[Coral-List] bleaching

Eugene Shinn eugeneshinn at mail.usf.edu
Sat Mar 26 21:13:42 UTC 2022

Dear Austin, I certainly appreciate your concerns about coral reefs. I 
have wrestled with those same concerns for the past several years. Your 
concerns are sone of the same ones that have kept me awake at night. 
There seems little we can do. I have a 42 ft trawler and often wish it 
was a sail boat so I could sail away to the south seas. Fiji sounds nice 
but it likely would soon become over crowded. Fortunately, as a 
geologist I am aware that coral reefs, as well as other kinds of reefs 
have waxed and waned since the Paleozoic over 400 million years ago 
(before the dinosaurs) but life carried on. And then there were the ice 
ages during the Pleistocene when polar ice caps melted and sea level 
fluctuated up and down. As I write this I sit on land that was formed 
under water not long ago, around 125,000 years ago. A smidgen of time 
considering the age of the Earth. As you know most of the Fiji Islands 
were forming underwater at that time. And people there in the past were 
not the most hospital. One of my friends who lived on his sailboat in 
the pacific and visited Fiji several times. He brought me one of those 
little wood devices that were once used for eating people brains. People 
in Fiju were not always so nice as they are now. Let’s keep fingers 
crossed that the mess in Ukraine will be over soon. Gene

On 3/24/22 7:57 PM, Austin Bowden-Kerby wrote:
> 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.
> Kind regards, to all,
> Austin
> Austin Bowden-Kerby, PhD
> Corals for Conservation
> P.O. Box 4649 Samabula, Fiji Islands
> https://www.corals4conservation.org
> TEDx talk https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7PRLJ8zDm0U
> https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/emergency-response-to-massive-coral-bleaching/ 
> <https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/emergency-response-to-massive-coral-bleaching/> 
> Teitei Livelihoods Centre
> Km 20 Sigatoka Valley Road, Fiji Islands
> (679) 938-6437
> http:/www. 
> <http://permacultureglobal.com/projects/1759-sustainable-environmental-livelihoods-farm-Fiji>teiteifiji.org 
> <http://teiteifiji.org>
> http://permacultureglobal.com/projects/1759-sustainable-environmental-livelihoods-farm-Fiji
> https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/happy-chickens-for-food-security-and-environment-1/ 
> 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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