The high-end restaurants in Taipei are
seeking for the highest quality of seafood from the local seafood markets. The
crucial character of local seafood in the north coast of Taiwan is that vendors
sale living fishes. The crucial reason is that there are many Buddhists buy the
living fish so that they can return them into the ocean. However, living fishes
are also a good product for these high-end restaurants because the character
represents “high quality” and “local catching.”
“How to define the “local catching” seafood?”, “Does the work follow
the inspiration of sustainability?” I’ve asked myself many times when I was
working with the fishermen. I know I hold the high-end restaurants which seems
like the stakeholder and can pay the highest prices in the seafood market.
Why not use the money from restaurants and
help them to have the first found from the consumers? Then, they would have
capitals to switch their skills.
Unfortunately, using a company to support a
dream is very difficult. While my company connects to the relation between the
restaurants and producer and the producers have enough income in the first
month, they did not want to change their fishing skills and seek for a
sustainable fishery. Instead, the high-end restaurants support the fishermen to
catch fish by bottom trawling in the near-shore area (less than 3NM, 3NM-12NM,
and the products were IUU).
Even though the restaurants’ general
managers knew it is an illegal activity, but the cheapest prices in the market
and the lack of power of prohibition lead the situation becomes worse.
Uncomfortable cooperation is a cheat. It seems these Michelin Star restaurants
just want to use the stars to sell products. It is the reason why: when we
require them to carry the social responsibility and environmental responsibility
in their selling, they have many reasons to circumvent the responsibilities on
the local environment. The “local product using” is like a joke in
p.s. My company decided to stop providing services to these restaurants. Probably this decision will let my company has very long time cannot have a stable income. However, I hope the Micheline office can use top-down impact on these Michelin restaurants to follow the SDGs and take the social and environmental responsibility.
As the summer goes on, I have been working and learning with the Environmental and Social Safeguards Team here at WWF. My team has been inclusive and supportive. I got to participate in different workshops and webinars in which the safeguards team trained WWF offices located in Latin America on safeguards policies.
I think implementing environmental and social safeguards is an innovative approach and WWF is setting an example of how environmental organizations and NGOs need to constantly evolve and adapt to new circumstances and see communities as an integral part of conservation projects. WWF-US recently stated its commitment to safeguards, making it perfect timing for me to learn about this new and upcoming topic.
In addition to enjoying my internship I have had the chance to explore Washington DC. I am able to to visit a museum after work, go to an educational film, explore the city and meet new people. For example, I had the opportunity to meet US Congressmen and tour government buildings. Most museums and attractions are free and it is easy to bike or take public transportation from one place to the other.
My summer in San Diego is in full
swing! Both sides of my internship have fully picked up. I am splitting my time
between Scripps’ Center for Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation (CCCIA) and
the Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve (TRNERR). I started my
first two weeks at TRNERR, but then switched over two weeks full time at CCCIA,
while my TRNERR boss prepares to defend her dissertation.
During my first few days at CCCIA I
got to meet some of the coastal researchers, the graduate students who work in
the labs, and some of the office staff working on governmental relations and
project management. The research they are doing is fascinating. For example,
one crew created an enclosed system that simulates a wave crashing on the
shore; intended to collect data about sea spray and aerosols produced by ocean
water. This groundbreaking research will tell us how ocean water interacts with
the atmosphere, how it links to public health and air quality. As the lead
scientist, Kim Prather, says, ‘When they close the beach for high bacteria, they
tell you not to swim, but they don’t tell you not to breath’.
I joined in on meetings with Ocean
Acidification scientists, who are putting together a research summit in a few
months. In preparation for their conference, they asked me to look into the
statewide ocean acidification guidance and research priorities to ensure their
efforts correctly align with funding opportunities. I also sat in on a briefing
of all the research and scientific investigation occurring in and around the
Tijuana River Estuary during a briefing for local elected officials. This was a
unique opportunity to merge my two internship components: CCCIA conducting
research in conjunction with TRNERR, as it is communicated to decision makers.
This briefing was a slice of policy-making I had never experienced before and
helped me understand the process for funding scientific research, filling
knowledge gaps, and translating data into management decisions.
In addition to meeting the team and
attending meetings and trainings, I also helped put together the CCCIA
newsletter and reconstruct their webpage. These types of projects are crucial
for science communications and project management. I now understand how
integral sharing research findings is for good policy and management decisions!
