Coral Reef Protection
We stand resolved that: THE DEVELOPED NATIONS SHOULD SUBSTANTIALLY INCREASE PROGRAMS TO HELP LESS-DEVELOPED NATIONS PRESERVE THEIR NATURAL RESOURCES.
In order to understand this resolution, we offer the following DEFINITION OF TERMS
Webster‘s new world dictionary defines NATURAL RESOURCES as “forms of wealth supplied by nature.“ We further add that one such form of wealth is the rich habitat which is supplied by a healthy coral reef system.
In order to support this resolution, we advocate the following PLAN:
A. MANDATES: The United States National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA) will use available technology to map the earth‘s coral reefs. These maps and the technological data necessary to understand and use them will be made available to all coastal countries through the United States Agency for International Development.
B. LOGISTICS: The plan will not require substantial funding due to the use of existing satellite mapping capability. If revenue is necessary, it will be derived from end-user taxes on the products of coral reef development: fishing, tourism, pharmaceutical, etc. Enforcement will be through normal means. We reserve the right to clarify any part of this plan.
Adoption of the plan is a necessary step in preserving the oceans’ most valuable resources.
ADVANTAGE: THE PLAN ALLOWS FOR THE PRESERVATION OF THE CORAL REEF SYSTEM
The need for plan is seen clearly in our first point.
I. CORAL REEFS ARE THREATENED WITH EXTINCTION
The great reefs are becoming victims of over-fishing, pollution, and a loss of habitat in both the developed and the developing world.
A. CORAL REEFS ARE ON THE BRINK OF DESTRUCTION
Peter Weber, a research Associate at the Worldwatch Institute writes in the Futurist in 1993 (July-August, p. 28)
“Coral reefs are also among the most endangered ecosystems on Earth. Human beings have damaged or destroyed significant amounts of reef off the coasts of 93 countries, according to a study in the mid-1980s by the World Conservation Union... At current rates of destruction, much of the world‘s reefs could be destroyed in the next 50 years.“
This devastation has consequences. Coral reefs are not just one feature of the ocean‘s life. They play a role in protecting the young of a huge variety of ocean species. This is why their loss will be felt.
B. CORAL REEF DESTRUCTION THREATENS SPECIES
Stephanie Pain a scientific researcher writes in the New Scientist in 1994 (Feb., p. 13)
“The fossil record shows that reef communities crashed in every one of the five great mass extinctions. Reef dwellers are extinction prone species,“ warns David Jablonski, a geologist at the University of Chicago. “And it takes between 5 and 10 million years to replace them. On a human time scale, that‘s forever.“
And ultimately, we are not just talking about the survival of fish, but about the survival of humans as well. The earth is a system of interacting habitats and forms of life. The loss of one major element threatens the entire chain.
Given the existence of such a threat, one would think that the developed and the developing worlds would be working together to preserve this great resource. Unfortunately, this is not the case. The blame for this problem is seen in the following.
II. CURRENT CORAL REEF PROTECTION IS NOT WORKING
Part of the problem is that countries all over the world are not aware of the extent of the problem.
A. COUNTRIES CURRENTLY DO NOT HAVE THE DATA TO PROTECT THEIR REEFS
Worldwatch Associate Researcher, Peter Weber notes in the Futurist in 1993 (July-Aug., p. 33)“
Currently, countries do not have enough basic information on their total reef area to enable them to monitor the health of the reefs.“
In addition, there is a lack of commitment to solving the problem.
B. CURRENT PROGRAMS ARE NOT SUFFICIENT TO PROTECT CORAL REEFS
Weber continues in 1993 (July Aug, p. 33)
“Thus, most coral reefs could begin to recover if governments pursued policies to protect and revive them. Currently, however, only a smattering of pilot projects and a few regional programs exist.“
Fortunately, our plan would take a major step in offering a cure for this problem.
III. IMPROVING KNOWLEDGE OF CORAL REEFS AIDS IN THEIR PROTECTION
The United States currently has many satellites which could be used to assist countries in protecting their reefs.
A. NASA MAPPING CONTRIBUTES TO CORAL REEF PROTECTION
Peter Weber writes in 1993 (Futurist, July-Aug., p. 33)
“One major contribution that industrial countries could make would be to map the world‘s reefs with satellite and airplane surveillance equipment. The U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration could do this as part of its Mission to Planet Earth program.“
This data will play a crucial role in protecting the reefs.
B. ENHANCED DATA PROMOTES CORAL REEF SURVIVAL
Robert Richmond, of Guam‘s Marine Laboratory, writes in the American Zoologist in 1993, (Dec. p. 534)
“More data and studies, especially in forms and forums available and comprehensible to the general public and decision makers are needed if present trends are to be reversed.“
The developed countries, have the data to help solve this problem. The coral reef has often been called, “the rain forest of the sea.“ It is one of the treasures that all countries of the earth share. For this reason, it should be one of the responsibilities that all countries of the earth should bear.
(From Distupta Honlap website http://sophia.jpte.hu/disputa/egyebek/handbook/chapter_eight.htm )
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