123 Mission street in the Financial district of San Francisco, floor #28, all the way to the top. Who would have thought I could end up here, but here I am, working for EDF (Environmental Defense Fund or in more recent years, just Environmental Defense). For those who may not know, EDF has been involved in such big scale environmental defense cases as the ban on DDT and the Clean Air Act. EDF has also collaborated with companies such as McDonald’s and Fed Ex to bring about more environmentally friendly operations. As EDF celebrates 50 years of service to environmental causes, it has expanded to locations throughout the world and is tackling complex global issues such as climate change, ocean resource depletion, ecosystem reduction, and human health issues related to pollution. It is an organization full of inspired and inspiring individuals and I am so lucky to be working alongside them this summer.
I am part of the Oceans team, specifically the Research and Development team or the RADpod as they like to call themselves. They have been working on solving issues surrounding the depletion of fish stocks around the world. Using such techniques as rights based management and behavioral intervention to help create more sustainable fisheries that benefit not only the fish and the ecosystem, but also the fishers themselves. Their work includes fisheries throughout the USA as well as Mexico, the EU, the Philippines, Indonesia, and others. I will be helping the team determine which behaviors are the biggest barriers to sustainable fishing, including IUU (illegal, unregulated and unreported) activities, and trying to create behavioral interventions to mitigate these barriers.
I will also be doing some work investigating marine stock enhancement (restocking of marine fisheries through the introduction of hatchery-raised fish) and other small projects as they present themselves. I’ve already had the opportunity to speak with amazing individuals from Mexico, Indonesia and the Philippines and look forward to interacting with more of the EDF Oceans team.
I must say it’s not all work though, there is a good amount of play had as well. Mainly hiking and exploring the city. I’m lucky enough to be working with a great group of other interns. They all come from various schools, backgrounds, and focus areas, but are equally passionate about and dedicated to the work they are doing here. We often lunch together near the water and take advantage of free nights at the Exploratorium.
We all like wandering the city for good food and interesting sites. We’ve even managed to find a good food truck or two! It’s great getting to know the city with such a fun group of people and I look forward to further adventures this summer.
It’s been an interesting journey for me to end up where I am now. From undergrad at Mississippi State University, where I first learned about restocking methods and studied the culture of maritime people, to two years spent working with a fisherfolk community on the tiny island of Romblon in the Philippines, then two seasons as a park ranger at some of the most beautiful places in our country, and finally as a graduate student at Middlebury Institute of International Studies. I feel I will be using what I have learned from all of these experiences to help make a difference here at EDF and I can’t wait to see what more is in store for me to learn. Here’s to saving the world one rights based fisheries management scheme at a time!