Sunday, November 11, 2018

Rigs to Reefs - A Work in Progress


Creating New Marine Ecosystems

  
Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

With its eerie, underwater-like hues and morphing shapes, the black-lit ambience of Surfrider Foundation sponsor the GlowZone in Huntington Beach made the perfect backdrop for marine scientists Emily Callahan and Amber Jackson's presentation on turning decommissioned oil and gas rigs into reefs to support marine ecosystems.





Co-founders of Blue Latitudes, a non-profit organization that is studying the feasibility of converting rigs into reefs, the duo works with partners around the world to come up with ways to utilize the rigs in developing habitats for ocean sea life.


The U.S. Department of Interior says there are over 500 reefed platforms in the Gulf of Mexico, providing "shelter, food and other necessary elements for biodiversity and a productive ocean. This creates a rich diversity of marine life, attracting divers and anglers" and "increased tourism and commercial fishing benefits for local economies." 


Echoing this, Dr. Milton Love, a marine biology professor at U.C., Santa Barbara, notes that the platforms as habitats can be "more productive than coral reefs, more productive than estuaries,”



In their presentation, Callahan and Jackson emphasized their goal is to research, analyze and evaluate the ecological, socio-economic, and advocacy issues related to rigs-to-reefs conversions. This involves working with oil companies, environmental organizations, government and community groups to determine whether a structure is a good candidate for the conversion process.


On the 2018 Forbes 30 Under 30 list for their work in the energy sector, the two graduates of U.C. San Diego's Scripps Institution of Oceanography say, "Our vision at Blue Latitudes is to find silver linings in our oceans at the intersection of industry and the environment" in order to find the best outcomes.


Callahan and Jackson acknowledge that R2R programs have generated controversy due to concerns that the new "reefs" might increase pollution from the rigs' toxic materials, attract invasive species, and create safety hazards, while reducing oil companies' liabilities.


And, it was one of the reasons that the Surfrider Foundation's Huntington/Seal Beach Chapter invited the Blue Latitudes founders to speak at a recent meeting. With important decisions to be made about the world's unused oil platforms, informed discussion is essential.  



Dr. Jerry Schubel, President and CEO Aquarium of the Pacific, agrees. He says, "Blue Latitudes brings attention to a misunderstood and controversial issue that warrants further study and analysis”


With many of the world's coral reefs at risk because of environmental changes, it's more important than ever to find as many "silver linings" as we can. 

 


Please post your comment below. Comments will appear the next day.


Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel hold the exclusive rights to this copyrighted material. Publications wishing to reprint it may contact them at surfwriter.girls@gmail.com Individuals and non-profit groups are welcome to post it on social media sites as long as credit is given. 


Sunday, October 21, 2018

The Great Barrier Thief


Children's Book Has Hopeful Message


Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

The Great Barrier Thief, the new children's book by Dr. Sue Pillans, takes children and adults into another world under the sea while drawing attention to the need to protect Australia's Great Barrier Reef.


A labor of love that took Pillans (and her alter-ego Dr. Suzi Starfish) many years to write and illustrate, it "offers messages of hope and how together WE can help protect and save the Reef by cooling things down right away."


The Aussie marine ecologist and artist says she has "always been drawn to the ocean and I just love sea-ing the living colours of our Reef whenever I’m lucky enough to visit them."


Unfortunately, she has also been witness to the bleaching of the world's coral reefs, a process in which they turn white, losing their vibrant hues as the algae and other nutrients within them die due to global warming and environmental changes.


This endangers all the fish, lobsters, clams, seahorses, sponges, sea turtles and thousands of other types of sea life that depend on the reefs for survival.


And, so Pillans' tale begins, as a feisty fish named Anthia sees the changes happening in her Great Barrier Reef home and sets out to find the thief who is stealing its colors and get them back.


Working from home in her "happy place" art studio/laundry room, Dr. Pillans brought her story to life while her "creative companions" Jack, the Great Dane, and Westie Mr. Fergus cheered her on.


The book's publication couldn't have come at a better time - 2018 is the International Year of the Reef.  

   


Please post your comment below. Comments will appear the next day.


Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel hold the exclusive rights to this copyrighted material. Publications wishing to reprint it may contact them at surfwriter.girls@gmail.com Individuals and non-profit groups are welcome to post it on social media sites as long as credit is given.