Ocean Currents » Hong Kong http://blog.oceanconservancy.org News, opinions, photos and facts from Ocean Conservancy Fri, 28 Apr 2017 22:26:28 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.4.2 Inspired and Connected for Trash Free Seas http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2016/11/22/inspired-and-connected-for-trash-free-seas/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2016/11/22/inspired-and-connected-for-trash-free-seas/#comments Tue, 22 Nov 2016 19:56:06 +0000 Sarah Kollar http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=13395

As we ease into the holiday season, I am grateful to have been part of an amazing event halfway around the world where I witnessed the positive energy and impact that can only arise when we work together. It was a powerful reminder of how our ocean brings us together.

As part of the Ocean Conservancy’s Trash Free Seas Program, I went to Hong Kong for our first-ever International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) Asia Pacific coordinators meeting. As you may know, the International Coastal Cleanup is the world’s largest volunteer effort on behalf of the ocean and collectively, partners from around the world have kept 100 million tons of trash out of our ocean in the past three decades.  The Asia Pacific region is where much of the world’s ocean trash originates, and Ocean Conservancy was eager to learn from our partners on the front lines.

At the regional meeting, there were 12 countries represented, and attendees from California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington, all bringing a wealth of talents, expertise and experience to the table. Their leadership and work in the marine debris field as well as their community organizing skills continues to make a huge difference to the health of our ocean. The meeting in Hong Kong was an opportunity to celebrate their accomplishments and identify new paths based on science, best practices and a shared commitment to stem the tide of trash in our seas.

Our meeting began with a cleanup at Lap Sap Wan led by our co-hosts and ICC partner, Hong Kong Cleanup. This beach, similar to many locations in Asia Pacific and around the world, was completely covered in debris. At times it was knee-deep.

We noted the types of items (polystyrene, plastic PET bottles and fishing gear, to name a few), inferred how they may have reached that location and tracked our findings on Ocean Conservancy’s new marine debris data collection app called Clean Swell (IOS /Android).

The cleanup spurred conversations around an issue that is overwhelming and complex but ultimately connects us all and compels us to seek solutions on a global level. With so much knowledge, talent and energy in one place the meeting was rich in discussion, not only in regards to cleanup practices but also in the realm of new research and innovative solutions.

We shared successes stories like a system that upcycles discarded fishing nets into carpet. We also heard about challenges like addressing misconceptions and finding ways for the public to understand that marine debris is not your or my problem, it is our problem.

Between brainstorms and panel discussions, we also found time to talk about SCUBA diving and surfing and experience Hong Kong. One of my favorite meals was dinner at Linguini Fini, a zero-waste restaurant on Hong Kong Island.

I came away recognizing the power and increased impact in working together. I am thankful for the partnerships—and friendships—that the ICC has helped to build across cultures, geographies and time zones as we all work towards trash free seas.

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Adventures in Social Media: Ocean Conservation in the Age of Twitter http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2012/09/12/adventures-in-social-media-ocean-conservation-in-the-age-of-twitter/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2012/09/12/adventures-in-social-media-ocean-conservation-in-the-age-of-twitter/#comments Wed, 12 Sep 2012 14:23:54 +0000 George Leonard http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=2896

Credit: wrongindustries flickr stream

I’m what tech companies refer to as a “late adopter”. I waited years to get an iPod and only recently replaced my 17-year old Sony Trinitron TV with a flat screen.  As an ocean conservation scientist, I prefer the look and feel of the print edition of Science to the digital version. Heck – I’m not even on Facebook – to my teenage daughter’s chagrin. But as social media has proliferated, I began to wonder what I was missing and whether there was a role for this new communication tool in my work here at Ocean Conservancy. When Sara Thomas from our Marketing and Communications Department offered to help me join the digital age, I leapt at the opportunity.

Its been two short weeks since I set up my Twitter account and I am now convinced that social media can help us advance ocean conservation. I have just returned from the 10th International Seafood Summit in Hong Kong, where I led a panel on ocean acidification and live tweeted throughout the conference.  Like Twitter itself, my social media journey has been fast-paced. In mid-August, I posted my first few bland tweets about ocean issues. “Great job” encouraged Sara, my Twitter mentor, “but don’t be afraid to put a little more personality into your posts.” As a scientist, that’s not something I’m used to doing. I was trained to provide all the details and stick to the facts, and so too often dwell on the wonky policy implications of our work. But I am learning that cutting to the heart of the matter and emphazing the human dimension makes for a more engaging discussion.

