Last week, I attended Rising Tide Summit 2019 at The Plaza at Cabrillo Marina in San Pedro. I was invited as a guest of Lonely Whale, an organization that collaborates with partners working to save our ocean.* Prior to meeting folks from Lonely Whale, I didn’t really know a lot about ocean issues other than don’t pollute. And I live exactly 4.5 miles from the ocean.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from the Summit other than discussions about ocean-related topics. According to the website, the Summit’s goal is to “search for actionable solutions” and “to chart a new course in ocean conservation.”
The discourse that day was nothing short of enlightening.** The efforts and developments were impressive. They were in-depth and thoughtful.
- Water districts need to address water recycling, so that they do not recycle fresh water to the ocean.
- Beyond recycling, we need to just decrease our consumption.
- WeTap – This organization works “to [improve] awareness, access and use of public drinking fountains, reducing dependence on single-use plastic, while improving public health.” Evelyn, the executive director, reminded us/the audience that we– the public– is already paying for the water. There are a lot of processes that happen for the water to reach the drinking fountain– from the snow in the Sierra’s to the spout. However, that water is ours. When we buy bottled water, not only are we paying for something we already paid for and ours at 2000% the cost. Here is the Bottled Water and Energy Fact Sheet.
- WeTap has a partnership with LAUSD where each school will get at least four water filling stations.
- WeTap App where users can find drinking fountains and also help map them.
- This was the Whuuut?!?! portion of the day for me: the session on why environmentalists do not vote. The presentation discussed the whys but also how they work to get non-voting environmentalists to vote: 1) focus on non-voting environmentalists and 2) by using Expressive Choice Theory– who are you and who do you want to be? This theory relies on social pressure. Nathaniel Stinnet, Founder & Executive Director of the Environmental Voter Project in Boston, did such an outstanding job and also reminded/scared us about this Orweillian world. He is able to do his work because of the availability of data. He stated that advocates are no longer just able to market to our kind– ethnicity, gender, age, and other demographic info– but can now market specifically to us individually. They know when we go to the store, if we buy organic, if we’ve donated to campaigns. Campaigns can send us materials tailored just for us. Oh yay.
- Reduce. Reuse. (recycle) – Focus on reduce and reuse. Recycle still means there is trash. Also, this made me more aware that I need to stop congratulating myself and feeling warm and fuzzy about using and/or going to places that use materials that are compostable. Do we know if the business really gets the composting bins to the right facility? More importantly, does the area/municipality have a composting facility???
- Still on recycling… People tend to feel good about recycling. But an experiment found that when recyclable products are available, people use more and produce more trash. When recyclable products are not available, people used less products.
- Bluetech is water technology, including the ocean. Think outer space advances, like Virgin Orbit and the commercial space airline. Instead advancements that are water-related, specifically, ocean. ECOncrete talked about their work using environmentally safe concrete for tidepools and stabilization of ocean floors. For example, they have a concrete mix that attracts mollusks.
- Ann Lee Carpenter, a super expert in bluetech and owner of Braid Theory, presented on the importance of scaling research to business opportunities– that we need to go beyond just having the science/information. According to their site, “Braid theory weaves together entrepreneurs, industry influencers and corporate partners to accelerate adoption of transformative technology, drive market growth and create profitable collaborations.” The sooner we do this, the more progress we can make in saving the ocean.
- There was a brief audience discussion/comments on ocean exploration not getting as much love or media as space exploration. The lady next to me suggested getting Aquaman (Jason Momoa) to be the face of it.
- Lastly, Lonely Whale shared information about Ocean Heroes Bootcamp, a summit where young leaders gather and learn to create their own ocean campaign.
Like most day-long events, the day ended with a cocktail party (thanks, XPrize!). Though we were exhausted and our heads were full of new knowledge and ideas, my fellow attendees/new contacts and I felt hopeful.
The Summit showed that there are many individuals and organizations working for the betterment of our oceans, our environment, and our planet. They are dedicated, inventive, and collaborative. I am grateful that they invited and included a novice (ok, unaware person) like me. Now that I know more, I can contribute to the efforts.
* I’m totally simplified so I hope you checked out their website.
** I was not able to attend the second day of the Summit.