As an intern in the Education Department, my work revolves almost exclusively around themes and concepts related to the ocean. Lately, I have been thinking about my personal connections to the ocean.
A Thought-Provoking Seminar on Capitol Hill
I recently attended two seminars at Capitol Hill Ocean Week (CHOW)–June 5 through June 8–that allowed me to expand my thinking. Linwood Pendleton, Director of Ocean and Coastal Policy at the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, led a seminar called “Oceans and Growth in America.” He explained that our relationship with the ocean is shaped by how we use it for extraction, such as harvesting of abalone in California during the late 1800s, and recreation, such as beach volleyball. The ocean has had, and continues to have, strong impacts on people along coasts, inspiring art and other forms of cultural expression.
Pendleton concluded by stating that growth without diversity will leave our coasts compromised, arguing that we need to move beyond the ocean’s economic uses, such as commercial fishing, in order to understand and appreciate its other values. It was this final point that has stuck with me since Linwood’s address.
Personal Reflection: A Childhood by the Sea
Linwood’s conclusion made me think about why I value the ocean and its resources and whether the reasons I value it fall under any of the categories about which he spoke–extraction, recreation, inspiration, etc.