Talking Trash

Talking Trash: Online Outreach from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch

Saturday, January 16 11:30am – 12:35pm

D. Talking Trash: Online Outreach from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch – Miriam Goldstein, Lindsey Hoshaw, and Annie Crawley

Description: Debris in the North Pacific Gyre received unprecedented attention in 2009 with voyages from the Algalita Marine Research Foundation, Project Kaisei, and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Each voyage integrated online outreach into its mission, but emphasized very different aspects of the problem. What are the challenges of creating a major outreach effort from one of the most isolated places on earth? How can scientists, journalists, and educators balance “exciting findings live from the field!” with “highly preliminary unpublished non-peer-reviewed data that our labwork might contradict”? And why is the public so interested in the issue of trash in the ocean, anyway?

Discuss:

Note: Bonnie Monteleone was originally going to be on the panel but unfortunately had a scheduling conflict.

Resources
We intend these to be multimedia resources that you can access during or after the discussion. Also check out the background on our gyre experiences below.

From Miriam:

This is not the gyre, but it still is #1 on the Google Image search
This and this aren’t either. (wait, who’s crappy blog linked to that second one???)
This is the highest concentration of plastic bits that we saw out there.
SEAPLEX Google map with linked photos

From Miriam:
We are planning on letting our panel be largely audience-driven, but we would like to get a feel for what you are interested in. (If you are not attending Science Online, fret not – our session will be either livestreamed or recorded or both – if livestreamed you can ask questions on the web.) I can’t speak for my co-moderators, but I don’t want this session to get too hung up on specific marine debris issues – I think it would be much more interesting to talk about our experience trying to meld real-time science, nonprofit advocacy, outreach, and journalism.

Here are some preliminary questions. Please comment and tell us what you think. This is also posted at the Oyster’s Garter, and you are invited to comment there as well.

– Why is the media & the public so interested in trash in the ocean? Can this interest be leveraged/created for other issues?

– We are three people with different perspectives on what is important in communication: a scientist, a journalist, and a journalist-artist-filmmaker-documentarian.
What were our disagreements? Here’s a few examples off the top of my head: I did not agree with much of Lindsey’s NYT article; Annie had a tough time getting stressed-out scientists (me included!) to work with her while at sea, SIO is an academic institution while Project Kaisei and AMRF are nonprofit advocacy groups.

– Do we as scientists/journalist/artists have a common goal? Beyond Littering Is Bad? Is loving the ocean enough? If we do have a common goal, what are lessons learned from this summer? What would we do differently next time? Can we offer advice to other scientists/journalists/artists trying to work together?

– How can scientists, journalists, and educators balance “exciting findings live from the field!” with “highly preliminary unpublished non-peer-reviewed data that our labwork might contradict”? For example, one thing that is tough with advocacy and education is the scientific emphasis on peer-reviewed publication – the timescale is waaaay too slow for good real-time communication. How can we be accurate, entertaining, and educational?

Here’s some background on our experiences in the Gyre:

Miriam

SEAPLEX outreach website

SEAPLEX blog

SEAPLEX Twitter

Great FAQ on the gyre from NOAA Marine Debris program
SEAPLEX FAQ
Response to Lindsey’s NYT article

Video of me explaining SEAPLEX, from before we went to sea

Annie

Blog from SEAPLEX

Videos from SEAPLEX (not all in playlist are Annie’s – look for Dive Imagination at the beginning)

Photos from SEAPLEX

Google map with more videos

Dive Into Your Imagination main site

Lindsey

Spot.us fundraising page

Blog

NYT article

Some blog entries on the Spot.us funding: PBS, Poynter, Columbia Journalism Review