Showing posts from January, 2022

Social Equity and the Need to Decolonize Marine Conservation in the Pacific Islands

This essay was first published in the journal Poplar & Ivy  in an issue dedicated to inclusion and decolonization in science.   Guam delegates to the 2016 Pacific Arts Festival carried signs reading, "Decolonize Oceania, Free Guahan." As if the prior year hadn’t brought enough trauma on people worldwide, so far, 2021 has unleashed a torrent of epic natural disasters—from fires and floods to typhoons and droughts—that have put the climate and nature emergencies at center stage. However, the global conservation community cannot adequately or sustainably address these dual crises until it first solves a predicament that has plagued us since our origins: the inequity in representation, leadership, and decision-making that flowed from the problematic history of Western and colonial visions of conservation (Bennett, 2021). The global pandemic and the murder of George Floyd were catalysts, forcing many Americans to reckon, some for the first time, with our history of racism an

Happy 13th Birthday to the World's Deepest Protected Area

I first published this blog in 2019 on the 10 year anniversary of the designation of the Mariana Trench Marine National Monument, and I'm republishing it here in time for the 13 year anniversary, which is tomorrow.  In this essay I am somewhat critical of the design and governance in the designation of the protected area in 2009, and highly critical of the lack of implementation in the first decade of its existence (this caused some heartburn with a well known conservation philanthropist, the story of which I am happy to share over beers).  In the three years since writing this there has been some progress, however, and I must give credit where it is due.  In 2021, the long awaited management plan was put forward for public review, and my hope is that it will be finalized this year.  I am also still hopeful that the even longer awaited for Mariana Trench National Marine Sanctuary will begin moving forward this year. That's skinny Angelo at the White House signing cere