World Maritime Day, Thinking About the Present and Our Future
Posted by LT Connie Braesch, Saturday, October 17, 2009
Ensign Cook is out and about again. This time she isn’t in the “field” with operational Coast Guard units. Rather, she is up in New York City taking in the sites and festivities around the World Maritime Day Parallel Event. She is also live Tweeting @cgcompass.
Post Written By Ensign Lindsay Cook
On a rainy and rather cold day I flew from Norfolk, VA to New York City, NY to attend World Maritime Day’s Parallel Event at Pier 60. The theme for the event is “Climate Change: A Challenge for IMO (International Maritime Organization) too.”
Only knowing generalities about climate change and its consequences, I anticipated being educated about what the maritime industry is doing to be environmentally contentious. However, I took much more than information from this event. The passion with which people spoke about the desperate need to use greener technology was phenomenal.
The Commandant of the United States Coast Guard, Admiral Allen, opened the first panel with a letter from President Obama. A key quote from the letter states, “America is committed to leadership and global climate change.” President Obama’s statement was clearly supported through the innovative technology and engineering discussed in several panels. Professionals from different agencies shared what their organizations are doing to become environmentally efficient and praised the strides of the IMO for the changes made in the maritime industry.
What I found to be most impressive about this event is the attitude surrounding the green incentives. Secretary-General of the IMO, Mr. Efthimios E. Mitropoulos pronounced, “We owe it to our children to pass it [the Earth] down as green and healthy as possible.” After hearing Mr. Efthimios’ statement, I realized the obvious; education, change and action are key to being a good steward of the Earth. Admiral Allen also reiterated the need to protect the Earth because the next generation will inherit the long lasting results of today’s work.
Although the panels were interesting, I was most interested in the science fair. High school and university students submitted projects and displayed them at the event. The competition among the students was stiff, but to see the creative ingenuity of young adults was refreshing and provided a beacon of hope. Here a few of the project titles: “An Alternative to Cold Ironing”, “The Multi Decomposition on the Amount and Quality of Bio Diesel Extract from Hickory Nuts” and “Potential for Diesel Emission Reduction in the Maritime Industry.”
I had the opportunity to have an in-depth conversation with one of the science fair contestants and found what she had to say extremely interesting. I usually do a guardian profile, but for this post I’ve decided to feature Nicole Devine an environmental engineering student at Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Nicole’s project is titled, “Potential for Diesel Emission Reduction in the Maritime Industry” and I was curious what made her select that topic.
I was informed that Nicole had spent some time in Alaska on a boat working on an oil spill and the boat was emitting harmful exhaust straight into her living space (on the boat). She said that there are simple remedies for harmful exhaust and based her project on her experience. As we continued talking I asked Nicole why she wants to be an environmental engineer and with much passion she said, “I want to help my environment and people. I want to make a difference.” There’s no doubt in my mind that she will one day make a huge difference and the fact that she is dedicating her life’s work to making positive changes is a highlight of her character! She plans on getting her masters in environmental engineering.
Prior to flying to New York I visited Plaza Middle School in Virginia Beach, VA to talk to a few classes about World Maritime Day and the Coast Guard. The students I spoke to are exceptionally bright and are in an advanced program. These children are the generation that will inherit the consequences of how humans currently interact with their environment.
What I took away from this event is, we are all responsible for doing our part to help the earth and it’s not about pointing fingers. We all need to do what we are capable of and for some it’s designing fuel-efficient vessels and others, it’s recycling common household containers. Do what you can…it will benefit us all in the long run.
We should all be doing our part to be Earth friendly, so here are a few simple tips on how to be green:
-Conserve energy. Use electricity only when you need it (i.e. turning lights off when not in the room).
-Recycle. Make sure you’re not throwing away items that don’t belong in trash bins (i.e. plastic and aluminum bottles).
-If you drive to work consider carpooling or use public transportation.
-Bring your own bags to the grocery store. Now I know most everyone has seen the “green” bags grocery stores sell instead of using paper or plastic.
-Don’t pollute. Use a proper method of disposing unwanted materials.
Until next time,
-ENS Lindsay Cook