1. What did you accomplish with your host organization? What was the impact of your work?
In the short term, I helped EDF choose the Philippines as the focus country of their seaweed aquaculture program. Myself and two other interns chose selection criteria to apply to candidate countries. Then were each assigned countries to research and had to report back on how they graded out according to our criteria. The criteria included biological factors, environmental justice factors, and real world restraints. The biological factors were mainly how well species of seaweed would grow in the coastal waters of certain countries. The environmental justice factors were more complex. The hope is that eventually countries can use seaweed as a verified carbon sink in their nationally determined contributions (NDCs). Countries with low historical and per capita GHG emissions were favored, to give them a way to continue to develop their economies while still meeting mitigation goals. In a sense, we were looking for countries with a high marginal mitigation cost, that could benefit greatly from using seaweed and other blue carbon ecosystems in their GHG inventories. Real world restraints consisted of factors such as EDF presence on-ground, history of partnership between EDF and the country, and a cultural history of seaweed consumption. The Philippines scored well according to our criteria because it already grows and harvests the 4th most seaweed globally (strong cultural ties to seaweed), has a long working relationship with EDF, and has very low per capita and historical GHG emissions. The Philippines want to continue to develop its economy and infrastructure but also wants to commit to climate mitigation goals. Hopefully seaweed can allow them to accomplish both, while also providing a climate resilient source of food and income to local residents.Continue reading