Center for American Progress Event: Art, Science, Sustenance, and Soul
I’ve been finding a lot faults with DC lately, and a friend just remarked that my 3.5 years is about the average expiration date for district transplants. So an event I attended yesterday was a great reminder of why I live in DC. Where else would I get to interact with these people?
The event was called “Life in Our Oceans: Art, Science, Sustenance, and Soul” and was at the Center for America Progress. It featured several of the best ocean communicators around today: Chef Barton Seaver, Nancy Knowlton, Juliet Eilperin, and Brian Skerry. The always sharp Michael Conathan of CAP was moderating. Beyond those featured, I also met some very smart people working on marine issues at the World Bank, the director of the DC Environmental Film Festival, and David Guggenheim of Ocean Doctor.
The event was also refreshing because it largely focused on the task of how we communicate the conservation message to the public. Being in DC, the usual event is about policy and government affairs…and more policy. I’d say Barton Seaver did a great job of keeping the the panel on society and culture, “where the fish hits the plate” so to speak. He argued that the real change in ocean conservation will occur when the broader public starts hearing the conservation message from their chefs, doctors, and other people they trust, and we’ll need to re-humanize fisheries for that to happen. I agree.
Brian Skerry spoke about his new photo book to come out in a few months. I’m really looking forward to it as he has been responsible for some of today’s most iconic ocean images.
Mike Conathan pointed out that NOAA’s budget of $4b pales in comparison to NASA’s budget of $18b, yet as much as 60% of US GNP depends on the coastal economy.
Barton Seaver’s great comments:
- Barramundi should be renamed ‘Awesome Fish’
- Delicious [food] is like Esperanto, everyone understands it
- The future of the oceans depends not the knowledge that we gain, but rather on the how we relate to the knowledge we already have
I asked Brian Skerry how he got this amazing photo of bottom trawling. Apparently, the fisherman in Mexico really didn’t think the photo would change anything down there, and was a bit concerned with overfishing himself. Skerry didn’t seem to get that I was wondering about the danger element, so I asked him more directly. He followed up, “Well, the visibility was good.”