As an undergraduate I gradually erased the mental image of a bold line separating environmental concerns from development economic issues. Environment does not equal only panda bears. Development does not equal just economic growth. Those working in corresponding fields intend to arrive at the same, logical destination whether they know it or not: sustainable, mutually beneficial relationships between humans and their source of livelihoods and sustenance, also known as the nature. Our economy runs on natural resources, transforms them into products and even services through the energy going into people and machines the machines they operate. There are a few major distinctions between development and environmental issues, but their overlap is much greater. Even professionals in both areas, however, do not always see the relationship between their fields, not to mention the general public’s perspective. That is one of the reasons I am at Conservation International for the summer.
It is said that the hardest part is getting there. After horrendous traffic in Los Angeles, expensive surprises after standing in an hour long queue at LAX, a restless redeye, and setting a personal best mile time through the Panama City Airport in order to make my connection, I would tend to agree. I arrived in Cartagena, Colombia, and my adventure had only just begun. I was greeted by smiling faces, and what must have been 100+ degree heat and 90% humidity. Continue reading →
My first few days on the island have been an adventure, I arrived on Thursday after over 30 hours of travel and met briefly with my OneReef contact Wayne Andrew (yes his last name being my first name has become a bit of a joke). Wayne, who is from Palau, is visiting Pohnpei and staying at the same hotel as me. He stopped by for a brief hello and told me to get some rest. The next day we met up and went to meet the Director of the Conservation Society of Pohpei, Eugene Joseph, we agreed to set up a meeting with everyone on Monday to go over the best way to use my skills. Continue reading →
In about twenty-four hours I will be landing in Honolulu for a 9 hour layover before taking another 10 hour flight through the Marshall Islands to Kolonia, Pohnpei, Micronesia where I will be living for the next two months. As I sit on my bed and look up at the dive flag hanging over my headboard and the two dive photos hanging over the foot of my bed, I cant help but look forward to diving in some of the beautiful reefs of Ant Atoll, a small atoll off the coast of Pohnpei with a population of 10, mostly conservation officers who I’ll be living and working with for a few weeks during my time in Micronesia. Packing has been a challenge, pretty sure my carry-on is over the weight limit but dive gear was included on my packing list and there is no way I am going to Micronesia and not bringing my dive camera rig, still looking for my dive computer though but I’ll find that tomorrow before I leave. I will probably try to do quite a few posts throughout the summer and look forward to posting again after a few days in Pohnpei!
I am working as the Education and Outreach Fellow with Think Beyond Plastic on the Bay Islands of Honduras to raise awareness of the marine plastic pollution problem and encourage local solutions.
Thankfully my day-long trip to Roatan was one of the smoothest trips I’ve ever experienced- with only a half an hour of layover my checked luggage managed to make it on the plane from San Salvador to Roatan and my landlord was kind enough to pick me up from the Roatan airport. After only three days of settling into my new place in the West End community of Roatan, Karl and I turned around and headed to Utila, the second largest Bay Island, where the other Think Beyond Plastic fellow lives, Saba Ijadi. We attended a Recycled Art fashion show put on by the largest conservation organization on the islands, the Bay Islands Conservation Association. It was great to see local students of Utila get creative with recycled material to design elaborative dresses, umbrellas hair accessories and more. Continue reading →
It’s been two weeks since I landed in Roatán International Airport and that marked the beginning of a nonstop tour of the region. In the past two weeks I’ve been on 1 flight and 3 ferry trips (not the best experience if you get motion sickness…). The fun started with a trip the day after my arrival to one of Central America’s largest recycling facilities (Invema) in San Pedro Sula followed by a series of other meetings and a road trip to La Ceiba. The week after the San Pedro Sula trip I visited the island of Utila and the whole Think Beyond Plastic Fellows team reunited on the islands for the first time. We are still wrapping our heads around the prevalence of single-use plastic on the islands but we’ve met a lot of extremely dedicated and passionate individuals who we will work with this summer to try to make a change.
I’m starting off my summer internship with NOAA National Marine Sanctuaries and the MPA Center by doing “sense of place” research and art in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.
If you have been whale watching in Monterey Bay, diving off the Channel Islands, surfing north of San Francisco, or tide pooling in northern Washington, chances are, you’ve been to a West Coast national marine sanctuary. National marine sanctuaries are marine protected areas that have iconic natural and cultural marine resources. The network, managed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), includes 600,000 square miles of marine and Great Lake waters. Continue reading →
I, like a few of my peers, choose to stay local for the summer. Having decided to waste no time, I started my placement the Monday following the end of the spring semester. My first week was nothing but amazing. Having been rather consumed with finals, I hadn’t taken the time to investigate where I would be working. I assumed I would be in an office, at a small desk, disconnected from the world as I have been in the past. Yet, as I arrived unnecessarily early Monday morning, I was taken back by the natural beauty that surrounded my new work place.
Each year as the summer begins, we get the pleasure of telling the stories of our Center for the Blue Economy Summer Fellows and Honorary Fellows. These are students who are tackling real-world projects that positively impact our oceans and coasts. Readers can get a sense of where they are off to and what they are working on with the overview I created, and from here on out, the students will share their stories in their own words. We look forward to hearing more “on-the-ground” workings of these amazing fellows!