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Communicating ocean acidification around the world: Stories and strategies of using narratives to communicate across barriers

SOARCE Webinar

Presenter: Alexis Valauri-Orton, Global Ocean Health

Primary Audience: Informal Educators, Stakeholders

Date/time: Wednesday, April 2nd, 4pm ET (1pm PST)

Between July 2012-2013, Alexis traveled on a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship studying how human communities in Norway, Hong Kong, Thailand, New Zealand, the Cook Islands and Peru might be affected by ocean acidification. She interviewed, lived and worked with hundreds of members of marine dependent communities, investigating how they valued resources threatened by ocean acidification. The vast majority of the community members she worked with had no knowledge of ocean acidification and poor ocean literacy.Over the year, she developed tools to communicate and contextualize this complex science issue across language and cultural barriers. She found the most effective method of communication was to explain the science of ocean acidification in a personalized, narrative format, drawing from the lives of her audience to make connections between ocean acidification and resources and practices they value.In this webinar, she will share examples of how she listened and learned from her audiences and structured communication platforms for diverse communities, ranging from Seventh Day Adventists in the Cook Islands to scallop farmers in Peru. She will explain her methodology and discuss how formal and informal educators can design narrative tools suited for their own audiences.
About the Speaker:
Alexis Valauri-Orton was born and raised in Seattle and harbors a lifelong love of all things marine. Whether searching for crabs under rocks or exploring planktonic gene expression in the lab, she has always loved learning about the ocean. In 2006, when she first heard about ocean acidification and its impacts on marine life, her fascination took on a sense of urgency that has shaped her life since.
From July 2012-2013, she traveled the world on a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship, investigating human narratives of ocean acidification in Norway, Hong Kong, Thailand, New Zealand, the Cook Islands, and Peru. Over that year, she traded her lab coat for a pair of gum boots, experiencing firsthand the role marine resources play in coastal communities. By studying acidification in such diverse communities, she discovered the importance of understanding and navigating the social structures that shape our vulnerabilities and responses to environmental issues.

Alexis has a BS in Biology and Environmental Studies from Davidson College, in North Carolina. While there, she was awarded several grants and scholarships to fund environmental education projects.  She currently works as Outreach and Editorial Associate at Global Ocean Health, in Seattle, and is contracted with the Suquamish Tribe as an ocean acidification outreach and communication specialist.
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ADAPTING TO OCEAN ACIDIFICATION

The NOAA Ocean Acidification Program (OAP) works to prepare society to adapt to the consequences of ocean acidification and conserve marine ecosystems as acidification occurs. Learn more about the human connections and adaptation strategies from these efforts.

Adaptation approaches fostered by the OAP include:

FORECASTING

Using models and research to understand the sensitivity of organisms and ecosystems to ocean acidification to make predictions about the future, allowing communities and industries to prepare

MANAGEMENT

Using these models and predictions as tools to facilitate management strategies that will protect marine resources and communities from future changes

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Make energy-efficient choices for your appliances and lighting. Heat and cool efficiently! Change your air filters and program your thermostat, seal and insulate your home, and support clean energy sources

By Reducing Coastal Acidification

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TAKE ACTION WITH YOUR COMMUNITY

You've taken the first step to learn more about ocean acidification - why not spread this knowledge to your community?

Every community has their unique culture, economy and ecology and what’s at stake from ocean acidification may be different depending on where you live.  As a community member, you can take a larger role in educating the public about ocean acidification. Creating awareness is the first step to taking action.  As communities gain traction, neighboring regions that share marine resources can build larger coalitions to address ocean acidification.  Here are some ideas to get started:

  1. Work with informal educators, such as aquarium outreach programs and local non-profits, to teach the public about ocean acidification. Visit our Education & Outreach page to find the newest tools!
  2. Participate in habitat restoration efforts to restore habitats that help mitigate the effects of coastal acidification
  3. Facilitate conversations with local businesses that might be affected by ocean acidification, building a plan for the future.
  4. Partner with local community efforts to mitigate the driver behind ocean acidification  – excess CO2 – such as community supported agriculture, bike & car shares and other public transportation options.
  5. Contact your regional Coastal Acidification Network (CAN) to learn how OA is affecting your region and more ideas about how you can get involved in your community
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