(truth or hope) Zombie Coral Reefs by Roger Bradbury

“IT’S past time to tell the truth about the state of the world’s coral reefs, the nurseries of tropical coastal fish stocks. They have become zombie ecosystems, neither dead nor truly alive in any functional sense, and on a trajectory to collapse within a human generation. There will be remnants here and there, but the global coral reef ecosystem — with its storehouse of biodiversity and fisheries supporting millions of the world’s poor — will cease to be.

Overfishing, ocean acidification and pollution are pushing coral reefs into oblivion. Each of those forces alone is fully capable of causing the global collapse of coral reefs; together, they assure it. The scientific evidence for this is compelling and unequivocal, but there seems to be a collective reluctance to accept the logical conclusion — that there is no hope of saving the global coral reef ecosystem.

What we hear instead is an airbrushed view of the crisis — a view endorsed by coral reef scientists, amplified by environmentalists and accepted by governments. Coral reefs, like rain forests, are a symbol of biodiversity. And, like rain forests, they are portrayed as existentially threatened — but salvageable. The message is: “There is yet hope.”

Indeed, this view is echoed in the “consensus statement” of the just-concluded 2012 International Coral Reef Symposium, which called “on all governments to ensure the future of coral reefs.” It was signed by more than 2,000 scientists, officials and conservationists.

This is less a conspiracy than a sort of institutional inertia. Governments don’t want to be blamed for disasters on their watch, conservationists apparently value hope over truth, and scientists often don’t see the reefs for the corals.


Read the rest of this ANU ecologist’s July 2012 NYT op-ed article here


…take in the alternate view from Jeremy Jackson in a 60sec vid summary from Seamonster blog

I get really angry when my colleagues say that ‘its’s all over [for coral reefs] and there’s nothing we can do about it.’ That presupposes two things: 1. that we know everything that we need to know — we obviously do not, and 2. that we are immune to the consequences of our own actions. And I think that’s really foolish.
– Jeremy Jackson