Some days reading the news on the internet is hard. Seeing articles like “Court halts Obama’s key climate plan” (BBC News) and “Emaciated polar bear pictures raise global warming concern” (The Telegraph) is heartbreaking. But over the past few months a few things have happened which has made me refocus when I see articles like this.
It started with the 2015 Paris climate talks in Paris. Although my advisor, Catherine Potvin, wasn’t directly participating in the conference, she was contacted by many people involved to get her advice about the negotiations. Watching the concluding remarks of the talks, Catherine told us (her group at a Christmas dinner) that she thought the French delegation should be awarded a Nobel Prize for how they organized and coordinated the event by giving each country something to be responsible for. She said it was like their “baby” and they were responsible for bringing it up as proud parents. Writing about it doesn’t really do what she said justice, but just listening to how she spoke about the conference really made me feel like there was hope for the future (and the polar bears!). You can follow some of Dr. Potvin’s work on her twitter site, Sustainable Dialogues.
Again, this idea of fostering hope and optimism came up again in Nancy Knowlton’s talk on conservation of coral reefs. She gave many examples of how coral reefs all over the world were being lost from outbreaks to acidification. But she ended on such a positive note, talking about her work on Citizens of the Sea whose stated objective is to spread #oceanoptimism. I think what Nancy said is so important that I wanted to devote my last blog post to it. I think this tropical biology course has done a lot for me in helping me to fully appreciate the diversity of organisms, their habitats, and their behaviours. Thank you Carlos and Owen!