robertogreco + impact   17

Sri Lankan Whale Researcher Calls for an End to ‘Parachute — Oceans Deeply
[via: https://twitter.com/ashadevos/status/1121574154367422464 ]

"Most of the planet’s coastlines are in the developing world. Western marine scientists and institutions could do better work by developing the scientific talents of the people who live there, says Asha de Vos, founder of Oceanswell."



"THERE’S NO HOPE to conserve the ocean’s biodiversity unless scientists look inward and improve diversity in their own ranks. That’s the message that Asha de Vos, a Sri Lankan marine biologist, delivered to an international meeting of marine mammalogists in Halifax, Canada, in October.

De Vos is founder of Oceanswell, an organization she launched this year to help students from underrepresented nations conduct and communicate marine science. She argues that the health of coastlines depends on local people, yet too often they are ignored or dismissed. The practice of “parachute science,” in which Western researchers drop into developing countries to collect data and leave without training or investing in the region, not only harms communities, it cripples conservation efforts, according to De Vos.

She has first-hand experience. From Sri Lanka, she made her research career by studying blue whales in the Indian Ocean, which she discovered to be the only population that stays in tropical waters year round. Few scientists had paid attention to the whales before.

Oceans Deeply spoke with De Vos about how marine research and conservation could be more effective by investing in scientists and communities around the world.

Oceans Deeply: You recently called on marine researchers to be better at sharing skills, knowledge and funding with people in developing countries. Can you describe what you meant by that?

Asha de Vos: Seventy percent of our planet is oceans. Seventy percent of our coastlines are in the developing world. But we have no representation at the global stage. I actually asked the audience to look at each other and look around the room, because there was hardly anybody from outside North America, some of the bigger European countries and Australia. We want to save the oceans. If that is what our drive is, then we need to have custodians on every coastline. We can’t save the oceans if all of the funds are being pumped into specific nations.

If you want to protect that coastline, you can’t have 10 people from one country going into different countries and trying to save entire coastlines. It doesn’t make any sense. Local people, they live on those coastlines. They speak the languages, and they see the problems every day. They may be part of the problem.

There is a community aspect to it – where they can communicate to the people who live next door to them better than people coming from outside and telling people what to do. That is really patronizing. As soon as you get people who come from within the system, who speak the same language and who are relatable, you will suddenly start to see change.

If we want to protect what is on all of these coastlines, we can’t have parachute science happening. We can’t have people from outside coming into our countries, doing work and leaving, because there is no sustainability in that model.

Oceans Deeply: In many Western countries, limited scientific funding often goes to a small number of people, largely based on experience and prestige. Are you also calling for a general reform of how science is done?

De Vos: Overall, I think that we do need general reform. Business as usual hasn’t worked, right? The oceans are not in a better state. They’re getting worse. We need to start thinking, “OK, how can we change what is happening? How can we invest in human capital in places that need it?”

Funding bodies should be more conscious about how they administer their funding. It is not just about having a local counterpart – you need to make that local counterpart a lead. You need to mentor them to write the grant. It is the big institutions and funding bodies that really control what happens in these fields. The reason people want to publish and publish is because their tenure track job depends on it. If institutions instead started saying, “Look, what is your actual impact? What are you actually doing on the ground? How does what you do translate?” Then people have an obligation to go beyond [publishing].

I can understand the plight of the scientist as well. I broke out of that system. I never believed in the system, so I couldn’t stay in academia because that just doesn’t work for me. I want to have impact.

Oceans Deeply: How did you end up in your career, and what challenges did you face because you’re from Sri Lanka?

De Vos: I was inspired by National Geographic as a kid. At 18, I told people that I wanted to be a marine biologist. I come from South Asia where the culture is: either you’re a doctor, lawyer, engineer, a business person or you’re wasting your time. Lucky for me I had parents who said, “Do what you love, you’ll do it well.”

I went to the University of St. Andrews, where I did my undergraduate. I needed field experience, but I couldn’t get it in Sri Lanka, so I saved a bunch of money – I dug potatoes in potato fields in Scotland. I managed to get myself to New Zealand, and while I was there I heard of a research vessel that was stopping in the Maldives and Sri Lanka.

I wrote to them every single day for three months – and this was back in the day of internet cafes. I was living in a tent, but I was using the little bit of money that I had to convince people to let me get on board. Eventually, I think that they got so tired of me that they said I could come on board for two weeks in the Maldives. They loved me, so they kept me on for six months in Sri Lanka as well.

I got this experience, and then I went off to do my master’s at Oxford. When I was working on the research vessel, the Odyssey, I had my eureka moment because I encountered an aggregation of blue whales. I realized that these whales were not like normal blue whales, as my textbooks and professors had [told me]. Blue whales usually go to cold waters to feed and warm waters to breed. The poo was evidence that they were actually feeding in these warm, tropical waters 5 degrees above the equator. I thought that was fascinating.

