Flying Fish

The Up Side
by Nicole Carlozo -- February 2nd, 2011

After a few weeks concentrating on the realities of climate change and (lack of) climate policy, I stumbled across the up side.

I realize I’ve already shared my Sylvia Earle experience from the NCSE conference in January, but there was a great deal more to the meeting.

Truthfully, the conference discussions left me feeling slightly depressed about our current situation. Climate change, arctic ice melt, ocean acidification, and coral bleaching…the list goes on and on. Often the panels included some form of policy discussion, but a discussion about policy is usually only that – talk.

On more than one occasion I listened to panelists talk about the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the need for US ratification. The room burst into applause every time UNCLOS was mentioned, but US absence from UNCLOS has been a reality since its creation in 1982. Can a group of scientists and policy makers sitting in a conference hall of the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center really make a difference?

Sylvia Earle would say YES, but me? I wasn’t so sure.

Thoughts of this nature swam through my head as I entered the third and final day of the conference. My father, had he been there, would not have been pleased. Having spent my childhood and the better portion of my adult life attempting to drive negativity from my mind, he is adamant about positive thinking. And so his voice is constantly in my head. Let’s just say that, as with all parents, I sometimes block him out – even if I shouldn’t.

Then, I attended a talk titled “Beyond the Obituaries: Marine Ecosystem Success Stories.” Dr. Stephen Palumbi of Hopkins Marine Station spoke about the revival of the Monterey Bay, quoting from his book The Death and Life of Monterey Bay. Dr. Romuald Lipcius then touched on the Chesapeake Bay’s blue crab population, which has increased dramatically since the close of the winter dredge fishery in 2008, among other policies.

As a Marylander who spent 6 months working with scientists at SERC to estimate adult blue crab populations and test the survival of hatchery-reared juveniles, Dr. Lipcius’ talk energized me. Two years of policy crackdowns produced tangible results. Water quality issues aside, the Bay is improving.

Both presenters told tales of pollution, overuse, politics, action, and revival. Their message was simple enough: not all is lost if we act now. And so once again I shoved my negativity aside and instead focused on “the up side.”

 

Conference Photos:

Conference meanderings

Conference meanderings

Conference meanderings
Walking to the NCSE Conference

Walking to the NCSE Conference

Blue Crab Tagging in 2008:

Blue crab tagging catch-and-release program at SERC

Blue crab tagging catch-and-release program at SERC

Blue crab tagging catch-and-release program at SERC

Blue crab tagging catch-and-release program at SERC

Blue crab tagging catch-and-release program at SERC

©2016 Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University | Box 90328 | Durham, NC 27708
how to contact us > | login to the site > | site disclaimers >

footer nav stuff