[Coral-List] (Coral-List) Reef biodiversity under global change, new paper

Steve Mussman sealab at earthlink.net
Fri Oct 29 17:44:25 UTC 2021

“Unfortunately there has been a string of positive sounding titles published

in the past year or so on how coral reefs are adapting in the onslaught of

climate change, and this paper follows that trend. My fear is that all of

this focus on hints of light among the spreading darkness, no matter how

well intentioned, might backfire by downplaying the urgency of action to

save coral reefs and to lower carbon emissions”.

Dear Austin,

Seems as if we have been debating this on list for some years now, much of it under the heading of ocean optimism vs. toxic positivity. I believe it began with a discussion of the messaging used by (some) restoration projects in an effort to promote their public outreach. While those in the coral science community are well aware of the gravity of the situation facing the world’s coral reefs, the public sector takes its cues from the messaging it receives from a variety of irrepressible media sources. As has been pointed out here many times, although coral scientists working on the front lines cannot fully control media messaging, they can certainly take responsibility for the titles and content of their own publications and any and all associated public pronouncements. To be sure, there is a fine line (between negativity and Pollyannaism) that needs to be navigated here, but it can be done. Thanks for speaking out on this from the inside. Hopefully your cautionary tale will not continue to go unheeded.



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