Fishery Solution Center at the Environmental Defense Fund

This is me and my office buddy, Olive! She looks very pleased that I made her pose for a photo.

Hello everyone! This summer I’m working with the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) as their Climate Resilient Fisheries Tools Intern. EDF is doing amazing work to help strength small-scale fisheries against climate change.

This summer I’m on the Capacity Development team within the Fishery Solution Center. My main project this summer is to help develop the new Fishery Solution Center website. I’ve been conducting interviews with regional team leaders and local stakeholders within these regions to learn how the fishery tools are being utilized in the field. After I am done conducting these interviews, I’ll be developing stories for the launch of the new website. These stories will highlight the regional team and stakeholders while explaining the science of these tools and how they work.

Another project I’ve been tackling this summer is writing a policy memo of the United Nations’ Straddling Fish Stock Agreement to analyze where climate resiliency language can be added. This memo will also include locating where within the Agreement text EDF’s climate resilient fisheries tools can be the most useful.

Taking the World’s Biggest Problem to the World’s Highest Court

Hey everyone! My, how time flies. Hope you’ve all been enjoying your summers, I’ve really been enjoying mine! For my summer internship, I’ve been working with the team at Vanuatu’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations on the campaign to bring the issue of transboundary harm and climate change to the world’s highest court, the International Court of Justice.

Location of Vanuatu. Photo Credit to the Encyclopedia Britannica.

As one of the Pacific Small Island Developing States (PSIDS), Vanuatu faces the disproportionate burden of climate change and the very harrowing reality that sea level rise is threatening the ancestral way of life. Already, Pacific Islanders face unprecedented storms and saltwater intrusion that has been destroying village infrastructure, agricultural production and threatens food security. And while Pacific Islanders bear this burden, they are not responsible for the share of emissions that has caused the issue. For years, nations most vulnerable to climate change have petitioned the developed world to address climate justice through negotiations within the global climate regime. Thus far, these negotiations have only produced empty promises. Now, climate vulnerable nations from around the world are seeking clarification on what the legal obligation of states are in regard to the climate crisis. Vanuatu has been leading this initiative with a proposal for the United Nations General Assembly to petition the International Court of Justice for and Advisory Opinion on this issue.

My work over the last few weeks has been busy, keeping up with a number of different related conferences, events and bilateral meetings that our team has been both hosting and attending in tandem with the UN Ocean Conference in Lisbon last month. I’ve been managing our social media accounts with my colleagues (follow us on Twitter! @VanuatuUN) as Ambassador Odo Tevi and the rest of the team were on the ground attending the Climate Change and International Law conference at the Peace Palace in the Hague, hosted by Blue Ocean Law and Leiden University, as well as our side event at the UN Ocean Conference. My blog on the Peace Palace conference is set to be published this week, and I look forward to sharing it with you all!

The movement has been gaining traction and has been trending in the news cycle thanks the support of the Pacific Island Forum, which concluded last week. I’m looking forward to continuing my work supporting the communications team and will be also assisting in planning our next conference in New York, so stay tuned for more updates as this exciting campaign unfolds! In the meantime, enjoy this picture of my colleague Samia Shell and I during our interview with Kabweea Itintaake, a fellow with AOSIS, on her perspective on the climate crisis as a native youth of Kiribati. Kabweea will be featured on our new instagram campaign, which I will be creating and launching this week, highlighting the experiences of youth in the Pacific and how climate has impacted their lives and their communities.

My colleague Samia Shell, top right, and I in our interview with Kabweea Itintaake, pictured top left. We were all smiles after an empowering conversation. Kabweea will be the first feature on our campaign instagram account!

I also want to thank those of you that support us as fellows at the Center for Blue Economy. I feel incredibly grateful to be working where I am now, and this opportunity to work in such a critical and challenging legal space would not be possible without our funders. Thank you to all who have supported this program.

Surf Break Protection

Hi all! This summer I am remotely interning as the administrative assistant to the director for the Save the Waves Coalition (STW). STW is an international non-profit based out of Santa Cruz, that works in coalition with a broad range of organizations dedicated to protecting and preserving surf ecosystems. A surf ecosystem is more than just the wave, it also includes geophysical components, the plants and animals, and the human interactions that make the place special. Protection of surf ecosystems in turn safeguards marine habitats, the integrity of the wave and local livelihoods. STW focuses its efforts on locations where iconic surfing waves overlap with biodiversity hotspots that are of critical importance for marine conservation efforts. As a surfer myself, I am very excited to be working with STW to help protect surfing.

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Connecting Youth to the Ocean

Hi all! I am now about 5 weeks into my CBE Fellowship with the Wahine Project, and so far it has been an incredible experience. Here at the Wahine Project, we are working to break down the barriers that prevent a diversity of youth from building a personal relationship with the ocean and from participating in ocean sports. ‘Wahine’ means girl or young woman in Hawaiian. The organization started in 2010 by founder Dionne Ybarra, who was motivated to bring more girls and marginalized communities into surfing, which is a very white-male-dominated sport. The camp started with all girls, but has since expanded to include all genders. At the Wahine Project, we believe the ocean should be accessible to everyone. The organization is living out their vision year after year, and I have been so lucky to be a part of it and see it firsthand. There are many barriers which prevent access to the beach and surfing, and we partner with many local organizations to provide transportation and lessons for kids all around Monterey Bay.

