HAVE YOU MET THESE COASTAL CHAMPIONS?

By Kasey R. Jacobs, TCS Communications Chair

With the same enthusiasm as a mantis shrimp going for a human’s finger, a large group of TCS members click on the Renew Your Membership icon as soon as they get the reminder email in December.

I caught up with the first members to renew for 2018.

These eight coastal champions shared their reasons for renewing, what their hopes are for TCS and their careers in 2018, and, most importantly, what they hope for our coastlines in 2018.

TCS spans disciplines and crosses boundaries like no other professional association. This is what Louisiana Sea Grant Scholar Don Davis told me. The mix of disciplines represented within TCS is evidenced by the first eight members to renew for 2018.

Don W. Davis, Louisiana Sea Grant Scholar
Don W. Davis, Louisiana Sea Grant Scholar

Because there are many policymakers who are TCS members, Don believes the translator-like interpretation needed between scientists and policymakers is eased. Policymakers in TCS help bring scientists successfully into the policy realm and scientists help policymakers navigate coastal jargon and options.

Many TCS members wear multiple hats of scientist and policymaker and everything in between, above, and beneath…

Or teach multiple disciplines, like Lawrence B. Cahoon, 2017 Distinguished Teaching Professor in Biology and Marine Biology for University of North Carolina Wilmington.

Lawrence B. Cahoon, 2017 Distinguished Teaching Professor in Biology and Marine Biology for University of North Carolina Wilmington
Lawrence B. Cahoon, 2017 Distinguished Teaching Professor in Biology and Marine Biology for University of North Carolina Wilmington

Larry hopes that in 2018 the public awareness of coastal management issues (resource and energy development, coastal storm mitigation, sea level rise, and economic transitions) “continues to rise and finds expression in wise policy decisions”. His own goal for this year is to continue to make useful contributions to the science underpinning policy decisions.

Coastal advocates in TCS might agree with Pete Stauffer, Environmental Director for the Surfrider Foundation, in his hopes that “we can empower coastal communities and the public to have a stronger voice in the management decisions that affect our coastlines.”

Pete Stauffer, Environmental Director, Surfrider Foundation
Pete Stauffer, Environmental Director, Surfrider Foundation

Pete stressed, “It’s never been more important for coastal professionals to network and support each other.”

When Pete told me that TCS has played an important role in his development as a coastal advocate, I was greatly encouraged. I am a former grassroots advocate who misses mobilizing communities. It makes me feel secure that I have TCS to help make transitions to different areas of coastal management if I desire.

Pushing the envelope are coastal scientists conducting applied research. They can help decision makers adopt protocols and standards that bring in the future. Stephen Dickson, a marine geologist at the Maine Geological Survey, has played a pivotal role in forward thinking hazard mitigation strategies.

Stephen Dickson, a marine geologist at the Maine Geological Survey
Stephen Dickson, a marine geologist at the Maine Geological Survey

His recent work includes mitigating coastal bluff erosion with nature-based approaches that mimic and maintain coastal ecosystems as sea level rises.

Steve told me that 2017 was “a banner year for geohazards and coastal disasters with extreme costs around the world.  Lives were lost, structures demolished, and coastal ecosystems destroyed.”

Steve would like to see TCS members collectively continue to advocate and teach ways for sustainable coastal development and post-storm recovery with integrated science, economics, and public policy.

But the top eight members to renew are not just domestically-focused.

Kem Lowry, Emeritus Professor of Urban and Regional Planning with the University of Hawaii
Kem Lowry, Emeritus Professor of Urban and Regional Planning with the University of Hawaii

Kem Lowry, Emeritus Professor of Urban and Regional Planning with the University of Hawaii, has had the good fortune to be involved in coastal planning and research activities in Sri Lanka, Thailand, Indonesia, and the Philippines for about forty years. His primary focus now is climate change adaptation. The last three years Kem has worked with colleagues throughout the Asia-Pacific region delivering week-long training courses on urban climate change adaptation.

