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.
Last night I returned from a whirlwind adventure…I mean a week of field work…with Rare Indonesia in Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia. Over the course of the past 8 days, I traveled on 4 planes, 5 boats, visited 2 cities, and 3 villages, met countless insightful and passionate local villagers and learned invaluable information about the Dampier Strait MPA system. Continue reading
Thirty-five conservation professionals from across the Coral Triangle states (Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Solomon Islands, and Timore Leste) and a representative from Madagascar attended the Innovation Lab workshop in Bali.
Life has been busy since my last blog post. In the past month or so, my dad visited Fiji just in time for us to celebrate his birthday, the IUCN Oceania Regional Office (IUCN ORO) helped host two talanoas (Fijian for “conversation” or “discussion”) with Pacific Island leaders and stakeholders, and I set sail from Nadi through the Mamanuca and Yasawa island chains to discover the islands on the “sunny” and “warm” west side of Viti Levu, Fiji’s main island. On Thursday I returned to California, briefly crashed with one of my best friends in San Francisco, then picked up my car from my dad (who was kind enough to drive it back to San Francisco) so that I could drive down to Monterey in time to start classes on Monday. Continue reading
It’s hard to believe I have less than a month left before the end of my fellowship. This past month has flown by. I had a two week hiatus from my work with NOAA to participate in the Blue Pioneers Program, a pilot program funded by the Packard Foundation which seeks to build a pipeline of social entrepreneurs in the Chinese Blue Economy. The two week program consisted of lectures, workshops, group excursions and a business pitch which culminated with a sleepover at the Monterey Bay Aquarium! It was an amazing opportunity to work with students from China and Blue Economy Professionals from all over the world. We covered topics ranging from supply chain transparency, to aquaculture feed, to funding and scaling startup ventures. Since my fellowship has been focused solely on the government sector, it was nice to look at things from an NGO and business perspective.
While not in the program, I’ve continued to work on my project of analyzing the level of benthic habitat regulations within federal MPAs. It’s been pretty tedious tracking down all of the regulations that exist in so many different places. At most sites, I’m looking at executive orders, management plans, the code of federal regulations and myriad other sources from multiple federal agencies. It feels good to know that my completed work will serve as a solid foundation for others to build upon.
When I’m not digging through management plans, I get to spend time around heritage harbor enjoying the weather we’ve had this summer. A few weeks ago, the entire office got together for a bocce ball tournament. Not a bad way to spend the afternoon.
I’m approaching the end of my fellowship and for the next few weeks I’ll be hard at work taking all of my research and translating into a more visual format. This experience has been very rewarding so far and I look forward to taking my new knowledge and expertise with me when I am finished.
The fiery archipelago of Hawaii is one of the most fascinating places I have visited. The islands’ stunning landscapes contain high levels of endemism. Walking around the sprawling metropolis of Honolulu, bright, fragrant flowers attract colorful birds with rounded narrow beaks. Diversity in nature intersects diversity in culture as Polynesian traditions blend with Filipino and Japanese influence.
What a summer! So much has happened since my last post– My ‘deep dive’ presentation to the Fishery Solutions Team went really well. I had a very productive brainstorming session and was able to generate several behavioral intervention ideas for each of the challenges I discuss in my paper. We had a really great intern send-off party at the office on our last day as well. I learned so much at this internship and will really miss working with everyone at EDF!
Goodbye desk! 🙁
The day finally came when I had to say goodbye to all the good people at the Conservancy. I learned so much while there. It was a bit of a bittersweet moment because I’d like to think that I’d get a chance to work with everyone again in the future but you never know what life has in store for you. That’s worth a second of contemplation: I never know what life has in store for me. What I did know was that I would soon be headed down the One back to Monterey to finish up my studies. I really missed the serenity of the coast and just in case I had forgotten the wonders the ocean has to offer, there was a humpback blowing in the water close to the shore of Bean Hollow State Park if anyone cared to notice. I did notice as I stared off into the setting sun. I couldn’t help but notice; I had never seen a whale so close to the shore! And up until a year and a half ago, I had never seen a whale in California waters. What had I been doing all this time? Continue reading
This eye-opening learning experience at the Coastal Conservancy is only a couple days away from ending. I have acquired so much knowledge regarding coastal watersheds, partnering agencies and so much more. One of the perks of working at the Conservancy is the opportunity to go out in the field and monitor previous projects that project managers have worked on. By the way, that’s what the Conservancy does. They work on projects, so there is always something new and exciting in the works. Folks over here are also pretty busy which usually means good things are happening in California. As a result, I got a chance to visit some former projects to make sure things were still functioning properly. Continue reading
There is plenty of culture to be found in Paris, whether it be in the art galleries of the Louvre or Museé D’Orsay, the Opera Garnier, or even in one of the city’s hundreds of parks. But there is another place where you can find culture and so much more….UNESCO. It shouldn’t come as a surprise, afterall, UNESCO stands for United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. I was well-aware that plenty of people work everyday to protect and advance cultural heritage worldwide but was unaware that I would be so exposed to it every day. The building itself houses its own private art collection. From the Picasso mural that takes up the entire wall near the main meeting rooms, to the Calder mobiles that dot the lawn next to the Japanese Garden, the place is covered in art. There are statues everywhere, both inside and out. Continue reading
Made the nations Capitol my office earlier last month! I attended the congressional briefing about the poles (Arctic and Antarctic) led by Senator Whitehouse, Kathryn Sullivan, Senator Nelson, Dr. Brendan Kelly, and a few other inspirational individuals.
Senator Whitehouse gave an incredible speech about the importance of scientists to strike down the pseudo science that has attempted to brain wash society since the tobacco industry began using “science” for their benefit. “Science had an evil twin, parallel science–phony baloney science. We as a society need to call them out. As scientists, there is a force working against you, be aware of it. No matter your trophic level, oceans are changing before our eyes worldwide. Oceans bear true witness to climate change impacts.”
Until we are able to remove these “scientist” from power, we will not be able to battle climate change. We will not be able to help the indigenous communities that rely on the fish and land. the children suffering massive health impacts from climate change, or the climate refuges. What we will have is massive wars over resources and the underdeveloped and poor world will suffer the hardest. We have a responsibility to act now and fix the damage the developed world has done.
My summer at the State Coastal Conservancy started off with a whirlwind of events: meetings and workshops galore! The highlight from my first week had to have been the San Mateo County Vulnerability Assessment Kickoff which took place in Foster City and had Congresswoman Jackie Speier there as a speaker. If you’re not familiar with this inspirational woman, her story is pretty unique.(http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Congresswoman-remembers-day-of-horror-3261573.php).But in the moment, what really drew me was a question she had for the audience of stakeholders when referring to future generations, “Are their lives going to be better off than ours?” These are ideas I hope most people reflect on, but it may not always be the case.
I am glad to report I am having the craic in Ireland this summer as a Center for Blue Economy Fellow. Just to clear up any misconceptions, no, I am not a drug user. Rather, having the craic (pronounced ‘crack’) is a common Irish turn-of-phrase that means having a great time.
Just one example of how I unexpectedly stumbled into some language barriers here, despite living in a country that shares the same primary language! Perhaps I should have seen that coming… after all, Ireland has two official languages: 1. English 2. Well, what else but Irish? Its been fun to see all the dual-language street signs.