I’ve also been able to get even
more involved with all things Tijuana River. One of the biggest projects I
participated in was a binational partnership between UCSD students and
professors, TRNERR, and the local community is Los Laureles Canyon, Tijuana.
The Binational Partnership Lab at UCSD hires about 10 interns every summer to
carry out projects across the border in one of the most disadvantaged
communities in Tijuana. This neighborhood, known as Los Laureles, is one of the
highest sediment contributors to the Tijuana Estuary. This means that because
the area is naturally erosive, sediment is carried by rainwater and urban
run-off in excess. It flows directly across the border in the Tijuana Reserve,
and out into the Pacific Ocean. This canyon is also booming with unregulated
development, where roads are not paved or properly maintained, and basic
plumbing and waste collection is lacking. These issues create not only an
environmental issue for the US side of the watershed, but also a flooding
hazard and dangerous living environment for the residents of the canyon. This
truly embodies how social development and environmental protection are
I was able to help the interns in
their community activities and workshops in the local community center in Tijuana.
Walking across the border and meeting residents in the Los Laureles Canyon allowed
me to connect the social issues to environmental burdens downstream. I hope to
continue enabling international communities to make more sustainable environmental
decisions that will protect not only neighboring ecosystems, but also their local
wellbeing and security.
I’ve been really enjoying spending
time at the Tijuana River NERR, learning about the Coastal Training Program,
binational issues, and all the research collaborations. Now that I have also
onboarded with CCCIA, I am also excited to see what goes on at Scripps! Both
places offer amazing networks and resources, and I look forward to how the summer
I was excited to learn I would be spending my summer in Washington DC as a Center for Blue Economy Fellow at World Wildlife Fund (WWF). I had been to the city once before as an exchange student from Costa Rica. From my first visit to Washington DC, I remember the city full of history, art, culture and free museums (perfect for a student!), so I was excited to spend a few months here. I arrived a week early to familiarize myself with my new place, the neighborhood and to explore some of the attractions in Washington DC.
Upon my arrival to WWF Headquarters, I explored the 8-story building and met my team. During my time at WWF, I’ll work for the Environmental and Social Safeguards Team, which is a small group of professionals who is in charge of implementing WWF’s Environmental and Social Safeguards Policies (ESS) for Global Environmental Facility (GEF) and Green Climate Fund (GCF) projects. ESS policies help to preview, avoid or mitigate any possible negative impact the projects may have on the environment or the local communities.
Because I am a native Spanish speaker and am fluent in English, my job will involve supporting projects in Latin America, for example in the Mesoamerican reef region and in Peru’s National Protected Areas. I will be synthesizing and producing information and materials on safeguards policies for WWF offices in the region. Finally, I’ll help design training materials for the team’s webinars on ESS Policies for WWF Latin American offices. This topic aligns perfectly with my professional interests since my future career goal is to work in international marine policy.
Because I am a native Spanish speaker and am fluent in English, part of my job will be assisting in translating materials for WWF Latin American offices. Finally, I’ll help design training materials for the team’s webinars on ESS Policies in Spanish. Having worked with fishing communities before, this topic is perfect for my future career and professional interests.
Hi! I’ve been working this summer at BSR in San Francisco’s Financial District. BSR is a global nonprofit organization that was founded at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992. The organization works with its network of more than 250 member companies and other partners to build a just and sustainable world. From its offices in Asia, Europe, and North America, BSR develops sustainable business strategies and solutions through consulting, research, and cross-sector collaboration.
After a few weeks of working on my initial projects, my advisor (Rod Fujita) brought me into another project. At the end of last year, Japan passed its first major federal fisheries reform laws in 70 years. Their nearshore fishery is highly diverse, data-limited, and involves several gear types including a set net fishery that will be particularly difficult to regulate fairly. Japan’s Fisheries Agency has sought EDF’s advice for potential strategies that could be utilized to manage their nearshore fisheries. I conducted a literature review to find other case studies of nearshore fisheries management and strategies used to regulate stationary gill net fisheries that are similar to Japan’s set net fisheries. Myself, Rod Fujita and Kazu Otsuka drafted a white paper containing our findings and advice. It was really exciting to be directly involved in a project that will shape fisheries regulations in another country.
