April 23, 2020
4:00 pm PDT - 5:00 pm PDT
Save Our Shores
More information / to register
We will share two half hour+ interviews followed by a Q&A with Alexii Sigona of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band and David Helvarg of Executive Director of the Blue Frontier Campaign.
4:00pm—The full length version of “Restoring Indigenous Ocean Stewardship to California’s Central Coast,” a dialog between the ocean conservation organization Save Our Shores’ Executive Director and the Chairman, and two tribal youth members, of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band. (An abbreviated version of this interview will be shown on the national Earth Day Live stream.) Details below.
4:30pm—”Bringing the Ocean Climate Action Plan to Life,” a dialog between the ocean conservation organization Save Our Shores’ Executive Director and the Director of the Center for the Blue Economy at Middlebury Institute of International Studies. Details below.
5:15pm—Q&A about climate-focused regenerative ocean goals and implementation and the importance of indigenous ocean stewardship in this work following the two interviews.
The Amah Mutsun are an a historic and continuous California Tribe that is composed of the descendants of Indigenous peoples taken to the missions Santa Cruz and San Juan Bautista. The Amah Mutsun is comprised of over 600 enrolled members and is not federally-recognized tribe. The Tribe was forcibly removed from it ancestral territory beginning the late 1700’s and today the owns no land. The Amah Mutsun maintain their sacred obligation to care for Mother Earth and all living things. In 2013 the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band established the Amah Mutsun Land Trust, a non-profit organization that serves as a vehicle for the Tribe to return to the path of their ancestors and restore their role as environmental stewards of their ancestral lands. The Amah Mutsun Land Trust has a successful Native Stewardship Corps program, which engages Tribal youth in the research, restoration, and Indigenous stewardship work to which the land trust is committed. Four years ago the Tribe began the difficult process of restoring the indigenous knowledge of how their ancestors stewarded and managed and stewarded ocean and coastal environments. We will trace that journey during this conversation, and learn how the Amah Mutsun are restoring their traditional practices and relationship with the ocean to mitigate the harmful effects of climate change.
The mission of the Center for the Blue Economy is to promote a sustainable, resilient ocean and coastal economy (the “Blue Economy”) through leadership in research, analysis, and education. The “Blue Economy” comprises the economic activities that create sustainable wealth from the world’s oceans and coasts. The center examines ways that ocean and coastal resources can support economic development and enhance healthy, resilient oceans and well-managed coastlines. The center’s research focuses on two areas—helping organizations understand how to measure the size and changing nature of economic relationships with the oceans and coasts in order to guide choices and monitor progress, and the economics of climate change adaptation in coastal regions.
Katherine O’Dea is Executive Director of Save Our Shores, an ocean conservation organization located in the Monterey Bay area of California. As a nonprofit leader, conservationist, and sustainability expert, Katherine has tackled environmental challenges from coast to coast for the last 25 years. She has worked for environmental organizations including Business Social Responsibility, GreenBlue, and the Nantucket Conservation Foundation. Katherine is an expert on product and packaging sustainability and identifying pathways for abating plastic waste which comprises so much of the debris in our marine environments.
Valentin Lopez is the Chairman of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band, one of three historic tribes that are recognized as Ohlone. The Amah Mutsun are comprised of the indigenous descendants forcibly taken to Missions San Juan Bautista and Santa Cruz. Chairman Lopez is also the President of the Amah Mutsun Land Trust which was established in 2012. He is a Native American Advisor to the University of California, Office of the President on issues related to repatriation. He is also a Native American Adviser to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and the Phoebe Hearst Museum of Anthropology. The Amah Mutsun are currently working to restore their traditional indigenous knowledge regarding land stewardship so they can return to the path of their ancestors. Consequently, the Amah Mutsun are very active in conservation and protection efforts within their traditional tribal territory. Chairman Lopez is working to restore the Mutsun Language and is a traditional Mutsun singer and dancer.
Alexii Sigona is a member of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band and seasonal steward for the Amah Mutsun Land Trust. He is currently a Ph.D. student in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management at the University of California, Berkeley and serves on the board of directors of Roots & Routes IC. Alexii is particularly interested in how indigenous peoples’ engagement in land stewardship practices can be integral for cultural revitalization. Given his experience as a tribal steward, he is also interested in collaborative natural resource management and access rights for indigenous communities in California. In the future, Alexii hopes to increase avenues for indigenous communities to be the leaders in environmental decision making affecting their respective homelands.
Steven Pratt is a descendant of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band and an active member of the Amah Mutsun Land Trust Native Stewardship Corps. He is currently a student at Cabrillo College studying environmental sciences with a focus in marine science. He works with the Stewards of the Amah Mutsun Land Trust doing plankton research at Cabrillo College. Steven’s interests lie with restoration of native plants, animals, and culture. He has also been accepted to go work with the Native people of Ulithi Atoll with One People One Reef, working with their process of restoring coral reefs. He hopes to continue a path of restoration that is indigenous led.
Jason Scorse is Chair of the International Environmental Policy Program and Director of the Center for the Blue Economy at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies. He teaches courses in environmental & natural resource economics, sustainable development, and behavior design. His work focuses on ocean and coastal policy and helping to transition the world towards a plant-based food system.
David Helvarg is executive director of Blue Frontier, an ocean and coastal conservation nonprofit. Blue Frontier is lobbying, along with the Center for the Blue Economy for what some refer to as a Blue New Deal — a comprehensive set of policies and programs to protect ocean health and help coastal communities adapt to climate change. For example, they want to see policies that reform the National Flood Insurance Program and protect critical fish habitat. They also advocate for restoring coastal ecosystems that can naturally buffer storm waves. Helvarg says prioritizing oceans and coastlines can save lives, strengthen the economy and “restore a healthy and vital ocean that so many of us grew up with.”