The coral reef fortification program is the uniquely right choice to make in the case of the Coral Reef Disintegration issue. The evidence concerning the significant diminishing of the coral reef is strong enough to support such a decision. The island faces an existential threat if the erosion caused by the strong waves is not addressed immediately. After the island erodes, any form of life will be decimated, and human beings will not be spared. As such, the possibility of humanity being wiped out from this island necessitates the need for concerted efforts to rectify the situation before crossing the point of no return. While the loss of human life is expected to take close to one and a half centuries, some short-term impacts of the severe disintegration of the coral reef will be felt.
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The island’s economy is built on agriculture and fishing, which will be the first casualties of the impending disaster. Fish depend on the coral reef for reproduction, shelter against adverse oceanic weather, survival, and thrive. Therefore, at the current disintegration rate, fish will start dying and the economy will suffer irreparably. Similarly, after the coral reef loses its capacity to protect the island, erosion will set in and agricultural activities will be untenable. As such, the islanders will not continue enjoying their current leisure. The quality of life will deteriorate drastically and even hard labor will not yield the expected gains. Therefore, the islanders should sacrifice their current pleasures and compromise the quality of their lives to save the coral reef from disintegrating any further. The current generation of islanders will not enjoy the benefits of their sacrifice, but they will be compensated by saving the future generation and this argument is within the paradigm of rationality.
The arguments raised in the preceding section are debatable and could be questioned from different perspectives. The first difficult aspect of this issue is the veracity of the argument that punishing waves are diminishing the coral reef at unprecedented rates to a point of decimation. Critics of this position will argue that the coral reef has been in existence for billions of years and it has always countered the effects of the strong waves. In other words, the coral reef and the waves have co-existed in a healthy relationship for centuries, and thus any human interference will tip the balance of the ecosystem. Therefore, the question of consensus about the issue of coral disintegration will dominate the debate on whether fortification efforts are needed or not.
However, the opposing views could be countered by arguing that the current disintegration can be verified scientifically. Data collected for years concerning the status of the coral reef could be used to statistically prove that the disintegration being witnessed currently has not been witnessed at any period in history. Scientific evidence could also be used to project the future status of the coral reef using simulation models.
Another difficulty with the position taken on the necessity of fortification efforts would be the claim that strong waves will ultimately kill the coral reef and erode the island leading to its extinction. Critics will question this position by arguing that the coral reef has died and recovered in the past, the situation is not as bad as portrayed by the committee, the models used to project the future of the island are wrong, and animals and plants will adapt to the changing environment. It would be argued that the coral reef undergoes cycles of decimation and regeneration, and thus the current phenomenon should not be worrying. The committee members would be branded alarmists relying on myths to disrupt people’s lives with unfounded claims. The models being used to simulate and predict the future would be questioned and termed as unreliable. Finally, critics will claim that plants and animals have always adapted to changes in their environment, and thus they will survive this phase too.
The rebuttal to these claims would be that scientific evidence has been used in the past to predict future outcomes with high levels of confidentiality and accuracy. Therefore, scientific evidence shows that the coral reef is disintegrating at high rates, and this understanding cannot be wished away or branded as alarmist. In addition, while animals and plants have survived in the past, they will not be in a position to adapt within the short projected timescales when extinction is expected to take place.
The final controversial point of this argument will be the rationality of sacrificing the present for the future. Critics will question the logic of sacrificing present pleasures and leading substandard lives for the sake of future generations. The central argument for the opposing side would be the lack of interpersonal compensation for sacrifices made presently. In essence, the beneficiary and benefactor are different entities. Reductionist accounts of personal identity would be used to object to the rationality of sacrificing the present for the future. Specifically, the alleged future suffering cannot be verified, and thus asking people to sacrifice today and suffer in the process does not make sense – it borders irrationality. These claims would be based on temporal solipsism whereby the future existence and wellbeing of other individuals do not matter to the current self.
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However, these arguments would be countered through the concept of temporal neutrality, altruism, and prudence. Based on temporal neutrality, it would be argued that the proposed sacrifices needed to fortify the coral reef would be rewarded through intrapersonal compensation. In this case, the current islanders and their future generations are the same things. Therefore, the benefactors and beneficiaries are the same people. Prudence demands that future interests should be enough motivating factors for an individual to act now. Similarly, altruism or interpersonal neutrality requires a person to act now for the sake of others. These concepts should justify the need for the islanders to come together and fortify the coral reef. When the benefits of such actions would be felt does not have any intrinsic significance.
Fortifying the coral reef at Reef Island is the best decision that can be made presently. If such actions are not taken, the island will face the existential threat of extinction within a century. Even before the expected extermination, the islanders will suffer short-term effects including reduced agricultural activities and economic crisis. However, critics would argue that strong waves could not destroy the coral reef because the two have co-existed for billions of years. In addition, there lacks of consensus on the gravity of the current destruction of the coral reef. These arguments would be rebutted using scientific evidence and philosophically through the concept of temporal neutrality.