Around the same time, I was able to join several members of the oceans team in a systems synthesis workshop focused on the infant industry of manufactured seafood. Systems synthesis is a form of mapping relationships between variables that can affect an issue and how these interactions can shape the direction of possible outcomes. The participants in the workshop each were assigned a different target group, ie the manufacturers, the consumers, the policy makers, then formed maps of outcomes. At the end, these were combined into an infographic. I was grateful to have been able to participate and to learn a completely new framework through which to view issues.
I’ve also really been enjoying the social atmosphere at EDF. They are frequently having events in the office and they took all of us interns/fellows out for a hike at Point Reyes.
I came into my program knowing full well what my interests were and what exactly I wanted to focus on. When I was asked what I wanted to do for my CBE fellowship, the answer was simple–I wanted to contribute to the conservation of coral reefs. For as long as I can remember, I have always enjoyed snorkeling and, eventually, diving among the reefs in my home country, the Philippines. So when I was told about a chance to work on a blue economy assessment for Kenya and Tanzania that placed special emphasis on the importance of coral reefs and mangroves, I took on the opportunity.
This summer, I took a “great escape” from the California Coast to the Coast of New England. Boston has a different charm compared to California. This city is small but vibrant, yet full of culture and history. The EDF Boston office is located in historical downtown. In 1 mile radius, there are many historical sites that witnessed the establishment and development of United States as a nation, including the Boston Tea Party Ship, the Massachusetts State House, the Faneuil Hall (the site of several speeches by Samuel Adams, Benjamin Franklin and James Otis, etc), the Bunker Hill Monument, and many others. I fell in love with the city immediately after arrival.
On June 11, I started my work at the Environmental Defense Fund Boston Office. I work with the EDF China Ocean team on two independent projects: 1. Identifying the most important species in China’s seafood market and assessing the their climate change vulnerabilities. 2. Compile case studies of sustainable fishery management initiatives and evaluate their feasibilities under China’s legal and cultural background. The Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment I’m working on is part of a Climate Roadmap that EDF Ocean Program and Zhejiang Fishery Institute initiated this year, and it’s a pioneer project that will help China develop its policy framework for sustainable and climate-ready fishery. This is a very ambitious project, but I feel very motivated because I, as well as many people, believe that climate-ready fishery its the foundation of all sustainable fishing initiatives we are visioning for the coming years.
The scope of EDF’s work really impressed me. While the EDF Ocean team is leading the sustainable fishery projects domestically, the Ocean program has also extended the network to Mexico, Spain, Cuba, Chile, China, Japan, Philippines and Indonesia, and EDF Ocean team works very closely with scientists, institutes and fishery communities across the globe. We have bi-weekly video-conference with EDF Ocean staff and its regional partners, and together we discuss the steps we need to take and what each of us can do to contribute to the overarching goal. I learned so much about different practices in different projects world-wide, and I’m witnessing a growing network of sustainable fishery management teams. Apart from me, there are 3 other EDF staff in the Boston office that focus on China Fishery project. We discuss our work process frequently and share our insights with each other, and we sometimes go sailing after work.
I’m very grateful to have the chance to work with the wonderful team. The working culture in EDF is absolutely supportive and fun. Everyone (including high-level directors ) is so approachable and people are always willing to take their time to help me with whatever questions I have. Working for such a prestigious NGO is such a privilege and I’m always learning something new from the conversations I have with the staff in EDF, the webinars and the video-conferences. I will definitely look for opportunities to come back after the summer.
Aside from the four million people that live in the high North (Arctic), I’m one of few from the lower latitude who wants to be 66°32’21”N of the equator. 🤷🏾♀️🥶 Geographically, that’s roughly the coordinates for where the Arctic Circle begins and the point of origin of my passion for all things Arctic. I’m not quite in the Arctic yet but my journey has only just begun! Presently, I write from 52°22’55″N, the location of the Alfred Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung Deutsches Arktisbüro (German Arctic Office) in Potsdam, Germany. More info on AWI German Arctic Office here: https://www.awi.de/en/about-us/transfer/arctic-office.html
I am approaching my third week at the German Arctic Office as an Arctic policy research CBE fellow. I have again the pleasure of working with some of the brightest minds in the field of Arctic science and policy until the 20th of September. I arrived early to get the lay of the land and discovered a wonderful forest (pictured below) that I either walk or bike through to/from work most days. The first day I arrived I was greeted by Dr. Volker Rachold, Head of the AWI German Arctic Office and Lisa Grosfeld, Project Officer of AWI and the APECS (Association of Polar Early Career Scientists). It was like catching up on old but new times as we know some of the same people in the Arctic community. I began my research into Arctic law and governance on my first day. I started out in the AWIs old office (pictured above) and a week later we transitioned to the German Arctic Office’s new home, also on the grounds of the Albert Einstein Science Park campus. I was super stoked that my new desk was a very modern, sleek standing desk (pictured below). 😁 The equipment is stellar.
