Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Ocean Conservancy Response

After posting "Ocean Conservancy in Muddy Waters" I sent a letter to their President, excerpted here:
Dear Mr. Tepper: I'm concerned that, in the recent "Blue Planet" article on Iron Fertilization, your organization has jumped into a muddy, ethically questionable situation in the marine science community. This is now discussed in an article entitled "Ocean Conservancy in Murky Waters." I wonder if your staff realized the risks before taking such a stance...

And received the following very polite and interesting response:

Steven, Thank you for your note and comments. Our editor, Andy Myers, is always quite careful in his work. In this case, his hope was to not only report on this development but also stimulate dialogue around the issue to support further research and progress. It appears that this goal has been achieved!

We seek for a fair and balanced approach in reporting, and while we pride ourselves on being science-based, our business is science-based advocacy. In moving towards our advocacy, he spoke with a variety of leaders in the scientific community on the issue, including Ken Johnson, John Cullen, and Mark Lawrence.

To give you a taste of these conversations, he also spoke with Dr. Kenneth Coale at Moss Landing, who relayed that the article was a "nice piece." He went on however to remind us that our planet is in trouble and ocean fertilization is a cost effective option we must keep on the table, and continue scientific exploration of the idea instead of permitting hypothetical speculation to end proper review, debate, analysis.

While we stand by our presentation of the issue, we also agree with Dr. Coale, and are of an open mind to other opinions, and so expect to print a response from supporters, most probably Dr. Coale, in our next issue.

With respect to your views and writing, we live in a free country, so please publish anything you feel is appropriate. We would only hope that you would also seek a fair and balanced approach.

Regards, Tom Tepper

So it should be said that perhaps the earlier criticism of Dr. Coale may be wrong. I'd be happy to know that was the case.

Interesting topic!