Well its been three months of hopping between islands and trying frantically to find solutions to one of the world’s most wicked problems; Plastic. The biggest lesson I took away from my time in the Bay Islands is that there is no silver bullet to the plastic pollution crisis. Plastic is a victim of its own success. Its cost-effectiveness, versatility, and durability makes it the perfect product for a wide-variety of customer needs, but also the worst form of waste due to its persistence in the world after we throw it away. Keeping these issues in mind I pursued several angles of business-focused initiatives to try to find some practical solutions to the plastic pollution crisis.
My last post ended with a cliffhanger, but after a brief hiatus, I am back to reveal the economic model and future plan for OneReef in Indonesia. After returning to Bali from the field I spent a majority of my time completing an activity report titled “Enhancing enforcement and building capacity in Dampier Strait, Raja Ampat, West Papua”. The completed report was shared with the team at OneReef, Rare Indonesia, and will be used for funding opportunities in the future. Continue reading
It’s been a great summer. School has restarted and we’ve began new marine projects out in Monterey. But, back in Galway, our team came across a lot of findings and interesting data, lacuna for research, and a plethora of memories along the way. This article will be a little summary of what myself and our team found in our synthesis report, and what is next on the docket. First, take a look at a parting shot of Galway’s River Corrib on a typical Irish Summer day, (it wasn’t really cloudy most of the summer, but only the last two weeks of my stay there), the river runs out into the Galway Bay, and further, into the great Atlantic Ocean.
Just coming from my side of the story, this opportunity helped me learn much, and I feel that there will be a lot more to come in the sector of deep-sea research in the future. Hopefully, I’m a part of it! It all begins with one step, and one action. These cascades into larger decisions which inevitably play a role in shaping the life each one of us live. This was but one of those steps. Join me on the next one.
All these paths we choose, no matter which direction we go, leads us to formative experiences. Sometimes they seem impossible, or barely real, but oh, dear reader, they are possible. I know that the next class of OCRM students here may read this, or may not, but mine, and my colleagues summer blogs can help to prepare for a productive summer. But for now, stay with me and read a little more about the reflection of what the Socio-Economic Marine Research Unit, and yours truly, accomplished this summer.
It has been a few weeks since I returned to Monterey from a long summer spent in the mangrove forest of Rincon del Mar, Colombia. I took a risk by choosing to work on a rural first-of-its-kind conservation project for South America over a well vetted ‘big box’ agency or office job, and although it didn’t turn out how I had envisioned, I don’t regret my decision at all, especially after a few weeks of reflection. I set high expectations for myself and I wish I could say that I left Rincon with a pristine plastic-free mangrove and a thriving fishing community, but that is not the case. Instead, I received a strong dose of adversity and a taste of what it might actually take to protect our ocean and coastal resources worldwide, especially in all the areas so far away from the spotlight. In hindsight, this may have just been the most valuable experience possible – a “forward failure” some might say. It is with the utmost gratitude that I thank the Center for the Blue Economy and its donors for making this enriching opportunity possible, this summer was truly unforgettable and something that will forever inform my future work. Continue reading