Nostalgia: Three years ago I said to my MIIS professional career adviser, that I would like to work at the AWI. She and a few others had never heard of the AWI, nor has there been any MIIS student before me to intern or complete a CBE fellowship with the organization. A few conversations with some of my mentors (Dr. Kelly and Lawrence Hislop) and a Skype call later with Dr. Rachold and I’m headed to the place I vowed I would work at someday. I’m such a lucky gal! And am really happy to be working in such a small, intimate office with my colleagues. I practice my German language skills, share the fan with Lisa on very hot days 🥵 and have lunch with Lisa, Dr. Rachold and the Director of APECS almost everyday.
As part of my CBE fellowship with the AWI, I will produce a fact sheet in German and English whose working title is Governance in der Arktis (Governance in the Arctic). The fact sheet will discuss the international laws and agreements and Indigenous rights, ownership (or lack thereof) and perspective of governance in the Arctic region. Additional highlights of my work include interviewing Arctic researchers at the Institute for Advanced Sustainable Studies (IASS), also in Potsdam, experts from the Arctic Centre in Lapland, Finland, the Woodrow Wilson Polar Initiative Center in Washington, D.C. and Indigenous representatives from the Indigenous Peoples Secretariat (IPS) in Tromsø, Norway.
As warming accelerates and the sea ice in the Arctic continues to melt, the geopolitics of the region are shifting – prompting the question Who Owns the Arctic? This in large part is what the fact sheet will be about. Spoiler Alert: There are many moving parts (political, social and economic), regional and international actors, stakeholders and governing bodies that contribute to Arctic governance. Short political answer: Arctic ownership consists of a culturally, diverse mix of Indigenous communities (Aleut, Athabaskan, Gwich’in, Inuit, Saami and Russian Indigenous Peoples of the North) and eight Arctic Nation States (Canada, Denmark w/respect to Greenland and the Faroe Islands, Iceland, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Russia and the USA). Stick around for future blog posts and you might want to be 66°32’21”N too. 😉
Lastly, I want to express my tremendous thanks to the donors that sponsored my CBE Fellowship. If it weren’t for your generous contribution I would not have this opportunity. I am forever grateful and humble! To: Dr. Volker Rachold, thank you for allowing me to work and learn under your direction. Prof. Jason Scorse, Chair of IEP and Director of the CBE, thank you for always accommodating my many plans and willingness to be flexible with me. You know I am always pushing the envelope. Dr. Brendan P. Kelly, my graduate supervisor, mentor, colleague and friend who always encourages me to follow my passion. Don’t worry you can still carry my bags. Dr. Lyuba Zarksy, MIIS IEP Prof., mentor and friend for guiding my professional and personal thoughts. Your moxie is grand! Prof. Monica Galligan, mentor and friend, for being there even when I didn’t think I needed you. Edy Rhodes, CACS Adviser, friend and colleague, for always helping and accommodating me, even when I don’t have an appointment. Rachel Christopherson, CBE Program Manager, for always smiling when I walk in the CBE and supporting me from every sideline possible. To my sister and best friend, Lisa Aiken who maintains that I live my best life and to follow my dreams. To my immediate family for contributing to my professional career and dream to become an Arctic policy expert. My MIIS IEP colleagues for all your love and support! I would not be half the person I am today if it weren’t for the people named here and countless others. I am forever in your debt!
If you have any questions, comments, or would like to connect and discuss Arctic affairs or otherwise, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
MAIEP, OCRM Candidate Class of 2020 CBE Fellow Arctic Policy 2019 @ The Alfred Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung Deutsches Arktisbüro