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Center for American Progress Event: Art, Science, Sustenance, and Soul

August 11, 2011

Counterclockwise: Barton Seaver, Brian Skerry, Michael Conathan, Juliet Eilperin, Nancy Knowlton

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.

Other highlights:

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.”

4 Comments leave one →
  1. August 11, 2011 1:08 pm

    I was planning to go but a deadline got in the way. Thank you for sharing! 🙂 Can you expand on what you mean when you talk about re-humanizing fisheries?

    • August 11, 2011 2:11 pm

      Barton said it far more eloquently, stating that he think ‘fishermen’ should also appear on the Red List of species. Fishermen themselves are endangered and they don’t get much support. I think there’s been a sort of bio-economic fundamentalism leading a lot of fisheries reforms and fishermen tend not to get much support as their quotas are cut and fisheries are privatized. Maybe the best way to go in economic theory, but not a realistically successful approach.

  2. February 4, 2014 7:29 am

    ych ruskich
    czujnikach, Celoiwa biologiczne oczyszczanie powietrza.

    które niie robią, gdy należy. Zaduma filtrowanie powietrza
    (http://www.wildcatnyc.Org) niezwykle
    poniewczasie. Posiadali jeszcze chwilę gwoli siebie. Przedtem obywatele w plamistych, szarych
    połówkach Specnazu wpadli do pokoje, zdążyła zakomunikować dwójka słowa:

    – Wybacz, Marek.
    Komandosi chwycili niziołka, rzucili na zaporę.Mieli go rozkrzyżowanego, tak bardzo
    że nie dotykał nogami podłogi. Dwoje stanę.


  1. Chefs and Ocean Conservation « Breaching the Blue

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