Oceans Deeply: How did these experiences help form your understanding of the need for diversity in marine science?

De Vos: It is a result of me being Sri Lankan and local that I have been able to pioneer blue whale research in the northern Indian Ocean. I launched the first long-term study of this population. Over 10 years we have unraveled all of these mysteries, because I am local and I am interested in engagement.

The more people that I can touch with the stories of these whales, the bigger the army [of conservationists] and that is what is going to make the difference. When I started working with these blue whales, People didn’t know that we had whales in our waters. Now, there are more [Sri Lankan] students than ever before wanting to become marine biologists. I just established Sri Lanka’s first marine conservation research and education organization, called Oceanswell.

Oceans Deeply: Have you seen progress in training and investing in local communities?

De Vos: Yes. After the Society of Marine Mammalogy talk, I had people lining up to give their cards. There are people who invest, and not just in the developing world. There are now Inuit communities who are able to run their own PCR machines because someone went in there and helped set up a lab, even if you don’t have all the right conditions.

There are people out there who are doing incredible work and that don’t get highlighted, which is unfortunate. Transfer of knowledge is not valued in our scientific system in the same way as research.

I have had people approach me and say, “Can you get me a research permit so that I can do research in your country?” and I say no. We have talent, so provide opportunity. You come and train our people and then have the confidence to leave and watch this project grow, and then this becomes your legacy because it continues to grow for generations. You are creating something that is sustainable rather than coming in and trying to drive your own agenda"
ashadevos  science  decolonization  parachutescience  academia  local  srilanka  2017  oceanswell  whales  bluewhales  research  marinebiology  maldives  oceans  indianocean  inclusivity  diversity  marineconservation  conservation  impact  training  access  accessibility  mentoring  mentorships 
april 2019 by robertogreco
Society for Marine Mammalogy plenary talk: Asha de Vos - YouTube
[via: https://twitter.com/ashadevos/status/1121574652801773569 ]

"Listen as Dr. Asha de Vos talks about the current marine conservation climate and the need for changing it to change the trajectory of marine conservation. She speaks from her experiences as a researcher from a developing country accessing a field that is largely developed country focused."
ashadevos  science  srilanka  whales  bluewhales  marinebiology  conservation  decolonization  srg  research  climate  paywalls  open  openaccess  journals  accessibility  access  inclusivity  inclusion  diversity  marineconservation  indianocean  impact  training  local  mentoring  mentorships 
april 2019 by robertogreco
Because China — Quartz
"Small changes in China have huge effects worldwide; Chinese people are reshaping global tourism, education, technology, and more. But superpowers are rare, and each is different—China won’t be like the United States. We’re traveling around the world to find stories that show a Chinese superpower in action along with all of its opportunities, tensions, innovations, and dangers. Check back for new episodes."
china  video  technology  education  superpower  global  influence  impact 
april 2019 by robertogreco
Magnum Nominee Sim Chi Yin • Magnum Photos
"I think we’re in the era of blending, bleeding, though of course each discipline and genre has its peculiarities and ethics. The terminology — researcher, photographer, artist — I have difficulty with. I’m just making and doing, thinking, growing!"



"Also, I’ve been thinking about the difference between reach and impact. It’s great to reach millions of people through being on the front page of the New York Times, but having impact on a smaller number of people in a different form is just as valid — if not more so, in our crowded and noisy world."

[via: https://twitter.com/jsamlarose/status/1036581998129815552 ]
via:jslr  simchiyin  photography  blending  bleeding  interdisciplinary  multidisciplinary  crossdisciplinary  transdisciplinary  crosspollination  art  making  doing  growth  reach  impact  2018 
september 2018 by robertogreco
The Atlantic Redesigns TheAtlantic.com - The Atlantic
"We've redesigned TheAtlantic.com. What do you think?

From the beginning of the project, we've had the fundamental question in mind of what this site is—which is to say, both what it's become (as regular readers know, a lot's changed here over time) and what we want it to be. Is it the website of a magazine? Is it a news site? Is it, as James Franco possibly once suggested, a blog?

The answers, we recognized, are all in one way or another yes. But we figured we'd try a thought experiment: What if we described TheAtlantic.com as a direct, dynamic, digital extension of our core identity in journalism—as a real-time magazine?

That seemed to us both authentic and aspirational: an idea that captured what The Atlantic has been doing in new media for years and a framework that could bring the right focus to rebuilding TheAtlantic.com now.

So here's what we did:

We created a site that makes a new priority of visual presentation, that offers a cleaner reading experience across digital devices, and that gives us the flexibility we need, both in our articles and on our homepage, to join the speed and urgency of the web with the noise-cutting and impact that have always been central to The Atlantic's ambitions.

The new homepage is composed of full-width modules each representing either one big story or a constellation of connected stories. We can move these modules up or down the page, allowing us, among other freedoms, alternately to lead with the urgency of our news coverage or the impact of a big feature, according to the needs of the moment.

