Welcome back, friends. Back to what is kind of up in the air. This blog was previously, for all of its preludes, acts, and intermissions, me barely getting my tiny hands on some really big and really important ideas. For the last summer of my college experience (Summer 2014) I harangued Dr. Amelia Moore while she researched sustainable tourism in the Bahamas and its relationship to the Anthropocene. This summer I let myself be before a year of…well, at this point I don’t quite know.
For the next year, August 2015 to August 2016, I’m going to explore questions about human agency in an era of global climate change with the support of a Watson Fellowship. Like last summer I will ask questions about design, agency, authority, and the marine environment. As a Watson Fellow, I get to engage coral reef communities above and below the ocean’s surface to ask: what are the ways in which humans feel like they have agency in stopping/altering/counteracting/etc. the effects of global climate change?
Specifically, I’m interested in groups that participate in coral restoration or “gardens.” Why restore coral, a sensitive species in an increasingly altered climate? What does this do for humans, and what does this do for environmental health? How does the visuality of coral (vibrantly colored coral “bleaches” under stress and usually dies) function in the political landscape of SE Asia and beyond?
The Watson Fellowship is kind of obscene – get ready for a lot of questions and not a lot of answers. I can promise images, too, as I start to teach myself principles of underwater photography. We head first, in 10 hours, to Thailand. I’ll stay at the island of Koh Tao learning basic restoration techniques. Then, in Brunei Darussalam, I’ll peek into the controversial Rigs to Reefs program and the interaction between oil interests and coral conservation. After that, an extended stay with a community maintaining a local Reef in Fiji, and a stopover at the Great Barrier Reef on the way back. Japan, perhaps the Philippines, perhaps the Canary Islands, will end the tour.
I’m not allowed back in the U.S. until July 26th, 2016. Sasha Peters, friend and badass, is already somewhere in the Eastern block – what – a month into her journey? Maybe two, jesus. I’m anxious about leaving the country when there is so much going on in American political life, when I feel responsible for knowing my country more than I ever have before. I’m anxious about leaving all of the glimmering cloud-people in my life who keep me sane and inspired and who I love dearly. I’m afraid of abandonment and separations and taxes but
WHATEVER, I GUESS WE’RE JUST GONNA DO THIS.
This is in many ways just another summer, a long summer. Get ready for more upheaval and confusion as I try to find a footing on these slippery shores. Talk to me here, tell me what you want to know or what you think I’m missing. I’m terrified.
Welcome back cute things. Here we go!