I have been working on this blog, The Green Progressive, for the past 6 years. I have covered issues ranging from Climate Change to how America has become an Oligarchy to the issues facing our participatory government and even threw out some free advice. I've covered events like the bankrupting of California's recycling program and Secret Service prostitution scandals and this year, I have took a new step.
This year, with the help of friends and colleagues I have built something, something new, the Online Ocean Symposium (OOS). This project involves bringing together the communities involved in Ocean and climate issues to discuss major issues, new events and explaining complicated issues in a more digestible way. The OOS also seeks to help with the process of joining the Ocean community as a whole and build that community.
This project came about from my experiences working with Google Map Maker, the Google Oceans Program and the BLUE Ocean film festival where I used the Google Plus Hangout tool to create new Ocean programing. This programming was filled with interviews, award announcements, interesting walkthroughs of Ocean topography and shipwrecks and great conversations. I loved hosting these micro shows with Ocean celebrities such as some members of the Cousteau family, Dr. Sylvia Earle, Don Walsh and more. You can check out the archives here.
When the BLUE Ocean film festival ended, I was so moved by the community and the work that others were doing that I wanted to create something that would aggregate that passion and those stories in an interesting and unique way and have been working on, amongst other things, setting up the Symposium. The hope is that this will turn into reoccurring discussions with Ocean and conservation leaders for reoccurring and interesting programming.
The very first Hangout on Air for the Online Ocean Symposium is this Wednesday and it marks the beginning of a new chapter and new adventure. I still plan on posting here, though I may have a more Ocean centric content. Do come check it out if you have the chance.
Friday, January 11, 2013
Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Keep in mind I have a tendency to be long winded and have a LOT to say. There is a lot of cool stuff to see so I issue the following warning;
WARNING - THIS WILL BE LONG, PAY ATTENTION, TOO MUCH COOL STUFF
First let me say that it was amazing meeting you all. This festival meant a lot to me and it was a pleasure to work on. It was one of those amazing things you hear about. I want to keep in touch with you all and wanted to thank each and every single one of you. You all worked long, hard hours on this and deserve to be proud of pulling off something this awesome.
I mean, its not every week you get to do the following:
- Meet Commander, er, sorry Admiral Adama actor Edward James Olmos (told you I was a big nerd) and tell him your pitch for a Kickstarter involving animated voice acting
- Strut around in a Roddenberry Dive Team Wetsuit as Captain Kirk on a catwalk
- Find an very thorough YouTube channel for the festival from Mission Blue.
- See James Cameron come out of making an Avatar sequel to accept an award and hang with Don Walsh and Sylvia Earle (she could be Na’vi right?)
- Meet a school of Cousteaus
- Become a voluntary citizen of an ocean country with The TerraMar Project
- Get the opportunity to go Kayaking in the Monterey Slough with the star of the Movie Otter 501 (and their cute co-Star Katie Pofahl who later rescues you from your lack of practice Kayaking)
- Find a way to pay her back by mentioning the movie’s Kickstarter campaign
- Enjoying a dip in the Portola Hotel and Spa’s awesome salt-water hot tubs.
As I am writing this out I am realizing how long this list is. Basically the message is that stories and news about all this stuff and all the stuff related to the festival is going to keep going out there so keep watching.
I do encourage you to head over to the festival’s Facebook group and share what you got so we can share it with all our friends.
- Having a hangout with Bob Ballard where he gives you a virtual tour of his Titanic exploration in the Liquid Galaxies.
- Watching the live footage on Oceanslive with the fantastic Kate Thompson
- See the fantastic presentation of Jenifer Foulkes of the Google Oceans Program with Catlin Seaview of Underwater Streetview
- and set up their first live underwater hangout.
- Scoping out Daniel Fox’s awesome red shoes and awesome photos
- Chatting art and 49ers with Jim Toomey one of the festival winner over at the Britannia Arms
- Catch some clutch footage of the Sisbro team’s 5 word acceptance speech
- Just remembering you should probably mention the winners are denoted in the finalists list.
And there is more, there is tons more.
- Have an awesome dinner with the IUCN peeps, the Mission Blue Peeps, the Google Ocean’s Program’s peeps and the Sturgeon General herself Sylvia Earle
- Be convinced by Don Walsh that anything I say is out there in the public sphere
- Have a video you gathered footage for and edited in a day (thanks to the fantastic work of Ru and the staff) with Don Walsh saying something interesting played in an amazingly prestigious theater full of people.
- Meet the winners of our YouTube contest, makers of this awesome video.
We will be sending out photos and videos of all of this stuff while it comes in. If you have some we want it.
- Get a cool glass for my room from glass is life and the Plastic Pollution Coalition.
- Learn about how I can get some money off of my upcoming taxes by donating to 501c3s
I will probably keep adding the to some sort of list or just throwing them at the hash tag #BLUEOceanFF and adding them to the Google Plus and Facebook pages. If you could do that too that would be awesome. If you have any awesome footage you want to share or cool stuff you want to talk about what happened at the festival, feel free to use those forums. I especially encourage you to watch our Facebook and Google Plus pages news will be posted.
I feel the need to remind everyone that there are a lot of 501c3s associated with it and taxes are coming up.
- Showing off my Liquid Galaxy skills to Charlotte Vick (CHARLOTTE! Can you send me some of that video I took of you and your friend in there? Thanks)
I have a lot of following up to do to get everything together and I came to the conclusion that the best way to get the basic message (and do a bit of selfless self promotion) out there was to put it up on my blog.
I haven’t been able to work on it for a while but that was because I was out there working on the awesome project and wanted to focus on it, before myself, and it was so rewarding and awesome.