In the U.S. Kem is developing a coastal retreat strategy for Hawaii with a team. He told me that in these and other areas of work he has been informed and inspired by the work of colleagues in TCS.

Another climate adaptation specialist in the top eight is Lisa Graichen, Climate Adaptation Program Coordinator for UNH Cooperative Extension and New Hampshire Sea Grant. 

Lisa Graichen, Climate Adaptation Program Coordinator for UNH Cooperative Extension and New Hampshire Sea Grant
Lisa Graichen, Climate Adaptation Program Coordinator for UNH Cooperative Extension and New Hampshire Sea Grant

When asked why she eagerly renewed she said, “TCS has given me the opportunity to connect with coastal management professionals around the country and hone my communications skills by participating in the Communications Subcommittee”.

Personally, I have been very impressed by Lisa’s well-researched articles and interviews. Her writing is engaging for non-scientists and read and shared widely by members and non-members alike. Lisa has astutely used her volunteer time with TCS to strategically grow professionally and she is a great model for all our members hoping to do the same.

Lisa is hoping 2018 will be a year that “we can learn from last year’s incredibly impactful hurricane season and make progress in our preparedness and response”. She thinks “we can elevate the climate conversation so that rebuilding decisions are smart, forward-thinking, and equitable.”

Tom Bigford, Past TCS President and retired from NOAA and the American Fisheries Society.
Tom Bigford, Past TCS President and retired from NOAA and the American Fisheries Society.

With his eye always on the professional development of TCS members, Tom Bigford, Past TCS President and retired from NOAA and the American Fisheries Society, hopes TCS can increase member participation in 2018 so our society can continue and even expand efforts to mentor the next generation of coastal professionals.

Writing earnestly, Tom revealed, “TCS provided just that type of assistance when I transitioned from grad school to professional life. I started in the natural sciences (I was a crab ecologist!) so TCS offered the extension I needed as I sought a more interdisciplinary career. TCS is the sole reason I had a very rewarding 43-year career. Now in retirement I plan to remain involved any way I can.”

Ellen Gordon, a freelance writer and editor (mostly retired), has been a TCS member since her graduate school days when she found the Society a great help “meeting all sorts of folks already in coastal careers”.

Ellen Gordon, a freelance writer and editor (mostly retired).
Ellen Gordon, a freelance writer and editor (mostly retired).

She promptly renewed her TCS membership because she values the connections made, and wants to help support the Society’s continued work fostering dialogue and communications in the coastal area. Ellen was the last editor of the TCS Bulletin (now the TCS Blog) and is excited by the advances in social media TCS has made. “Really love those Twitter posts!”, she exclaimed.

A treasure trove of knowledge and experience is available to all TCS members—Charter members who created TCS in the 1970s. Don Davis stressed this to me in that he has found we learn through reading, experience (including in laboratories), and talking to people. The talking to people being most critical.

While Don believes that our job listings “in itself is worth the price of being a member,” the biggest value TCS brings is being a bridge for those seasoned coastal professionals and those starting out.

In talking to Don, a geologist and cultural geographer, I could find he has a big heart for the people his work serves. Coastal peoples. Professionals and coastal communities. I could tell his desire for better connections among coastal peoples is a decades long desire.

Don has close ties with Acadians, a U.S. cultural group that is perhaps the last generation not to live more than 30 miles from home. Don implores us to include the cultures of coastal peoples in addressing planned retreat. “Resiliency is tattooed to their soul.”

Don wraps up the sentiments of the eight members to renew for 2018 best: “TCS weaves the tapestry of all these things together. I don’t know your age or background. Do I like TCS? Yes ma’am! I do.”

I am renewing this month because I would hate to lose touch with these coastal champions, and with you. Keep the U.S. coastal network strong. Please renew your membership or join today.

TOP FIVE PICKS FOR COASTAL CINEMATOGRAPHY IN 2017

By Kasey R. Jacobs, TCS Communications Chair

2017 was a year of thrilling blockbuster movie releases. Many of this year’s films had stunning cinematography of coastlines from around the world — some iconic and some hidden treasures.

