What did you accomplish with your host organization? What was the impact of
During the time with the
California Coastal Commission, I knew my time there was limited. It was not
enough to sufficiently digest aspects of a coastal program analyst to become an
effective part of the operation. However, I quickly picked up that staff
resources were mostly focused on handling permit items that have statutory
deadlines. Hence I constantly asked myself this question: What can I contribute
to this office at the operational level that other staff could not do because
they have lacked resources (mostly time)? I was able to answer the question in
two parts: 1. Develop a staff guideline for incorporating environmental justice
in permit processes as mandated by the recently adopted Commission’s Environmental
Justice Policy, and 2. Tackle the often disputed and confusing languages of
local coastal programs (LCPs) to create a solid understanding of the Commission’s
certified LCPs for the municipalities of San Pedro, Hermosa Beach, and Long Beach.
I would like to appraise my efforts as a step forward in streamlining the
everyday operation because these works will save the planners time and efforts
to duplicate my work on their own.
This summer, I decided not to apply for an internship in the U.S., I went to my home country: Taiwan.
This country is located between the East China Sea and the South China Sea. However, many seafood products were from IUU vessels or from nearshore bottom trawler boats. Therefore, the first work is checking where the seafood products are from?
The second work is helping the Michelin restaurants not over-use the seafood products and trigger the environment goes to a worse situation. Recently, Michelin restaurants become an important mark for international tourists. According to the Guide of Michelin in 2019, there are 124 restaurants are in the “Le Guide Michelin” and 24 restaurants have Michelin Star. To stimulate consumers to come again, my company has to find out unique fish, including barnacle, giant isopod (Bathynomus), and Pacific mole crab (Hippaovalis). To provide “unique” seafood for these restaurants, the company has found a lot of different seafood. However, the company forgot how high impact on the catering when these Michelin restaurants have used a new product in their cuisine. Therefore, my second work is educating these chefs’ why we should not use this seafood or shorten the providing period even though the supplying season has not finished.
After reporting how negative impact on the environment of the fish resources to client restaurants, the company had a huge conflict: conceal the information or reveal the information? It is not surprising that all investors were gone, and the company closed. It is a sad story about a company’s bankrupt because of protecting fish resources. What did I learn from the summer internship? First, even though the Taiwanese Government supports the Sustainable Development Goals in many developing countries, in contrast, in Taiwan, the biggest stakeholder in the industry may not be ready to change their attitude and concentrate on the issue of fish resources collapse in Asia. How to lead the industry to go to a better situation? Probably you will ask some questions: how about using policies and regulation from the government? The South China Sea and the East China Sea have many countries share the marine resources. The marine resources sharing becomes an important issue and not many governments want to secrecy their own fishery industry. Interestingly, the fishery industry already knows how to circumvent the policy and earns the maximum benefit by under-table cooperation.
Second, by education from NGOs? Well, how many consumers cannot know where fish are from? How many fish traders conceal the information just for higher income? The overlapping and closing fishing areas in the north of Taiwan and the large and far area in the south of Taiwan lead the small-scale fishery to have a huge challenge in regulation and management. Shall Taiwan department of fishery ask for help? Or, can Taiwan re-draw its ocean zoning to elevate its efficiency? Recently, the Department of fishery supports aquaculture. While checking these projects of aquaculture, it seems does not have too many high technologies which can improve the pollution from the traditional fish farm. Can the farmed fish be accepted by these restaurants’ chefs’ or consumers?
In August, my guide and I have had a very long conversation. Two years ago, he educated chefs’ use “Ike Jime” (a method of slaughtering fish to maintain the quality of its meat) to let a fish die in less painful (animal right). This year, we used the impact in Facebook to reveal how worse of the fish resources in this summer, then, we announce that we won’t provide IUU fish to the Michelin restaurants until the day when the fish resources recovered. Maybe in this cruel way, the catering industry will self-reflect how to cook their seafood cautiously.
My guider told me: this time, we’ve given these chefs a lesson. However, we have another challenge: the traditional markets in Asia where is the biggest stakeholder but cannot be impacted by Business to Business.
p.s. I am wondering to say THANK YOU for my friends: Brian (Seafood Watch office), Tim (Fish Choice), Pam and Jim (Monterey Bay Aquarium), Fisheries Trust, Ocean2Table, Louie (Seafood Legacy in Japan), China Blue, Mr. Chang-An Cheng (Consultant in the Taipei City Government). Your suggestion will lead me to how to stimulate an industry or a local government to use the marine resources in high efficiency.
Accomplishments and Impact of my Fellowship with
Although my Fellowship and time in
San Diego was coming to a close at the end of August, the experiences and
opportunities continued at full speed. During my last few weeks I was able to
complete a number of deliverables that helped tie together my new skills and
experience in coastal adaptation. I was also encouraged and supported to get
involved in a few things out of the office that turned out to be fantastic
networking and professional development opportunities.
Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve (TRNERR), I became involved
in researching and developing a number of reports to help the resiliency team
and the Coastal Training Program. The first was a climate scenario report for
the Batiquitos Lagoon Adaptation and Resiliency Plan. This project in being put
on by TRNERR, in conjunction with a number of local government agencies, to
determine adaptation management options for the Lagoon, located in Carlsbad,
CA. During the past two years stakeholders have come together to discuss the
importance of the lagoon, its wildlife and habitat, and how they might be
threatened by climate scenarios. Two scenarios are being considered: moderate
and extreme. This report discussed the scenarios, based on temperate changes
and sea level rise, and how they would impact the natural aspects of the
Lagoon. The report includes species and habitat level impacts and will help to
inform the final adaptation and resiliency options for the Lagoon’s natural
resource management. The report is currently being reviewed by stakeholders.
deliverable I helped to create was a Market Analysis of Diversity, Equity, and
Inclusion (DEI) in the environmental space in San Diego. This report is
TRNERR’s kick-off point as they explore opportunities for growth in the local
DEI space. For this project I researched local DEI trainers and facilitators,
as well as leadership institutions working statewide and nationally to increase
diversity. I also explored what facilitators, research groups, and consultants
might be able to offer in terms of capacity and resources. This report was
strictly for internal use, but it helped me understand how intertwined
inclusion and environmental work is, especially in a border region.
Environmental issues do not impact all people equally, and we must confront
this in order to avoid injustices. If we truly want environmental work and
policy to be effective, we must change our practices and adopt an equity lens.
Natural resources and climate change do not follow national boundaries or
socioeconomic constructs. Planning a healthy and sustainable future will
require equitable planning and stakeholder inclusion.
written TRNERR project I participated in was the creation of a Resiliency and
Binational Strategies Appendix to the Comprehensive Management Plan and its new
Strategic Plan. This plan, re-structured for the next 5 years, is the guiding
document for all operations within the Reserve. This report was a great
culmination of the topics I wanted to learn about during my time with TRNERR:
how to use plan for sea level rise at the ecosystem level, and how
international environmental management can be used to bridge socioeconomic and
environmental issues. The document spanned all departments within the Reserve,
from Administration to Coastal Training Program and Research. It is intended to
be used as an extra resource to show people what efforts are being made to
expand binational participation and plan for the impacts of climate change. It
is therefore intrinsically intertwined to the Batiquitos Lagoon climate
scenario planning and the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion report.
My time at
the Center for Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation also was coming to a close
with the completion of a few deliverables. As this internship focused more on
science communications and project management, it only made sense that the
resulting projects were public facing. The first was a newsletter to inform the
public (including funders and legislators) about the sea level rise and coastal
research being done by CCCIA affiliated researchers at Scripps Institution of
Oceanography. Requiring input from staff scientists and graduate students, the
newsletter came together with quotes and photographs.
To complement this, we developed a
project website for research in the San Diego Bay. The project will monitor and
collect data on waves and tidal patterns within the Bay, turning them into a
predictive model that informs adaptation planning for local agencies. We created the design and language for the
website, so that relevant agencies can understand the inputs and outcomes of
the research, as well as see what other public agencies are doing to plan for
sea level rise.
Professional and Personal Benefits from my Fellowship
The experiences, skills, and final
project accomplishments I completed during my summer have given me a greater
understanding of the work of California adaptation policy, as well as an
understanding of the adaptation network. Meeting people and hearing their
advice and input on career moves was incredibly valuable.
My supervisor at CCCIA encouraged
me to get the most out of my time in San Diego by meeting with local decision
makers and professionals in the local coastal policy network. I was beginning
to realize how small the local network is, seeing the same names on several
reports and email chains, and meeting people twice and thrice in meetings and
conferences. I was happy to be connected with these people to learn what they
did in their job, their career goals and pathways, and collect any advice they
were willing to impart on me. Talking with these people was one of the greatest
takeaways of my summer Fellowship experience.
Self-discovery and Self-realization as a result of my
Now that my summer CBE Fellowship
has closed, I have concluded a few things. The first was that my decision to
gain experience in a place where I may want to work professionally (instead of
using my summer to travel to a ‘far off island’ and work on something ‘cool’,
but not really reflective of my future career path) was a prudent decision. It
helped me make connections and build a network.
Next, I have learned to ask for
what you want out of an internship, and to take advantage of any opportunity. Instead
of sitting in one office all summer, I wanted to gain the experience of two
places. So I asked if this could be accommodated, and the answer was yes. I
also requested to meet as many people as possible. Again, I was lucky enough to
be supported in achieving this request. In summary, I’m thankful for having the
opportunity to do this fellowship. It turned out to be a pivotal summer in my
career development and I think it will continue to benefit me for as long as I
make a career in California.