Future Oceans: an inspiring seminar from Prof. Callum Roberts

On Tuesday greenSTEMS got together to attend a seminar on the predicted future of our oceans by Prof. Callum Roberts (University of York, Environment Department). The seminar was organised by EnviroSoc as part of York Science Week 2014- a fantastic collaboration between scientific societies, to host a variety of stimulating seminars throughout the week, which will culminate with an unmissable science fair at the Ron Cooke Hub this Saturday.

Callum is a marine conservation biologist, with a special interest in coral reefs, and the impact of human activity on marine ecosystems. The research he presented provided an invaluable broad overview of marine conservation issues, and a sobering reminder of the reality of the environmental changes we’re facing; over the past 24 years, increases in ocean sea level have followed the “Worst Case Scenario” prediction from the 1990 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change assessment report.

In terms of what we can do to protect our oceans, Callum’s action list included:

  • Securing more marine reserves, protecting and restoring critical habitats which are being destroyed
  • Fish using less habitat-destructive equipment
  • Ban fishing >0.5 miles deep, where the ecosystem is less productive and can recover less quickly
  • Develop more sustainable aquaculture systems
  • Prevent and reduce ocean pollution

…and Callum’s tongue-in-cheek advice for “keeping chipper” in our changing and challenging future environment?

  1. Maintain an “ignorance is bliss”-inspired lifestyle
  2. Develop a morally-questionable ethos
  3. Surround yourself with young people, who tend to be more optimistic and motivated to safeguard our planet

greenSTEM-ers may be interested in Prof. Roberts’ book “Ocean of Life”, which has received fantastic reviews; ‘Compelling … Roberts is that precious pearl: a practising scientist who not only knows his field inside out, but also understands how to write’ Guardian

Details and tickets for all York Science Week events can be found at: www.york.ac.uk/news-and-events/events/public-lectures/

Contributed by Emily Johnston (Secretary of greenSTEMS)

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