Here are five films reviewed for their coastal cinematography.

When I look at films like these I can’t help but think about the men and women of coastal management who work to preserve and manage these seascapes everyday. Without them, these coastlines would not not be in any shape for their closeups.

If you want breathtaking cinematography of our oceans and coasts by your favorite filmmakers in the future, please consider supporting The Coastal Society today. Visit our donation page.


Star Wars: The Last Jedi

 

Star_Wars_The_Last_Jedi

No spoilers here. All we will say is that the island from the hidden planet of Ahch-To from The Force Awakens plays a big role and does not only exist in a galaxy far, far away. The remote island where filmmakers show is off the coast of Ireland, named Skellig Michael. The island is one of two Skellig islands. The smaller one is called Little Skellig and Skellig Michael is also called Great Skellig. The island was home to monks who removed themselves from civilization between the sixth and eighth centuries to practice Christianity for an estimated 600 years. The huts shown in the movie weren’t built for the movie. They are very real! As coastal professionals we know that the cultural and historical features of our seascapes are very much part of coastal systems; the coastal cinematography of Star Wars: The Last Jedi is surprising proof.

Skillig Michael. Photo Credit: Flickr/James West
Skillig Michael. Photo Credit: Flickr/James West

Justice League

 

Justice_League_film_poster

While we wait for 2018’s release of Aquaman fans were given a bit of a preview with Justice League where Batman recruits Aquaman. The director Zack Snyder filmed some Aquaman scenes (including scenes with Mera, marine warrior and Queen of Atlantis) in Iceland. Beforehand Snyder released a few photos taken on location in Iceland. The photos show Aquaman posing on a gravel road in the desolate Arctic landscape of the northern coast of the Westfjords, known as Strandir. A local boatshed in the village Gjögur, which has been fitted with a sign reading “Newfoundland’s finest seafood”, and a third landscape shot from Strandir. The non-fictional municipality of Árneshreppur has a mere 53 inhabitants tucked into the Strandir coast. In 1917, an industrial herring factor was opened in Djúpavík, but it was abandoned in the 1940s due to the plummeting price of herring. The factory, situated near a small creek by the fjord called Reykjarfjörður, appears in Justice League as a key meeting point for Batman and Aquaman. For those in-the-know, the scene depicts the struggles not only against saving humanity from comic book enemies but also from managing fisheries.

Fjallsjökull. Photo Credit: Flickr/Steve Fernie
Fjallsjökull. Photo Credit: Flickr/Steve Fernie
Amber Heard in the role of Mera in Justice League. Released on Twitter by Warner Bros/Zack Snyder/DC Comics.
Amber Heard in the role of Mera in Justice League. Released on Twitter by Warner Bros/Zack Snyder/DC Comics.

Wonder Woman

 

Wonder_Woman_(2017_film)

The film begins on the fictional island of Themyscira. Creating Wonder Woman’s island home was one of the most challenging aspects of the film’s production design. Two-time Oscar nominated production designer Aline Bonetto told the Hollywood Reporter, “We talked about creating a beautiful island, but not being too close to the Greek islands, which is the obvious inspiration. We wanted a beautiful, natural environment that the Amazons protect as the environment protects them. It’s lush, green.” They filmed the island scenes in Italy and along the Amalfi Coast. The challenge came most during the main battle scene. Filmmakers needed a white beach surrounded by cliffs. Bonetto explained, “But if you look for a real beach with cliff, it’s not possible to film because of the high tides.” The enchanting coastal topography captured by the filmmakers matches the power Wonder Woman learns she possesses.

