[Coral-List] Fwd: bleaching

Austin Bowden-Kerby abowdenkerby at gmail.com
Mon Mar 28 02:53:28 UTC 2022

(Resending this as it says I have been blocked)

Following on Gene's note,

I am thinking that what is happening in Ukraine might actually be quite
relevant to coral reefs.  The Coral reefs at our sites here in Fiji are now
bleaching badly, and the reefs of Kiribati have lost 90% of their corals
from 2015-2019, and so now the reef fish are too ciguatoxic to safely eat.
And what the heck is going on at the poles right now?  I am feeling
increasingly pessimistic seeing these horrors.

With a failed COP26, corporate control of governments, and now this heinous
war on top of that, and with modelers saying the best we might hope for is
a 2.4C temperature increase- that is if countries do what they promise, my
hope has been worn thin.  I am beginning to wonder if anything we do to
save coral reefs will work over the long haul, based on these grim
prospects?    Is it mostly just me, or do many of us feel this way?  This
is not a good place to dwell.

It looks pretty obvious to me that on the present track, that the vast
changes needed are not going to happen quickly enough to make a difference
over the long run.  Meaningful change is blocked by selfish interests and a
cancerous materialism: corporate control, corrupt political systems, fake
news and denial, 'end times' religious fundamentalism, the material comfort
and insulated nature of those who might otherwise facilitate change, and we
see the problems worsen as extremes of wealth and poverty grow, and with
the vast wastage of wealth on defense and war now increasing.

Is there any way we might turn things around quickly enough to avoid the
demise of coral reefs and tropical forests and to prevent the 6th
extinction?  Meetings and international agreements have certainly not done
it.  Is there anything short of a sudden global catastrophe that can save
the reefs and the biodiversity of the planet?

I always believed that if people are the problem then people are the
solution, but people have not been able to turn things around.

With WW3 now a distinct possibility, my question is this: Would a nuclear
autumn and the resulting cooling of the planet and associated loss of half
to two-thirds of the planet's human population be better over the long term
for coral reefs and wildlife in general than business as usual?   Are there
any existing models for this?

These are such dark thoughts when considering the horrific human suffering
that this would entail..... I feel dirty even considering it!   But on the
other hand, consider the horrific plight of humanity and diverse species
due to unabated and out of control climate change.  If we do not change
quickly, horrendous multi-generational suffering will ensue, as the world
is deprived of the bounties of coral reefs and forests, and as vast areas
of the continents become uninhabitable as the heat becomes so extreme, and
coastal areas and island nations become drowned by rising seas, with chaos,
famine, mass migration, and more war.  With that in my mind, I wonder if
the short term horrors and cooling effect of a nuclear autumn would be
better for both humanity and the planet?

Of course as we have no control over what happens, this is all just a
mental exercise.  Maybe I am doing this in a desperate attempt to identify
a silver lining to what hopefully will never happen?  In the mean time, I
am counting my blessings, thankful to be located in the Southern hemisphere
on a remote island, with very good food security.  If any of you are
considering a long vacation, a retirement location, or a field site where
you might safely take the family, Fiji is an excellent option. We could
also use some experienced volunteers in our sites.

I still hold a strong belief that one day humanity will find our proper
balance with nature, and that we will share the realization that we are one
planet and one people.
I hope that what is unfolding now will serve to weld the nations together,
so that the planet can finally disarm in safety, with all nations agreeing
to disarm and to rise one and all against any aggressor.  Disarmament would
free up vast resources and wealth to use for the restoration of society and
nature. Perhaps a more just global economic system could then also be
launched, with the goal of eliminating unfair advantage of the rich nations
over the poor ones, and the elimination of the vast extremes of wealth and
poverty.  Such a just system would include monetizing ecological services
and carbon storage, and taxing the environmental harm of things like
harmful chemicals, CO2 and plastics, all the things that presently drive
this horrific destruction of our planet?

My greatest hope is that these positive things can now begin to happen
based on the shock of what is happening now, as we approach the brink and
look in horror into the dark void, but hopefully not actually falling into
the abyss.  Nuclear disarmament could be the first step in a planetary
transformation, and what we as individuals must demand of our governments.
 One things is certain, our world has changed, and all of this might
impacts the fate of coral reefs.

Kind regards, to all,


Austin Bowden-Kerby, PhD
Corals for Conservation
P.O. Box 4649 Samabula, Fiji Islands

On Thu, Mar 24, 2022 at 10:22 PM Eugene Shinn via Coral-List <
coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov> wrote:

> It is really difficult for me to worry about  Barrier reef bleaching and
> climate change in general considering what is happening in Ukraine. Dead
> corals can hardly compare with the the death and destruction going on on
> the other side of the world right now. There is always the possibility
> me may not live to see if the reefs survive. Gene
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> Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
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