Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Hold fast

Australian scientists are said to be warning that hysteria surrounding the impact of climate change on the Great Barrier Reef could lead to less being done to protect it from immediate threats such as pollution and over-fishing. (The Australian, 1 Feb)

"People will just throw their hands up in the air and say coral reefs are stuffed, let's just go and save some rainforest," says Prof Terry Hughes. "I don't think people are doing coral reefs any favours by indicating there is nothing we can do about it."

By coincidence, I wrote something germane to this last week which was published as Holidays on death row on 5 Feb on climatedenial.org (by the way, George, it's "Après moi le déluge"; see the original text I sent you!)

And I am writing this post from Cebu in the Philippines, just ahead of field visits at seom remarkable projects in this region created by courageous people who are doing all they can in sometimes dangerous circumstances to protect and restore reefs, thereby enriching the lives of their fellow countrymen and women (see, for example, The Law of Nature Foundation).

The Philippines has already suffered very severe reef degradation (as it has to its forests and other natural environments). I've heard that a joke going around is that the *optimists* are the ones who say it's only 90% gone.

Much of the damage comes from destructive fishing practices. Climate change has, so far as I know, probably played a very small role to date. But people are certainly not throwing up their hands and giving up.

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