Author: Sarah Wilson
Source: Earth Times 
July 28, 2012
"The 2012 International Coral Reef Symposium brought over 2000 people from 80 countries together in Cairns, Australia, to discuss the fragile future of our global coral reefs and the fish stocks that depend on them. This five-day event saw around 1,500 presentations covering the whole spectrum of coral reef science, from the biological to the economic. The goal? To gather a comprehensive understanding of coral reefs past, present and future, and to get the message out to policy makers and the public alike about the dire need for action to be taken to protect these precious ecosystems.
The symposium kicked off with the launch of a 'Consensus Statement on Climate Change and Coral Reefs', calling on governments to "...ensure the future of coral reefs through global action to reduce the emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, and via improved local protection of coral reefs". This Consensus Statement may have been supported and signed by over 3000 scientists, but as Stephen Palumbi, Marine Biology Professor at Stanford University, said during a press briefing "...scientists don't change the world, political leaders and people do". This statement mirrored the need to burn the conservation candle at both ends; globally through political action, and locally by community led conservation efforts.
"By focussing on local protection, we buy time to fight off the effects of wider global issues" Palumbi went on to say. The success of community Marine Protected Areas (MPA's) in countries with the most threatened coral reefs have proven to be largely successful, and a sizeable proportion of presentations focused on the effectiveness and challenges faced by community based efforts."
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