[Coral-List] Restoration messaging

Victor Bonito staghorncoral at yahoo.com
Mon Oct 12 19:40:00 UTC 2020

 Thank you Steve for highlighting this. 

Indeed it is possible to put things in perspective when dealing with the media and ensure proper messaging so that the public gets a clear perspective. While I am encouraged by the outcomes of our ~14 year coral restoration efforts here in Fiji and have seen how the addition of this tool has helped bolster our ongoing community-based marine management efforts, I'm not willing to promote it at any cost (in pursuit of much needed funding).
When approached by BBC to be involved with their Newround program, I made it clear that I didn't want our coral restoration efforts to be presented as a 'cure' for coral reef degradation due to climate change. It needed to presented as a tool for assisting reefs, but not as a solution to the problem.... rapid action to address human-induced climate change is sorely needed.  Our effort should highlight what extremes scientists and conservation practitioners are having to go through to assist coral communities to persist in the short run. I was pleased when the BBC producers agreed to work with me to ensure I was happy with the messaging delivered in the products they produced from the filming we did together. After hearing my concerns, they even let me review the text they put together before publishing it to ensure my concerns about messaging were adequately addressed with what they put together. Indeed, they themselves put that 'punch line' at the end of their article without me even needing to suggest it.
Indeed, not all media are as amenable to work with in terms of messaging, however I believe its important to ensure that we speak clearly and concisely when communicating about our work (not just restoration related), put our work into a larger perspective for the public, and don't be afraid to speak up when we see our messaging being incorrectly communicated.


Victor Bonito

Director, Reef Explorer Fiji

Box 183, Korolevu, Fiji Islands

(679) 937-8939 / 653-0093

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, 
committed citizens can change the world; 
indeed it's the only thing that ever has."

-Margaret Mead

    On Friday, 25 September 2020, 2:58:13 am GMT+12, Steve via Coral-List <coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov> wrote:  

Another example of effective restoration messaging.

It can be done.


When asked about the success of his heat-tolerant coral, Bonito told Newsround that, "coral restoration is not a solution to climate change."

"We can try to select heat-tolerant corals and multiply them, but there is a limit to that. We can't replant an entire reef. Coral restoration on its own won't be enough."

"Unless we address the underlying problem that's causing climate change, we're not going to stand much of a chance of saving our coral reefs."

Steve Mussman

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