Highlights from Honduras

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.

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Talanoas and Travel

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

A Break for Blue Pioneers

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.

On the final night of BPP, we spent the night in the aquarium while polishing up our business pitches.

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.

Since Monterey is the satellite office, conference calls with the East Coast are pretty regular.

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.

The office bocce ball tournament (I didn’t win unfortunately).

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.