Palinuro Bay. Photo Credit: Flickr/Bart van Maarseveen
Palinuro Bay. Photo Credit: Flickr/Bart van Maarseveen

Dunkirk

 

Dunkirk_Film_poster

It took more than 60 ships from nine different countries over five months and one marine coordinator to pull off what might be the biggest naval film shoot in history. Neil Andrea, Dunkirk’s Marine Coordinator, filmed on location in Dunkirk with real war ships and fighter planes to recreate the epic battle scenes rather than fill in backdrops with CGI. Andrea is a veteran marine coordinator with a portfolio that includes the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, Captain Phillipsand National TreasureCoastal professionals play more of a role in filmmaking than you would think! (Yes, this is a teaser for a future TCS Blog article.)

Sunset at Dunkirk Harbor. Photo Credit: Flickr/10x.film
Sunset at Dunkirk Harbor. Photo Credit: Flickr/10x.film

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

 

Pirates_of_the_Caribbean,_Dead_Men_Tell_No_Tales

As has become the norm in each of the Pirates films the ocean shots were absolutely stunning and the sailing scenes impressive. For tall ship enthusiasts the return of the Black Pearl and Flying Dutchman were probably expected from trailers but a new ship was introduced, the Silent Mary. Perhaps more surprisingly, this installment of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise did not have a single scene filmed in the Caribbean. Past Pirates movies were filmed in St. Vincent, Dominica, The Bahamas, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, England, and California, among other places. Dead Men Tell No Tales was filmed almost entirely in Australia, mainly in the area where the movie was based in the Gold Coast. In fact, Dead Men Tell No Tales was the biggest motion picture ever shot in Australia. Coastal professionals and Captain Jack Sparrow know, “Not all treasure is silver and gold, mate.” 

Sunrise on the Gold Coast. Photo Credit: Flickr/Tatters
Sunrise on the Gold Coast. Photo Credit: Flickr/Tatters

 

 

Did I miss any movies that had breathtaking coastal cinematography in 2017 (blockbuster hits or independent films)? Write me a quick note or create a comment below and we will update the list.

TCS MEMBERS IN OREGON AND SOUTH CAROLINA REPORT THEIR EXPERIENCES DURING THE ECLIPSE

Editor’s Note: This article is a follow-up to two other TCS articles on the Great American Eclipse of 2017.

OREGON

Meg Reed | Oregon Coastal Management Program, Newport, OR

Newport, OR – The morning of the total solar eclipse started out the way many mornings on the coast in the summer do, foggy. I worried that I wouldn’t be able to fully experience the solar eclipse and that if I chose to drive further inland, I would be stuck in traffic and crowds. Instead, I decided to wait it out. By 8:30 am, the mist was burning off and by the time I brought my chair to the backyard at 9 am, the sun was fully out and there was barely a cloud in the sky! I couldn’t believe our luck!

My excitement intensified when I put on my solar eclipse glasses and saw the first sign of the eclipse starting around 9:04 am – a small chunk missing from the top right side of the sun, like someone had taken a small nibble out of a cookie. The moon was starting its movement across the sun and it was so exhilarating to see it happening right before my eyes! Over the next half hour, I continued to watch the sun disappear slowly behind the moon through my viewing glasses. After about 40-minutes or so, I noticed that the light was getting dimmer and the air temperature was getting colder. I had to put on more layers as I sat watching the light continue to dim and the temperature continue to drop.

Finally, around 10:15 am, the last sliver of the sun went behind the moon and I could take off my glasses to fully witness totality. The sky was instantly dark – comparable to the last moments of twilight – and the sun’s glow was shining around the moon. It was so incredibly wonderful! I wasn’t prepared for how amazing the moment of totality would be. It was truly awe-inspiring. While I was with only my husband in our backyard, we heard whoops and shouts of excitement across the neighborhood from others watching the event. Small fireworks starting going off nearby as people celebrated. You could feel the excitement in the air as we all stopped to observe this event.

And then, just like that, the sun started shining through the other side as the moment of totality ended and I put my glasses back on to watch the moon continue its journey the other way. The sunlight came back and over the next hour, the temperature got warmer and the light got stronger until the eclipse officially ended around 11:36 am in Newport and it was a normal sunny day again.

