An opportunity to save or destroy our last remaining coral reefs

This document summarises evidence recently presented to a parliamentary committee.

Pages 30-31 talk about the British Indian Ocean Territories, containing 20,000 square km of coral reefs — around half the coral reef in the Indian Ocean.

The reefs there are in good condition because the islands have remained almost uninhabited (apart from one military base). Many of the 60 sq km of islands were too even small to convert to coconut plantation, and on these islands especially wildlife thrives.

Meanwhile in the rest of the world, over the past 35 years “most parts of the tropical oceans have seen massive environmental declines from pollution, over-exploitation and development using a wide range of unwise practices.”

“A third of the world’s reefs are already dead, mainly because of overfishing, pollution and misuse. The world is warming because of increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide and this is progressively killing more [coral reef].

Added to this, ocean water is acidifying (…caused by rising carbon dioxide dissolving in water) [threatening the reefs still further].”

Given this situation the obvious question is “how can we protect these remaining islands?”

Instead, the actual question being asked (and refuted by the writer) is how to develop the islands so that they can “pay their way”?

This is insanity. This way of thinking ends with the entire world’s coral reefs dead, and the loss of most of the diversity of life found in our oceans.

It is driven by our cultural paradigm — an idea we have about money.

This is an idea we had, a way of thinking, that was useful when the world was young and natural resources were abundant. But now that natural resources are on their last legs, that way of thinking will kill us all (sorry to be dramatic but).

We need to find a new paradigm for money, business and the economy.

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