Blue Vision Summit 2011

The 2011 Blue Vision Summit is May 20-23, held by the Blue Frontier Campaign at George Washington University. Celebrating the oceans, sharing results and sucesses, networking with other ocean advocates from around the nation – it promises to be a very powerful event culminating in Capitol Hill Ocean Day. For more information, see the summit website.

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  1. A report I wrote, printed in June:

    Three R’s at the Blue Vision Summit

    Last week was the Blue Vision Summit in Washington DC – a conference bringing together scientists, conservationists and policy-makers to share ideas and draw attention to the need for better ocean policy. Again and again as I talked with people about everything from wetland restoration to “nature deficit disorder” (due to kids not getting outside enough) to plastic pollution, I kept coming back to the usefulness of the 3 Rs to take a complicated situation and clarify what needs to be done. Reduce, then Reuse, then Recycle. Respect, then Restore, then Replace. The order is not arbitrary, and I can’t emphasize enough the importance of recognizing this hierarchy. Reducing is the first step – which saves energy, money, and resources. The second step is reusing – which lessens the need to take new resources. The third step is recycling – which takes energy, turning something into something else, but can be a good option, again, to lessen the need to take new resources. Similarly, Respect is the first step – saving energy and resources by working with the environment instead of against it. Restoring can help to bring back a sense of balance, but is not as good as respecting that balance in the first place. And replacing requires a lot of energy and resources, and can never really replicate what existed naturally, but is sometimes the option that is left to us.
    Since every decision has some interaction with the environment, situations can get confusing fast, and people may make decisions that unnecessarily harm the environment (and likely themselves) without wanting to. The 3 Rs can help to clarify confusing situations. When we make decisions, big or small – maybe how and where to put a big new development, or maybe just what to have for lunch – remember the order of the 3 Rs.

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