"My excitement intensified when I put on my solar eclipse glasses and saw the first sign of the eclipse starting around 9:04am..."
“My excitement intensified when I put on my solar eclipse glasses and saw the first sign of the eclipse starting around 9:04am…”

SOUTH CAROLINA

Rebecca Love | Coastal Management Specialist at NOAA Office for Coastal Management

I watched the eclipse with my family and neighbors at the end of our street.  The street ends at the Ashley River so the view was great – plenty of open sky above and marsh below.  It was a cloudy afternoon with a thunderstorm threatening to move in, but we were able to see the eclipse and totality through the clouds and the occasional gap in the clouds.   My two daughters were so excited.  We talked about what we might see and feel and how to watch safely.  That morning they made eclipse cupcakes to share with fellow on-lookers.

Totality was 94 amazing seconds!  Not only was it awesome and a little eerie, but it was a sort of bonding experience with those around you.   As the sky grew darker, everyone became silent.  Street lights came on, the temperature dropped a few degrees, a few stars became visible and everyone was in awe.  Afterwards some people clapped, some left and went home, and my 8-year-old said “that was awesome!”  I feel so lucky to have experienced this with my family from my own front yard.

Hanging with the neighbors at the end of the street
Hanging with the neighbors at the end of the street
Kids and me in the yard.
Kids and me in the yard.

Margaret Allen | The Baldwin Group at NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management

I should have stayed close to home. I missed the whole darn thing. As I was driving out to the eclipse party, the sky was getting darker (weather-related, not eclipse-related) and it started raining. Booo. The coast (where I came from) had some clouds, but stayed pretty clear. Inland (where I went), was stormy and cloudy the whole time. Eclipse-viewing-location fail.

But even though I didn’t see it, I did have a cool eclipse experience. Actually, I did get to see one little glimpse when I made a stop and whipped out my eclipse glasses on the way out to the party–that was cool. And even though the weather was a mixture of cloudy, sprinkling, and/or pouring the whole time, at the moment of totality, we still got to experience the “everything got dark” moment. Nighttime dark, not just overcast dark. And the temperature dropped what seemed like 15 degrees. We were all a little wet from the rain, and we all were freezing. It’s a strange feeling to get the chills outside in Charleston in August. To make it even more exciting, we were looking out over the Ashley River, and you could see the lightning bolts over the water and the thunder was rumbling. Spooky. We had fun talking about what people in ancient times must have thought when something like that happened. We decided they must have thought the world was ending. Even Lizzie and Ellie weren’t sure about the whole thing, and my lap was full of chilly and slightly freaked out little girls. Actually I think their biggest concern was that they might have to go to bed since it was dark. Haha.

So I didn’t see it, but I ‘experienced’ it. And it was a fun party, we grilled out, splashed around in the puddles, roasted marshmallows, and had fun looking up when and where we could see the next total eclipse.  And my kids still have their eye sight. So that’s a plus. Maybe in 2024 we’ll head to Texas or New York and try again.

BEYOND THE MARKETING LINGO: HOW SAFE ARE YOUR PERSONAL CARE PRODUCTS?

By Caitlyn Hayes, The Coastal Society Communications Intern 2016, Eckerd College Undergraduate Student studying Biology and Environmental Studies

Editors’ Note: The mention of certain products does not imply endorsement by TCS members or officers.

Many of you are marine and freshwater enthusiasts in some way, shape or form. Have you ever given thought to your personal care products (lotions, toothpaste, soap, sunscreen, etc.) and how they interact with the systems you love?

You would think that, like with any product you use, they are safe for you or your pets. Normally, our worst experience with these products would be getting them in our eyes, causing irritation. Concern for the impact of personal care products (PCPs), however, goes beyond worries of eye irritation as they enter waterways. PCP presence in waste water could pose problems for aquatic life in coastal ecosystems. Human health is also potentially at risk if these substances get into drinking water supplies or are absorbed into your body’s blood stream. But how would you know based on the labeling and lingo presented on the product? Despite these problems, unclear labels on these personal care products can be a barrier for knowing what to use and what is safe not only for the ocean, but also for you.

