Written by Baylee Bunce
This post is part of our digital ethnography of the World Conservation Congress conducted by nine students in Laura Zanotti's Anthropology of Water (Anth392) class at Purdue University.
As the IUCN's World Conservation Congress comes to a conclusion, I have been able to watch the development of Marine-centered issues across my various sites. As most of my sites have booths at the WCC, it has been great to also see them share information about the work they have been actively doing in real time at the event. Many of my sites have shown increased activity during the WCC, especially the larger organizations Mission Blue and the Marine Conservation Institute. And although smaller organizations have sometimes had limited updates, the few updates have provided very useful comments on different issues, such as marine litter and indigenous rights and activism.
Across multiple sites there has been a lot of attention paid to both Motion 26 and #30by30. From what I understand of Motion 26, it has incredibly important implications for both indigenous rights regarding natural resources and bodies of water. I find the relevance to the current situation in South Dakota very interesting and I am eager to see how it plays out towards the end of the WCC. The campaign for 30% of oceans protected by 2030 has also been very prominent in the posts from most of my sites. I've noticed that support for the petition is commonly accompanied by #RightsofNature and #HarmonyWithNature, implying the link between oceans and global environmental wellness and responsibility. The addition of "harmony" has been a newer hash tag and I think the emphasis on the idea of nature having explicit rights along with the possibility of living well with nature is a discourse that I want to follow as the congress begins to conclude.
Finally, the majority of updates that have drawn my attention are those that speak to the relationship between marine issues and people explicitly. An article posted by Marine Conservation International talked about the links between poverty and marine conservation, particularly the importance of conserving marine resources to avoid or alleviate poverty in various places of the world. I have also seen more connections being made by sites between indigenous rights and conservation, particularly articles promoting the inclusion of indigenous rights and ideas into environmental policy decisions.
Overall, I have seen issues related to marine conservation develop in very different, but connected ways across my different sites. While much attention is still paid to Obama's designation of the large Marine Protected Area, those updates are now including critical discussion around the topic. Most of the sites have increased their attention to critical discussion and avid activism as the WCC has progressed. I expect to see this become even more apparent in the next two days.
In the field...
Follow our team as we cover international environmental policy making meetings.
Dr. Kimberly R. Marion Suiseeya, Department of Political Science, Northwestern University
Dr. Laura Zanotti, Department of Anthropology, Purdue University
Follow us on Twitter