Cat Dayger Goes Global
As a fellow, much of the work I do is behind-the-scenes. Editing drafts of documents, taking notes during conference calls, sending emails to follow up on action items, introducing myself to the main players on a given issue. To describe what I am working on during my fellowship, I usually reference the main projects I’m involved in, but skip over the actual day-to-day work I do in support of them, because “send emails” isn’t very descriptive or interesting. Nearly everyone in nearly every job sends emails. Now I have a tangible product of those emails to tell you about.
One of the issues I spend a large portion of my time thinking about in my role as a Policy Fellow is ocean acidification, often shortened to simply OA. What is ocean acidification? The ocean reacts with atmospheric carbon dioxide to form carbonic acid, making the ocean more acidic. If there is a high concentration of carbon dioxide in the air, more of that carbon will end up in the ocean and the ocean will become more acidic. By the way, the ocean is not “acidic” per se, but rather closer to being acidic. That’s a problem because it can prevent shell-wearing creatures (plankton, crabs, clams, oysters, etc) from making their shells properly. No shell, no critter. You can read a more detailed explanation of ocean acidification and why it’s a big deal on the West Coast here.
A bunch of the projects I work on deal with combating ocean acidification in Oregon and on the West Coast more generally. For instance, the newly formed International Alliance to Combat Ocean Acidification, or more simply the International OA Alliance, supports governments and other entities in addressing ocean acidification.
A few weeks ago, the OA Alliance called entities from all over the world to sign on to the Alliance at the 3rd Annual Our Ocean Conference in Washington DC. The Alliance aims to support those committed to taking action to combat ocean acidification. Our Ocean 2016 brought together governments, non-profits, universities, and more from all over the world to focus on ocean issues, including ocean acidification. Highlighting initiatives together builds greater momentum for each particular issue, making the OA Alliance appearance at Our Ocean 2016 a “big deal”. My contribution? To prepare for the Conference, I worked with a team to develop website copy and short handouts describing the OA Alliance. Yes, that included emails and conference calls and lots of track-changes editing in Microsoft Word. You should check out the OA Alliance website! The OA Alliance had a positive reception at Our Ocean and is moving right along to their next steps. I’m helping with those steps and deliverables too, so stay tuned!
It is fun to have a tangible (is a website tangible?) outcome to show people with pride when asked how my Fellowship is going. Celebrating milestones is essential in the incremental business of science policy.