You hear all the time about pharmaceuticals being monitored and the public asked to not dispose of them down sinks; to avoid their presence in our drinking water since the filters at waste treatment plants cannot filter them out. Now microbeads in facial washes, toothpaste, and body scrubs are also being banned due to their effects on oceanic life. These microbeads increase the amount of microplastics in the ocean, as they are made of plastic fibers. When the ban was made on the microbeads, the companies had two years to remove them to find substitutes, and the stores to pull them off their shelves so consumers no longer could purchase these items. So what is to say about the effects of other personal care products on the market?

Photo Credit: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/microbead-ban-chang-way-you-clean-brianna-drisdale

Imagine it is a beautiful day and you decide you want to go to the beach and bring your family. This is your favorite beach because not only is there fun to be had in the warm sand, but you love to snorkel and just a little ways off the beach is a beautiful little reef where you can explore. The moment you arrive you see the sun is intense today, so you will definitely need to apply a lot of sunscreen to avoid burning your skin. You pull out your favorite brand and apply as much to cover every exposed part of your body. Once smoothed out with no white residue left on your skin, you strap on your snorkel and run to the water. The water is beautiful today, and crystal clear, but you notice that there is a strange film on the surface of the water. The film is shiny, at certain angles has a metallic look, and in some cases looks like an oil floating in water. In the back of your mind you wonder, “What could that be?”

If you are me five years ago, you think it is salt and whale pee hanging out on the surface of the water. Have you ever wondered why sunscreen bottles tell you to reapply when you get out of the water? Like any product, it washes off in water. And as you are making your way to the reef to explore, that film is your sunscreen washing off your body. Have you ever thought about what chemicals are in your sunscreen?

You would think that as a product that has constant contact with the ocean and freshwater due to recreational fun, that it would be safe or tested to be safe for marine life. Unfortunately, while sunscreens require much analysis for skin safety on humans, there is little testing on effects to aquatic life. It is estimated that 4,000 to 6,000 tons of sunscreen enters our oceans from washing off our body every year. There are some products that market themselves as eco-friendly and cause no harm to any species that has contact with them. Consumers should be aware though, that “no harm” can be true for any product based on the type of testing that is done, as well as the concentrations used to test. This can greatly skew the results showing the product is nontoxic or not harmful, if reasonable concentrations or test subjects are not chosen carefully.

Photo Credits: Stream2Sea®
Photo Credits: Stream2Sea®

Autumn Blum, an alumni from Eckerd College, is an active diver and coral reef enthusiast who decided that she wanted to find a better way to create personal care products by removing the harmful chemicals and replacing them with less or non-harmful chemicals. So she created Stream2Sea® the first performance-based sunscreen and bodycare line without using any ingredients known to be harmful. Oxybenzone, a common active ingredient in thousands of sunscreens and lotions, has been shown to be a mutagen, an endocrine disruptor, and a reproductive toxicant for both marine and terrestrial species, and also humans as it is absorbed into the blood stream. It has been found in human breast milk and urine as it lingers in body and blood stream. Not only is this chemical a toxicant to marine species, but you can also look for other active ingredients, such as, benzophenone-2, octinoxate and parabens on the ingredients label. The purpose of these chemicals are for dispersion on the skin, so Autumn replaced those harmful chemicals with non-nano titanium dioxide, non-nano TiO2. This chemical has been shown to not cause harm to other species. When exposed to concentrations higher than what is likely in recreational water supplies, her sunscreen products have resulted in little to no effects on the marine and freshwater fish, and corals that they have tested.

At the moment there is very little research regarding what is toxic and the exact effects the chemicals have on marine species. So there is no standard for what is considered to be safe for marine life. It is up to customers to make the decision to read the label for the active and inactive ingredients already known to cause harm to marine life and to your own bodies. Get rid of the harmful residue coming off your skin as you swim. Look beyond the marketing lingo and read the labels. Think about the ocean, and your own health!


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