Meet a scientist: The sustainable-seafood guru

Jack Kittinger

Senior Director Jack Kittinger freediving in Bali, Indonesia. Manta Rays visit cleaning stations on coral reefs where reef fish remove parasites. (© Conservation International/photo by Mark Erdmann)

Editor’s note: A recent survey found that 81 percent of Americans could not name a living scientist. No, not a single one. At Conservation International (CI), we have lots of scientists you should know. Here’s one.

Jack Kittinger is senior director of the global fisheries and aquaculture program for Conservation International’s Center for Oceans, focusing on sustainability in the seafood sector.

Human Nature spoke with Kittinger about his aquatic upbringing, and the uncertain future of the seafood we eat.

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Climate costs, restoring forests, nurdle spills: 3 big stories you may have missed

Aerial shot of forest, Brazil. (© Neil Palmer/CIAT for Center for International Forestry Research/Flickr Creative Commons)

Editor’s note: News about conservation and the environment is made every day, but some of it can fly under the radar. In a recurring feature, Human Nature shares three stories from the past week that you should know about.

  1. Moody’s Analytics says climate change could cost $69 trillion by 2100

In a new climate change report, the consulting firm estimates the financial impact of climate change on the global economy.

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Pacific islands face hardships as tuna follow warming waters


Yellowfin and Bigeye Tuna in the Pacific Ocean. (© Fabien Forget/ISSF)

Climate change is hitting the Pacific islands — hard. As sea levels rise four times faster than the global average, ocean warming is altering the habitat of tuna, a fish paramount to the economies and diets of these nations.

Human Nature spoke with Johann Bell, senior director of Pacific tuna fisheries at Conservation International, about his latest research into the powerful ways climate change is expected to affect tuna populations — and your lunch.

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Women conservation leaders ‘a tide lifting everyone’

Meity Mongdong speaks at the “Women on a Mission” event on June 8, 2019 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by David Poller Photography/Getty Images for Conservation International)

The climate crisis affects women disproportionately: They’re 14 times more likely to die during a disaster and constitute 80 percent of all climate refugees.

But a new wave of women conservation leaders is spearheading efforts around the world to prevent and adapt to the impacts wrought by climate breakdown.

ELLE magazine dedicated its July issue to women in conservation — from indigenous leaders and politicians to scientists and activists. Three of these women, from Conservation International, spoke recently about their experiences on the front lines of conservation.

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In Bonn, ’superheroes of the environment’ take center stage

Jennifer Morris, Conservation International president, speaks at the Global Landscapes Forum in Bonn June 22, 2019. (© CIFOR)

The only solution to protecting nature is “radical collaboration” that elevates the rights and roles of the world’s indigenous communities, said a leading conservationist at a global gathering on Saturday.

Indigenous and local activists around the world are the “superheroes of the environmental movement,” Conservation International president Jennifer Morris told attendees at the Global Landscapes Forum (GLF), a side event of the UN climate conference in Bonn, Germany.

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‘Ecological SWAT team’ documents treasures from a lost city

RAP in Honduras, 2017. (© Trond Larsen)

In today’s world, it seems like a tale from a quaint storybook or the “Indiana Jones” movies.

But a sensational archaeological find in an unexplored jungle, and a subsequent expedition to see what wildlife roamed there, was real as it was surprising to the explorers who ventured there.

In 2017, a team of researchers traveled to the fabled “Lost City of the Monkey God” (also known as the “White City”) in Honduras, a recently discovered set of ancient ruins deep within the Central American country’s Mosquitia rainforest. The group, including Trond Larsen of Conservation International, braved parasites and predators to conduct a biological survey of the surrounding area, a previously unexplored tract of pristine tropical forest.

What they found: an overwhelming richness of wildlife, including several species thought extinct.

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Rising emissions, unstable markets, plant annihilation: 3 big stories you might have missed

Oil drill in Los Angeles, California. (© VisionsofAmerica/Joe Sohm)

Editor’s note: News about conservation and the environment is made every day, but some of it can fly under the radar. In a recurring feature, Human Nature shares three stories from the past week that you should know about.

1. Erratic weather boosts energy demand, denting climate goals: BP

Extreme temperatures from climate change caused increased energy consumption and carbon emissions in 2018.

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How an unheralded US law could help protect Africa’s forests

Elephants walk through a clearing in the Vumbura Plains, Okavango Delta, Botswana. (© Jon McCormack)

How do you protect the world’s last large source of arable land, minerals and fossil fuels while supporting a population projected to more than double in 40 years?

It’s a question countries across the African continent are answering as they balance explosive growth with protecting the natural world — the wildlife, forests and fresh water that underpin their economies.

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Biblical floods, polluting cruise ships, tracking seals: 3 big stories you might have missed

Young southern elephant seal in Antarctica. (© Conservation International/photo by Russell A. Mittermeier)

Editor’s note: News about conservation and the environment is made every day, but some of it can fly under the radar. In a recurring feature, Human Nature shares three stories from the past week that you should know about.

1. After a biblical spring, this is the week that could break the Corn Belt

Record-breaking flooding in America’s “breadbasket” threatens prime planting season.

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Amid din of global climate debate, silence is golden

Young mangroves at sunset. (© Matthew D Potenski 2011/Marine Photobank)

With “stop the climate apocalypse” at the top of her to-do list, Shyla Raghav hit pause — or, rather, the mute button. At a silent retreat last month, Conservation International’s head of climate change eschewed technology and media in favor of meditation for 12 hours a day.

At the end of the 10 days, she emerged with a renewed sense of optimism and commitment to the very real, very immediate problem of what on Earth we’re going to do to stop climate change.

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