Flying Fish

For the Love of Marine Life
by Nicole Carlozo -- November 30th, 2011

Acknowledging life outside of the “Duke bubble” is usually very challenging. Nevertheless, the bubble can be broken!

This week, as I nosed around my facebook page, I came across a link to a National Geographic article on marine reserves. It wasn’t the beautiful underwater image that caught my eye, but the words “World’s Largest Marine Reserve.” Despite immersing myself in marine topics on a daily basis, I was ignorant of this latest endeavor by the Australian government.

And just like that – POP! The bubble was broken. It only took one click to draw myself out of school and into the real world.

Video clip credit: Disney/Pixar,2003

Ironically, I chose the MEM program at Duke because I felt it held opportunities for the development of relevant and applicable management skills. Despite the real world applications of my GIS, economic, and programming classes, I’m often left unaware of the happenings on our blue planet.

Last week, I could tell you all about the intense battle between my student computer drive, my GIS project, and myself (sadly, the technology won). I had no clue, however, that Australia was on the verge of developing a marine reserve almost the size of France and Germany combined. The reserve is meant to protect tropical ecosystems, including a variety of coral, sponge, algae, sea star, fish, and seabird species, as well as the ancient nautilus.

While the scale of the reserve is amazing, the few articles I found on the subject left something wanting. I wondered how the scale was chosen and what types of economic and social factors contributed to the final reserve proposal. Some organizations, such as Protect Our Coral Sea, don’t feel the proposed reserve is enough (See Nature).

Question after question popped into my head, but I was forced to turn aside and return to my schoolwork. Sadly, wanting to break out of the bubble isn’t always as easy as clicking on a National Geographic link.

I know I’m not the only student that gets caught up in projects, lectures, papers, and assignments. And at times, an intense focus on school is needed and beneficial. On the other hand, engaging with a larger community outside of Duke is vital as we grow into environmental managers. Whether that community is local, national, or international, communication is important – and listening is 50% of communicating! Some students excel in this department (See student blogs from COP17), while others (myself included) need to put the books down every once in a while.

I’d like to pledge to come out of my bubble more often, but it may have to wait until after finals period.

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