Hello and welcome!

Over the upcoming summer this blog will serve as an outlet for my experience as a CBE Summer Fellow at the World Resources Institute (WRI) in Washington DC. I will be working with their Coastal Capital initiative, primarily assisting in the development of a standardized framework for conducting economic valuations of coastal resources, based off of prior WRI reports of coral reefs in the Caribbean. Although this internship will be the blog’s main focus I will use my experience here and the many opportunities offered by living in DC to explore other relevant coastal policy issues as well (maybe).


Coastal ecosystems are under a variety of threats. From overfishing to polluted runoff; from coastal development to the gradual acidification of our oceans: coral reefs, seagrasses, and mangroves are in a very precarious position. This is bad news as these ecosystems provide us, as humans, with a variety of benefits.  It is tricky, however, to determine what exactly the values of those benefits are. Which matters because without having some quantitative measure of their worth, those that determine the fate of these ecosystems – “decision makers” – are unable to take the full value of coastal ecosystems into their accounting, resulting in coral reefs and mangroves getting shortchanged in in favor of alternative – more destructive and more clearly economically rewarding – uses of the ecosystem areas. Thus continuing the ongoing decline of the world’s coral reefs, seagrasses and mangroves.

Of course, it is easy to talk of the intrinsic beauty of coral reefs, their rich biodiversity, and the desire for your grandchildren to experience these wonders. This rhetoric, however, is largely not useful to decision makers. What is needed is a common language. Dollars work well.  This, then, is the objective behind WRI’s Coastal Capital initiative and what I will be assisting with this summer: to provide decision makers with a useful tool to aid in the sustainable management of coastal ecosystems.

This blog will catalog some of my insights into and from this process. It may be more for my own clarity than anything else; however, you are welcome to read should you take an interest in this sort of thing.  A disclaimer: As I will be working full time for WRI, I do not expect to have regular updates to this blog, rather, throughout the summer I will periodically provide a few brief reports on my work’s progress and related experiences within DC. Enjoy.