I heard a joke the other day, and it started with something like that. This joke was funny to me, not because the punchline was perfectly timed and delivered with just right amount of dryness, but because this initial statement perfectly reflected the challenges we as Arctic researchers have been facing over the summer. Continue reading
“When you’re looking up there, do you know how to tell a planet from a star?” I replied that I don’t know any astronomy; I meant to learn but it had escaped me. With one broad gesture and a performer’s easy grace, he took me across the sky, showing what he knew and, when one spot came into our walking view, pointing out Mars. “You see, stars are brighter but they flicker and someday burn out. Planets keep shining though, they won’t fade away.” Continue reading
That was the fastest and busiest summer I’ve ever had. Van life was a whirlwind that consisted of waking up each morning, jumping in the ocean, getting coffee, and then working for 12+ hours each day trying to balance developing our prototype, refining and practicing our pitch, meeting with everyone we possibly could, and working on the CBE – WWF Arctic Economics project! It was insane. So much work but somehow so much fun! And it all paid off in the end. Our pitch of Urbavore was extremely well received…we won the people’s choice award for best of show! And everyone loved all of the produce we provided at our booth; I never would have guessed people would be coming back for 2nds, 3rds, and 4ths for celery! But then again, that aquaponics celery is dam good. We’re still actively trying to find funding to move forward on several projects simultaneously. I like to say that we have all of the resources we need to make our vision happen, except for money. Continue reading
After eleven weeks in Hawaii I am back East, trying to keep cool and reflecting on an amazing summer. I feel so fortunate to have worked alongside people who are so passionate about the ocean and so determined to incite positive change.
In wrapping up and finalizing my economic justification I spent my last week synthesizing lessons learned for fully realizing the economic value of seascapes. In order for the economic benefits of seascapes to be both fully realized and directed towards local communities/business, there are key considerations that need to be accounted for. While the Brid’s Head and Sulu-Sulawesi Seascapes are full of success stories they are also full of important lessons that need to be considered when engaging in multi-sectoral, large-scale marine management. Continue reading
With an entire summer dedicated to researching one of the coldest places on earth, I often found myself wishing for a little more summer and a little less of Monterey’s fog. I love the idea of sweater weather as much as the next hippie environmental policy grad student, but occasionally a body needs some sun. Good thing there is plenty of that to be found elsewhere in the wide West of the US.
Now that I am at the tail end of this summer fellowship I can hardly believe that all the fun and fruitful experiences I’ve had here in Denmark are almost already behind me. When I return home and my friends ask me, “How was Denmark?” I really have no idea where to begin, but I’ll try my best to lay it out for you here. Continue reading
In order to determine exactly which behavior change tools would be the most effective at TMMC myself and several of my fellow interns had the privilege to spend 7 days surveying the public and talking to the incredible volunteers who keep the place running.
Each morning we would arrive at TMMC around 10am, set up our survey table, and ask people about their experience as they left the center until about 4pm. The purpose of this survey was to determine whether or not the messages about using less plastic and consuming sustainable seafood, which the volunteers at TMMC are working so hard to convey to the public, are being properly received by the visitors to the center.
It was such an incredible experience to spend a week at the Marine Mammal Center. Besides it being a place of impeccable beauty I had such fun time talking to the different visitors – many of whom were on vacation from other countries! Prior to coming to MIIS for grad school I was teaching environmental education to kids, so I was in heaven talking to the kids about how cool the baby elephant seals were, or how similar our human bodies are to a seal’s body because we are all mammals!
I was lucky enough to have some of the most amazing co-workers on the planet, and together we got a total of 135 survey respondents! Sheer excitement can’t begin to describe what I felt the day I did the final count of the surveys in the office after we were all done 🙂
Another HUGE thank you to all of my co-workers/BFF’s at Root Solutions who helped me make this summer project a huge success!! I had the best time getting to spend the whole day with each of you outside of the office and I truly thank you all for making my whole summer fellowship so incredible!
We’ve done the data analysis and are nearly done preparing the final report that will be given to the Marine Mammal Center. I can’t wait to share the result with everyone! So far … it looks AMAZING!!! 🙂
“What do we say to our ancestors
When all the fish are gone
If we fail to protect our home
And all our future children to come
Their hope lies in us”
This quote concludes the two-page summary of my research paper exploring the regional cross-sectoral impacts and benefits of coastal fisheries in the Pacific. Yesterday brought together regional fisheries experts; government and local fisheries officers; permanent secretaries and representatives from the Ministries of Economy, Health, iTaukei Affairs, Foreign Affairs and Strategic Planning; representatives from the community based Fiji’s Locally Managed Marine Area’s, Secretariat for the Pacific Community the University of the South Pacific, Institute of Marine Resources,South Pacific Tourism Organisation and the Pacific Islands Development Fund; as well as the stars helping to navigate the sailors: the IUCN staff. Remember all those acronyms I was telling you about? Continue reading
Only 2 more weeks?! I can’t believe how time has flown by! I’ll update you all on my projects, but first, I think it’s important to let you know that my team won the annual EDF summer picnic kickball game. Woohoo! We get free breakfast in the office next week 🙂 Unfortunately, my phone died shortly after I took these photos.. But as you can see it was a beautiful, sunny day at Lake Temescal.
