The New York Times today gives us information from every prominent scientific organization on climate that now is the time to pay attention to the signs of warming in our oceans. This article, primarily about the decline of the ice in the Arctic, talks about the significance of the ice melt as a catalyst for trapping the sun’s heat as the white of the ice is replaced with the dark ocean, in turn, melting more ice. Research scientist at The Snow and Ice Center, Walt Meier, says that “the Arctic is the earth’s air-conditioner” and that “it’s not just the polar bears might go extinct, or that the native communities might have to adapt, which we’re already seeing-there are larger climate effects.” Dr. James E. Hansen, a prominent NASA climate scientist, warns that “the scientific community realizes that we have a planetary emergency.” Time for all of us to take emergency action by reducing “human release of greenhouse gases” and take responsibility for the part we all play in this scenario.
On July 31st, W2O co sponsored an event at Harvard called Living Light that featured Sylvia Earle, Explorer in Residence at National Geographic, along with Professor of Natural Science and bioluminescence expert, J. Woody Hastings and featuring a dance performance by Kirstin McArdle Dance company.
Ms. Earle spoke eloquently about her mission to increase awareness about the plight of our ocean and told a wonderful story about reminding the folks at Google Earth to include the Oceans in their website. She described committing the faux pas of calling the site “Google Dirt” http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/02/090202-google-oceans-missions.html and as a result of her comments, she was enlisted to help with the creation of Google Ocean. Knowledge and passion speaks volumes when recruiting ocean stewards. Her passion and wisdom inspires us to continue to fight for healthy oceans.
Women Working for Oceans (Donna Hazard, chairwoman, pictured left with Legal’s tour guide, Marnie) organized a great tour of Legal Sea Foods in Boston followed by lunch with Legal’s President and CEO Roger Berkowitz, Executive Chef Rich Vellante (pictured below), Seafood Buyer Tom Matthews and Director of Marketing Ida Faber.
The tour at the Legal Sea Foods’ Quality Control Center included a look at the processing plant and the food safety laboratory, giving us a taste of how fish are processed and handled for retail sale at Legal Sea Foods’ 33 restaurants around the US as well as an online fish market and retail product line. Tour guides shared an overview of quality testing in the lab, cleaning, cutting, packaging and shipping. The plant is incredibly clean and streamlined to make sure that the fish doesn’t visit long before being delivered to the restaurants.
Yesterday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released a report (http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/mediacenter/2012/05/15statusofstocks.htm) saying that “a record six fish populations were declared rebuilt to healthy levels in 2011” including summer flounder and Gulf of Maine haddock. This is good news for the hard work of fishermen and conservationists but New England still has the highest number of species that are considered overfished.
There is still lots of work to be done and W2O encouraged Mr. Berkowitz to continue to search for the best information regarding fish stocks and sustainable aquaculture and to consider increasing his efforts to educate the public about the sustainability of the species on his menu.
Last week, we had the most incredible experience at Aka Bistro in believe-it-or-not Lincoln, MA! We had a chance to talk with the chef/owners, and we were so excited to hear they are completely committed to serving sustainable seafood! Plus, they are totally committed to serving locally grown produce. There was a very cool buzz in the room about eating to preserve our environment. I had mussels steamed in white wine. We also devoured sauteed rainbow trout amandine. YUM! Oh…right and we shared a delicous bottle of wine! For a suburban restaurant, Aka was cozy and funky– a great space to dine!
The Boston Globe hired the Biodiversity Institute of Ontario at the University of Guelph to test the DNA of fish to determine their species. Search results from individual stores and restaurants. Search your local stores and restaurants here.
On October 4, 2011 – Dartmouth College students in the ENVS 17: Marine Policy class journeyed to the New England Aquarium in order to observe the ecological systems they read about for class and to interact with oceans experts from many different fields. They were lucky to be able to join the group Women Working for the Oceans (W2O) for an IMAX presentation by National Geographic photo-journalist Brian Skerry.
As part of the learning process, students were required to write a short essay on what they learned from the visit related to either oceans ecosystems or sustainable seafood. Their essays along with pictures from the day are posted here.