At the Seafood Summit last week, I decided I’d put these lessons to the test; with Sara’s encouragement, I live tweeted from the many sessions on sustainable fishing and fish farming at the Seafood Summit. Because I know many of the presenters and have a decade of experience on the topic, I could translate the details into a few key insights (in 140 characters or less!) and instantly distribute them out to the Twitter-verse in real time. Over the three days, my iPhone beeped incessantly as new followers came and went, issues were favorited, re-tweeted or commented upon, and a group of passionate communicators formed around the conference. You can still take part in this dialogue using the hashtag #ss12kh on Twitter.

Before I left for Hong Kong, Sara warned me that I might soon find myself addicted to Twitter and the rapid dissemination of information and conversation that ensues. As I signed off from the floor of the closing ceremony, I realized that, indeed, I had caught the Twitter bug. Not only would my daughter be proud, but I was gratified to have helped shape the conversation about the important work being done by Ocean Conservancy and our many colleagues.

You can follow me at @GeorgeHLeonard. I’ll be live tweeting again during the week of September 27 from Monterey, California when Ocean Conservancy will join leaders from around the globe to develop a plan to confront the threat of ocean acidification to a healthy and productive ocean future.

Come join me for another adventure in social media!

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Ocean Acidification Anxiety at 36,000 Feet http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2012/09/05/ocean-acidification-anxiety-at-36000-feet/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2012/09/05/ocean-acidification-anxiety-at-36000-feet/#comments Wed, 05 Sep 2012 15:01:12 +0000 George Leonard http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=2817

Credit: swamibu flickr stream

As the jumbo jet lifts off over the San Francisco Bay, I am nervous. I am on my way to the 12th Seafood Summit in Hong Kong but I usually don’t have concerns about flying. It is a very long flight – 14 hours and 6 minutes to be exact – with plenty of time for last-minute preparations for the panel I am leading on ocean acidification. I should be relaxed; I have attended this event yearly, and I’ll see many old friends and colleagues during three days of important discussions about the future of the ocean and the seafood it provides to us all. But I’m not. I’m anxious. As we reach 36,000 feet, I realize that the pit in my stomach isn’t the result of a new-found fear of flying but the result of what I’ve learned about how ocean acidification is impacting our ocean.

For the last several months, I have worked with three leading ocean experts to craft our panel. While I have spoken at many conferences over the last two decades, this recent process has been one of personal discovery. When I began my graduate studies in the early 1990s, climate change and global warming were not yet household names. Since that time, ocean acidification has emerged as an existential threat to the future of a living sea. Carbon emissions in the atmosphere are increasing the acidity of the ocean, with implications for much of the ocean’s food web.

Each of my panel members puts a personal face on this looming challenge and a powerful voice for what we need to do to confront it. Dr. Sarah Cooley is a research scientist at the world-renowned Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. A highly accomplished chemical oceanographer, Sarah has the unusual ability to explain the complexities of ocean acidification in ways that non-scientists can understand. Her recent findings show that the seafood industry is under direct assault from ocean acidification. This is especially so for the shellfish industry, whose oysters can’t form shells in a low pH ocean. Sarah is leading the charge to bring biologists and economists together to better predict the threat to our coastal economies.

Brad Warren, who runs the Global Ocean Health Program, has been a long-time leading voice on ocean acidification. He works closely with the seafood industry to monitor ocean acidification in real time so businesses can adapt their practices to changing ocean chemistry. A resident of Washington state, he is now working closely with government officials, scientists, First Nations and industry as part of the state’s Blue Ribbon Panel on ocean acidification. Brad is a vocal advocate for addressing pollution from land as one way to help ameliorate ocean acidification in coastal bays, thus buying some time while policies to directly address carbon emissions are pursued.

Neil Sims is the final panelist. He is in the business of farming fish, not solving climate change, but Neil is committed to rallying his fellow seafood industry leaders to face up to the challenge of ocean acidification and the threat it poses to their financial bottom line.  Among the Seafood Summit community, Neil is known for challenging assumptions and thinking big. His message this week will not disappoint.

Confronting the threat of ocean acidification is sure to cause anxiety in all of us, whether we are conservationists, seafood professionals or scientists. That’s a normal response.  But next we must harness that anxiety and work together to help ensure a viable future for our ocean.

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