I want to give you all a heads up that I am going to SXSW ECO. Wait, what? There is a SXSW “Eco Breakfast” presented by Chevrolet? For those of you familiar with SXSW, Eco is in it’s second year and I will go over that more later. For the rest of you just pay attention. I want you to know that I may be live blogging from there and will let you know where that will be. Be sure to follow my twitter @akornblatt
As I pack my bag for today's flight I look forward to the down time (ha) where I can reach out to all of you and thank you and catch up. Lets keep this ball rolling and be rock and roll stars for the Ocean!
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Right now in Rio de Janeiro the most recent installment of the UN Climate talks are taking place. This event, known as Rio+20, is one of many UN Climate talks that have taken place over the past 20 years. It had its official kickoff yesterday. This conference is specifically one of three on sustainable development but, like all other issues that face our climate, the talks bleed into each other. Also like many of the other conferences, this one has opened to sounds of pessimism, division (mainly between developed and developing countries), diminishing promises and frustrations.
What seems to happen at these events is a pattern of chest beating from the official representatives - pledges and promises of action, but then a huge cool off when it comes to the actual concessions. Be it fossil fuel subsidies or instances where the U.S. and Europe have tried to delete passages calling on rich nations to move towards "sustainable consumption and production" real traction seems to never really be made on the official levels. These squabbles seem counter intuitive to the various reports showing our fast reaching the environmental tipping point and that we are accelerating towards there.
An article from Alertnet puts it best;
Outside the slow and tortuous negotiations, however, there is a growing realization that issues once discussed as future threats are, decades later, quickly turning into serious current problems, and that the pace of talks to deal with them is not keeping up.
>What is rather amazing about these conferences is the efforts that go on behind the scenes by the different stakeholder groups, NGOs and other interested parties. These groups use the importance of these talks to gather for pre-conference meetings and talks of their own in order to share information and pack the most punch for the visiting heads of state and UN representatives. This is a wonderful practice that allows for networking and future action that is more unified and effective in meeting the huge lofting goals that lay ahead of all of us.
Over the weekend, those same individuals held an "Oceans day" where attendees gathered to talk about the future of our oceans, coasts and Island States through a very full and diverse schedule. Various groups and leaders gathered to chat specifically about these issues and how to address the common roadblocks to action. Included in this amazing group of intelligent, forward thinking marine enthusiasts are Sylvia Earle, her alliance and the Global Foundation for Democracy and Development. Together they presented, “Oceans in Google Earth as an Educational Tool: A Dominican Republic Perspective” where they showed the Ocean layer in Google Earth and how it s a powerful tool for ocean education and awareness.
Today, the Rio+20 Oceans Dialogue were opened by Philippe Cousteau, grandson of famed ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau, moderator of a panel of 10 international ocean experts. On the stage next to them were 10 critical recommendations on "advanc[ing] global ocean management.
This talk yielded tangible results, after the discussion and a question and answer period, the attendees of this talk voted on the recommended course of action. This recommendation would be given to UN delegates and representatives as a unified message. As reported by Annie Reisewitz, Strategic Ocean Solutions;>
The panel of ocean experts concluded the discussion with the agreement of a third recommendation offered by Earle, which stated “immediately act to create a global network of marine protected areas using ecosystem-based fisheries management principles that accommodates the needs of all stakeholders.”Many different startling issues were discussed; rising sea levels threatening island and coastal communities, food supply, biodiversity, ocean acidification and the resulting loss of animal life and O2, and even the same rising issues that we have been noticing for the past 6 years. When facing such serious and detrimental threats it is easy to focus on the seemingly futile effort and frame it in a negative and horrifying way. Personally, I have grown tired of the depressed mood that seems to be going around. It is surprisingly uplifting to see events and efforts like these with such promise and positivity. It seems that people out there are tired of fear tactics and negative language, hope and an attitude of "yes we can" still ring true. Below is a stunning example from the Pew Charitable Trusts and the Zoological Society of London.
The official kickoff of the Climate talks coincided with another amazing and positive campaign that was spearheaded and conceived by 350.org; a climate change action group. The goal was to raise awareness of the amount of money spent on fossil fuel subsidies and the need to divest from that practice through a "twitter storm." The request to post tweets with the hashtag; #EndFossilFuelSubsidies with various messages supporting a change away from climate-harmful investment practices. The request was answered by a slew of celebrities and tons of individuals through out the world causing the hashtag to be one of the top trenders in the world (number one or two in the United States depending on who you ask).
In fact, as pointed out by Duncan Clark of the Guardian, this effort was, "...timed to put pressure on world leaders attending the Rio+20 conference to live up to their earlier commitments to stop using money government money to support fossil fuel production or consumption. Pressure will certainly be needed, as the current draft of the Rio text doesn't mention oil, coal or gas subsidies."
Some may consider this effort a marginal "victory" because of the fact that the ultimate goal of reaching the Climate Talks delegates doesn't seem to be working as effectively as hoped. These arguments forget the significance of awareness, reach and participation. It was astonishing to see such action on this issue in the twitter verse and the media's reaction to it. The fact that these tweets breached the virtual/real world gap by being projected on the Sydney Opera House and other sites in London, New York, New Delhi and Rio speaks volumes not to mention the fact that this was an effort by non-profits and NGOs to allow the public a greater voice at talks like these, where their voices have traditionally been filtered by third parties or even obfuscated by other concerns. This is a trend that needs to continue and increase, exponentially.
As argued before, it seems that the stakeholders, NGO's and individual citizens are grabbing a larger share of the powers that allow them to shape the future, hopefully combatting those forces that think only of power and money.
Good luck RIO+20, let us come together positively and make the future we want.