My office! Casa Verde Beach, Monterey CA
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A Summer of Seaweed and Blue Carbon

Hello all! I hope everyone is enjoying their summer. For my CBE Fellowship, I am working with the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), a large environmental non-profit headquartered in New York. I am working with their San Francisco office, and have been lucky enough to go to the office in-person a few times. The internship is hybrid, so I can also work from home when my tolerance for socializing is too low (the office has a running joke that we all need a re-socializing 101 course thanks to Covid). My official title is a Blue Carbon Research Intern, as I am focusing on blue carbon policy, specifically on the potential of including seaweeds and macroalgaes as blue carbon ecosystems. I am working with EDF’s Oceans team, under the supervision of Rod Fujita, Director of Research & Development of the Oceans Program.

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Kacy Cooper: Managing the growth of a Monterey kelp restoration effort

Hello everyone! This summer I’ll be continuing to work with the Giant Giant Kelp Restoration Project (G2KR), which was recently incorporated within the California Kelp Restoration Corps. We are a volunteer run, kelp restoration non-profit that aims to engage with Monterey’s passionate dive community and conduct active restoration. Over the past year, our organization has grown exponentially and our work is getting more complex. We now coordinate the efforts of over 100 certified Kelp Forest Restoration Speciality divers and engage with over 600 interested folks. We have our sights set on (hopefully) expanding our project to include more restoration sites around the Monterey Peninsula.

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Mallory Hoffbeck: Summer Project with the Study of Environmental Arctic Change

Hello everybody! This summer I am working as a research assistant with the directors of the Study of Environmental Arctic Change (SEARCH). SEARCH is a research project in which teams of people with diverse areas of expertise work together to produce knowledge about environmental change in the Arctic and what it means for people. In this process called “co-production,” SEARCH contributors combine Indigenous traditional ecological knowledge, scientific knowledge, and knowledge of economic and political decision-making to produce publicly available information. These reports, articles, podcast episodes, and other products are made for local communities and the concerned public as a source of information on environmental Arctic change, and for policy makers to better inform decisions about the Arctic. It is an exciting and hugely beneficial project—I feel very fortunate to be a part of it and to learn from each of these incredibly knowledgeable and thoughtful contributors.

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Summer with NOAA – Marine Protected Areas Center

Marine Protected Areas Center, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
Remote in Monterey, California (Office is located in Silver Spring, Maryland)
June 6 – August 19, 2022

For this summer, I have the immense pleasure of interning with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Marine Protected Areas Center. The MPA Center is located within NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries and serves as a resource to all federal, state, territorial and tribal programs responsible for the health of the nation’s oceans.

For my internship, I am specifically focusing on the role of marine Carbon Dioxide Removal (mCDR) technologies in National Marine Sanctuaries (NMS). What is mCDR, you may ask? I had the same question when I started this internship but now I feel very well versed in the topic! Marine CDR technologies are a variety of approaches that can be deployed in the ocean to enhance the ocean’s natural ability to absorb carbon (e.g., photosynthesis by phytoplankton) and ultimately help curb climate change. These technologies include anything from restoring coastal wetlands to artificially adding nutrients to cultivating seaweed to artificially inducing upwelling and downwelling. While this is a promising prospect for mitigating climate change, their experimentation or deployment in National Marine Sanctuaries may not align with the Sanctuary’s mission and objective to protect its species and environment. Therefore, I have been working on creating a document that provides background knowledge and recommendations on mCDR in NMS for Sanctuary managers and staff, helping them make key decisions regarding the safeguarding of National Marine Sanctuaries in a changing climate.

The research I have conducted is facilitated by conversations with various NOAA staff, throughout the country, as well as CDR experts in the field. Interviewees have consisted of scientists, permitters, lawyers, legal consultants and more. It is incredible getting an interdisciplinary perspective on this very nascent topic.

In addition to my particular research, I have been very fortunate to sit in on departmental meetings and attend internal NOAA webinars that provide me with insight on the inner workings of the organization. At the start of the internship, I attended the Capitol Hill Ocean Week that was put on the Marine Sanctuary Foundation and facilitated by the NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries. Various ocean topics were discussed by numerous experts in the field. It was wonderful to see the knowledge being shared as well as the optimism on facing climate change.

This is my work space at my home in Pacific Grove. I am extremely lucky to have a little view of the ocean and remind me of my inspiration everyday. Most of the workday, my dog sits next to me because she also loves learning about the ocean 🙂

The future of my internship will include finalizing the internal mCDR document, sharing the findings and recommendations with NOAA’s CDR working group, Blue Carbon team, and others as well as attending a CDR workshop and learning about the topic further. Although I am remote, I am excited to be able to have in-person meetings with NOAA staff who are located in Monterey and work for the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. I hope to get out into the field, explore the behind the scenes of the local sanctuaries and discuss with managers on how marine CDR might fit into the future of their National Marine Sanctuary.

It’s Plastic Free July!

Hi lovely readers! Over the past few weeks, I’ve begun my CBE Fellows internship with Plastic Tides, a non-profit organization focused on educating the global community about the plastic pollution crisis, and empowering youth leaders to take action in their communities. This summer, I am designing a project to support the Plastic Tides Global Youth Mentor Program by connecting our Youth Leaders with environmental professionals and specialists through short videos. Every project needs a good proposal, so I’ve been working on clarifying the project concept into an actionable proposal, flushing out various details and determining the best methods for the videos to reach our target audiences. In addition, I am working with the Plastic Tides social media team to create posts and videos for Instagram and TikTok. Feel free to check us out on all of our pages below!

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