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New Center to Focus on Solving Ocean Problems

Publication Date: 
January 10, 2008
Source: 
Los Angeles Times
Author: 
Kenneth R. Weiss

The Los Angeles Times quotes Professor Buzz Thompson and Senior Lecturer Meg Caldwell about the new Center for Ocean Solutions:

Stanford University and Monterey Bay Aquarium and its research institute, with $25 million from the Packard Foundation, on Wednesday launched a new academic center that will focus not on the problems plaguing the world's oceans, but on how to solve them.

The Center for Ocean Solutions, if it follows its mission, will be a marked departure from the traditional academic exercise of marine scientists: to define and analyze problems such as overfishing, the effects of global warming, coastal development and pollution streaming off the land.

Instead, the center aims to bring together scientists and experts in economics and business to meet with government policy makers so they can work out solutions and begin their implementation, said Buzz Thompson, a Stanford law professor.

That usually involves overcoming objections from industries that thwart change for fear of economic loss, Thompson said. So the plan is to engage experts and business leaders to maneuver around such hurdles.

"Solving the oceans' problems is not just assembling the usual cast of characters, but getting others involved," said Thompson, who is also co-director of Stanford's interdisciplinary Woods Institute for the Environment.

...

"The oceans have largely been ignored," said Meg Caldwell, a Stanford law professor who will run the Center for Ocean Solutions until a permanent director is found. Caldwell said she was encouraged by international efforts to address climate change, but added: "That's only half the story. The other half is the critical role that oceans play in sustaining the human population."