I have seen too much misplaced effort
> > in my career when it comes to saving/conserving/managing reefs. It's far
> > easier for us to single out this or that user group, make some rules and
> > draw some imaginary lines in the water and pat ourselves on the back. Far
> > harder to fund the enforcement of those rules, make change in the
> > socio-political arena, and work with ranchers and other private
> landowners
> > to restore large swaths of upland.
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >

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