Got back last night from moderating a great discussion of recent oceanic books — here’s the video — at CHOW, Capitol Hill Oceans Week. It was an unusual chance for me to rub shoulders professional with oceanic folks very different from my usual crowd of humanists and literary scholars. The rooms were full of scientists, foundation and NGO employees, and a few DC political activists or think tank types.
I’ll write a later post on the five books we talked about in my panel — At the Bottom of Shakespeare’s Ocean, Demon Fish, Four Fish, Seasick, and Cold — but for now I want to think about how scientists & humanities types might think together.
The gala dinner featured a bunch of creative speakers — cartoonist Jim Tommey, creator of Sherman’s Lagoon, two prolific IMAX filmakers and surfer from Laguna Beach who have a new One World One Ocean foundation, which by being at the dinner I think I’ve joined, which looks like fun — but the headliners were power brokers. Two Senators spoke, Mark Begavitch from Alaska and John Kerry, each of whom paid tribute to the late Ted Stevens, who received a Lifetime Oceans award largely due to his work on the Fisheries Act, though an old photo revealed him to have been a CA longboarder back in the 50s. He was not really an environmentalist, and was quite hostile to marine sanctuaries — but it was a nice bipartisan event.
The most interesting talks besides the Author’s Coffee I moderated included a rant from a North Carolina-based fisherman who insisted, against the scientists present, that the mid-Atlantic region was drastically underfished at present, a young Aleut from Bristol Bay trying to build support to keep a massive open pit gold mine away from the mouth of the Yukon, and someone from the Island Institute in Maine, where I’ll be in October, who’s been working to save the working harbors of her state, in part by following the model of Community Supported Agriculture. Also some grim news about loss of land to flooding in the Eastern and Western Shores of Maryland that I’d not known about. I also met a great bear-like man from Alpena, Wisconsin, who did 122 volunteer dives in Lake Michigan last summer for the Thunder Bay Sanctuary and its cold, clear, wreck-rich waters.
More thoughts later on humanities and the sciences.