A Lesson from the Great Barrier Reef

Written by Dr Klaus L.E. Kaiser

The Great Barrier Reef (GBR) along Australia’ s northern coast has long been considered one of the world’ s natural wonders. It stretches for over 1,000 miles along Australia’ s northeastern coast and is home to many species of marine organisms.starfish

As of late, the GBR is under attack. The crown-of-thorns starfish, a native species, is said to have exploded in numbers and is munching its way through the coral “forest” to the detriment of the corals. In the past, there was a balance, a kind of give and take that allowed all species to prosper in a steady ratio. That has suddenly changed and the starfish is grazing the coral to death.

What changed?

Climate, a Weapon of Mass Destruction?

The starfish in question lives by eating the soft parts of corals in the GBR. It has become a major threat now that it has been multiplying greatly due to over-fertilization of the water with nutrients from (land) surface runoff. The latter, of course, is a consequence of the farmers’  desire to turn every square inch of arable land into production of “fuel” like bio-ethanol and bio-diesel. Don’ t blame the farmers though. Al Gore, former Vice-President of the U.S. and John Kerry, the current Secretary of State and, of course, President Obama describe “global warming” AKA “climate change” as the numero uno threat to mankind; in Kerry’ s words a ‘weapon of mass destruction.’ Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich calls this statement delusional.

 Lies, a Weapon of Mass Deception!

Indeed, the starfish on the GBR can cause severe destruction for the corals. However, the supposed cause of nearly any problem you can think of, claimed by Kerry and others to be the “evil” carbon dioxide (CO2), is nothing but a “weapon of mass deception.”

Between media and politicians wedded to “green” ideologies, commercial enterprises living off the avails of kowtowing to politicians’  desires to appear “green,” there are few individuals to stand up and take a stand for their pet “evil of all sorts” CO2, a trace constituent of the atmosphere, absolutely vital to life on earth.

Unfortunately, they are aided and abetted by a multitude of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) like Greenpeace, Sierra Club, 350.org and countless others, whose goal is to revert mankind back to stone-age status. Some harbor their belief that the world would be better off by doing away with fossils fuels altogether. Numerous government and United Nations outfits claim the same nonsense and keep warning us of disastrous warming events to come, despite all evidence to the contrary.

But who wants to argue with free trips to UN-FCCC conferences at tropical paradises, like Rio or Bali or Cancun, of course always at the best time of year and with all expenses paid for by the “evil” fossil fuel users. If these UN-sponsored “climate events” were being held in mid-winter at a place in northern Canada instead of at “Rio in spring” both the attendance and conference conclusions would be vastly different!

But there is always hope, specifically hope that mankind is coming to its senses and will stop blaming everything on “climate” or carbon dioxide. In fact, one recent example is truly encouraging that hope. 

A Sign of Hope

Most refreshing and truly encouraging is to find a scientific study which actually calls a spade a spade, like the one by K. Fabricius of Australia’s Institute of Marine Science. Rather than ascribing every conceivable problem in the world to “climate change,” Dr. Fabricius says the GBR’ s problems are caused by an influx of nutrients that fosters the (over-)abundance of starfish.

All that fresh nutrient supply happens to coincide with the spawning period of the starfish, resulting in a reduced predation of their fry and, hence, more starfish overall which then attack more coral and so forth. Of course, similar observations are being made all over the world, though different aquatic species and ecosystem niches are found elsewhere. For example, Lake Erie also suffers from an over-abundance of nutrients.

Lake Erie

Lake Erie was declared “dead” some 50 years ago, when the influx of phosphate-containing nutrients caused massive growth of Cladophora sp. algae in spring and summer. That nutrient supply came from untreated sewage from major cities upstream, including Detroit. Proper sewage treatment made the problem disappear.

Over the last couple of years, Lake Erie again experienced massive algae growth, but of a different kind now: blue-green algae, also known as cyanobacteria. These organisms (in contrast to the Cladophora type algae of the 1960`s) also produce materials that are toxic to organisms living in the water or people consuming it.

The Path Forward

The path forward must be based on rational thinking and scientific rigor. When politicians are making sweeping statements based on beliefs rather than facts and spend billions to mitigate problems their past policies have caused without concern to or understanding of the actual cause and consequence relationships, they are doing their countries a great disservice.

In the words of W.G. Harding, 29th President of the United States, “No statute enacted by man can repeal the inexorable laws of nature.”

Modern day politicians would be well advised to consider Harding’ s wisdom before they spout off and risk becoming the laughing stock of history.


Dr. Klaus L.E. Kaiser  Bio Dr. Klaus L.E. Kaiser Most recent columns

Dr. Klaus L.E. Kaiser is author of CONVENIENT MYTHS, the green revolution – perceptions, politics, and facts

Dr. Kaiser can be reached at: mail@convenientmyths.com

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    Nitrate run-off to coastal regions is well documented.

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