I learned a lot about microclimates that day–though it may be foggy and freezing in Pacific Heights, make sure to WEAR A HAT, BRING SUNSCREEN, and DRESS IN LAYERS if you are heading out to the East Bay, because it will be sunny and at least 10 degrees warmer…And you will be very upset at yourself for having not followed these rules, and you will spend a large part of the day cowering in whatever shade you can find.
This last month of my fellowship has been a whirlwind! My last update had me preparing to head off to Indonesia to begin to implement the study I designed for Pelagic Data Systems. Unfortunately, there were several complications in the fishery I was supposed to be working in, and as such plans had to change. But the change has been excellent!
I’m now splitting my time between two projects. I have resumed work for the CBE on the Arctic economics project with WWF. My focus within this project has been on the subsistence/indigenous economy, and I’ve been working to collect data and useful information to help understand how economic and environmental changes in the Arctic are affecting the indigenous populations. It has been a very interesting area to research, and I’m excited to contribute to such an important project!
The past two months have flown by in a whirlwind of seascapes, hiking, surfing, fish catch reports, economic analyses and the fundamental question of the summer: how do you prove large-scale marine conservation is good for economic growth?
In creating my argument I have been focusing on two wildly different seascapes within the Coral Triangle: The Bird’s Head Seascape and the Sulu-Sulawesi Seascape. The Bird’s Seascape is located wholly within the self-declared “conservation province” of West Papua, the semi-autonomous province of Indonesia. It is home to a network of community-run marine protected areas and a relatively low population. The Sulu-Sulawesi Seascape encompasses waters of Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines and includes larger cities and busy shipping routes. Despite their differences, they are both full of examples of how communities and business have economically benefited from being involved in integrated and comprehensive marine planning.
What could possibly go wrong? is a question that comes up in my personal life frequently, though not as a genuine query. It’s a useful way to tag the dumb commitments I make to uncertain courses of action. For example, I employed it once on an after-dark stroll through San Francisco’s Tenderloin District. Another time as I jumped on the back of a Moroccan stranger’s motorcycle after he asked me if I wanted to see where the donkeys and camels meet. And more recently, as Shaun and I walked down deserted side streets of Suva at midnight on our way to the Deep Sea Nightclub, the one down by the docks that locals dis-affectionately call a “night club for thieves.” Continue reading
It’s tough to think that I’ve been here for two months, as I am still collecting my thoughts about this internship and tracing its lessons to my goals. Hawaii has made me feel both isolated and connected. When hurricane Darby soaked our house and whipped the trees outside last weekend, it seemed like I was stranded. On a central-Pacific archipelago, where can you go when the storm surrounds you? The other Hawaiian Islands are too close to be unaffected and too far to reach unaided. Continue reading
After three weeks with Mærsk Drilling I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to attend the Norwegian School of Economics (NHH) in Bergen, Norway through its partnership with MIIS. It was a two week course on Natural Resource Policy and Management: The Norwegian Model. The course was free of charge for attendance (thank you Norway!) and was great supplemental material for my internship with Mærsk Drilling. The course consisted mainly of teachings on fisheries management, oil and gas management, financial and physical energy markets, and how the Norwegian government has managed its natural resource endowment wisely in recent decades.
The people I have encountered throughout this course are from a myriad of different countries, schools, industries and personal backgrounds. Everyone fortified the fun and friendly, yet academically motivated, environment and really made the course the valuable experience it turned out to be. I can easily say I’ve made some friends at NHH that I will be staying in touch with for years to come.
Throughout the course those who organized it put on all kinds of events where people could escape their studies and enjoy the beautiful Norwegian atmosphere. It certainly helped that the first week of this course was blessed with beautiful, sunny weather. There were hikes, BBQs and city center outings after class where we had the chance to see more of Bergen’s history. On a few of these occasions some people actually went swimming in the North Sea! Who would have thought that the waters off the coast of Bergen weren’t all that far off from Californian waters!
Along with all the fun activities that were planned for all the students, we also had outings that were part of the course. We went to a fishery that showed us how sustainable Norwegian fish farms can be, a tour around Bergen when we first arrived, and a Statoil gas production plant (which we weren’t able to take photos of) just to name a few.
Now, having gone through this two week course I have both reinforced ideas and concepts I first learned at MIIS as well as walked away with a new and better understanding of successful resource management models. Although much of what I learned had a focus on government policies and management, I learned a lot about the energy market, as well with the mix of renewables, non-renewables, and the spot and day-ahead markets, which are extremely valuable when seeing where Mærsk Drilling fits into the larger picture.
I am extremely happy for taking the initiative on attending this course and so grateful to have had this opportunity provided by MIIS in the first place. Even though I will surely miss beautiful Norway, I can’t wait to see where this experience may lead me in the future.
If the calendar on my phone is to be believed, June has already come and gone. July is well on its way towards completion. The idea that staying in Monterey for the summer would somehow slow time down seems to be proving a touch naïve. Continue reading
Upon arriving I found myself being extremely compatible with Danish culture. People here are generally prompt, kind and friendly. The food (Denmark is a meat-lover’s paradise) I will speak about later in more detail, but there are so many great places downtown København (Copenhagen) to eat and spend a leisurely afternoon. The weather has been beautiful, the architecture amazing, and the people neighborly, making this area the perfect destination for a summer excursion.