It also allows us to give full play to the same urgency and impact beyond the top of the page. As you return to the site, you'll find different homepage modules in different orders with different kinds of stories in different combinations. What you won't find, we hope, is the impression of diminishing importance as you scroll down.

Neither should you find yourself disoriented. So rather than placing stories arbitrarily adjacent to one another, we're using each of these modules to display a single story or a group of stories that are in some way related. This approach is inspired by the emergent logics of scrolling and swiping in mobile media: The vertical axis of the homepage represents a logic of exploration (scrolling); the horizontal axis, a logic of connection (swiping). A good magazine should, after all, help us keep our bearings.

Our new article pages are likewise more visually engaging and flexible. We're using larger images, and better image integration, with a fuller range of options for bigger feature stories, as well as more controlled templates for quicker hits, which we'll sometimes need as The Atlantic moves fast in trying to make sense of a rapidly changing world.

We've thought about the logics of exploration and connection on the article pages too: Next to our stories (horizontally), you'll find links to related articles; below the stories (vertically), you'll find links to normally unrelated articles, or for that matter photo essays or videos, currently popular on the site.

Maybe most conspicuously, across TheAtlantic.com, we've replaced our old nameplate and navigation bar with a simple new flag bearing our logo, options to subscribe or search the site, and an expandable menu. This treatment is influenced by the way the logo is set on our monthly covers; the minimalistic integration of the subscription, search, and navigation functions is based both on extensive user testing and our guiding dedication to keeping signals high, and noise low, around our brand and our work.

Oh, and the typefaces are new. Hawk-eyed readers will recognize the display and text fonts, both Lyon, as the same ones we use in print."
theatlantic  digital  2015  publications  magazines  news  jounalism  webdev  design  presentation  flexibility  typography  fonts  urgency  impact  reading  howweread  blogs  jjgould  webdesign 
april 2015 by robertogreco
The Old Ones | The American Conservative
"Among the young there’s a strong investment in believing that no one has ever walked the paths they’re walking — just as among the old there’s an equally strong investment in believing that there’s nothing new under the sun."



"So good for Oliver Sacks, not only that he’s still thinking vigorously and writing well at 80, but that people are listening. But how many other sources of expertise and wisdom — perhaps uniquely valuable and otherwise inaccessible expertise and wisdom — are we ignoring because they’re old? Who is still out there with something to say that we need to hear, and could hear if we took the trouble? In whatever field of inquiry we care about, we need to seek them out and find them and pay attention to them — before it’s too late."
alanjacobs  2013  oliversacks  aging  age  old  new  nothingnewunderthesun  neoteny  ideas  readiness  impact 
july 2013 by robertogreco
school for poetic computation blog: Poetry and computation?
"Noise is undesirable in engineering, but artists find glitch to be beautiful and revealing inner workings of the system. Poetic computation may value expressive nature of code and computers more so than efficiency. This might an answer to questions like “Why Less Demos and more Poems?” Demonstrations are driven by end goal. It values practicality and functionality, while poems desire aesthetic and emotional impact. Hopefully what we make at School for poetic computation is for people, not computers. "
sfpc  taeyoonchoi  noise  inefficiency  poetry  coding  emotion  impact  aesthetics  2013  schoolforpoeticcomputation 
june 2013 by robertogreco
BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Map shows toll on world's oceans
"Only about 4% of the world's oceans remain undamaged by human activity, according to the first detailed global map of human impacts on the seas."
climate  ecology  ecosystems  environment  impact  marine  maps  oceans  pollution  science  world  research  via:foe 
february 2008 by robertogreco
The Designers Accord
"The Designers Accord is a coalition of design and innovation firms focused on working together to create positive environmental and social impact."
design  environment  community  communication  sustainability  green  global  impact  industrial  activism 
january 2008 by robertogreco
Life cycle assessment - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
"A life cycle assessment (also known as life cycle analysis, life cycle inventory, ecobalance, cradle-to-grave-analysis, well-to-wheel analysis, and dust-to-dust energy cost) is the assessment of the environmental impact of a given product or service thro
climate  design  green  lca  bighere  economics  world  international  global  impact  cradletograve  environment  sustainability 
june 2007 by robertogreco
Who Knew
"Who Knew is a network of documents that visually interpret information, ideas and viewpoints considered complex, confusing and/or controversial, which sometimes get misrepresented and censored as a result; Things that make us go, "who knew?"
design  activism  environment  society  life  impact  world  sustainability  health  graphics  information  data  statistics  infographics 
december 2006 by robertogreco
Who Knew - Issue 4
"Are we running out of water? Is your bling funding a war? Is your food pyramid out of shape? Is your doctor killing you? Can a designer do good? Can you pick a fine wine? Do store employees know you by name? Does your life depend on a bird? Does your soa
design  activism  environment  society  life  impact  world  sustainability  health 
december 2006 by robertogreco

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