International Marine Conference – Day 1
4th March, 2019
On Wednesday 20 February, a group of four biology students were lucky enough to attend Scotland’s International Marine Conference, Glasgow.
It was evident from the start that the conference was all-inclusive and not only for experts in the field of marine life, which certainly benefitted the four of us.
We spent the morning visiting many stands, one of which included a proposal for customers to return cans and plastic bottles to stores to receive a small sum of money as a result – a scheme that has already been implemented in mainland Europe.
We then had our lunch which consisted of some delicious, yet interesting, food which was mostly vegan. During lunch, we discussed the stands we had all been to and were enlightened by Dr Lilley on his charity, Project Seagrass.
After lunch, we all made our way to the lecture room to hear three speeches from three different people: the first speech was by the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, who discussed the future and why Scotland has a critical role to play in saving our oceans. She also mentioned the implementation of the cash for bottles policy, which I mentioned earlier. Second to speak, by video address, was Karmenu Vella, the European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries. And finally, it was the turn of inspirational speaker and UN Ocean Ambassador, Lewis Pugh. For me, and I am sure for the other boys, Lewis’s address about him swimming 1km in the Arctic Ocean in sub-zero ocean temperatures to raise awareness for melting icecaps, was truly eye-opening and one of the highlights of the day!
After a short break, we moved on to the final event of the day, a session on climate change. This session was two hours long and included speakers from many universities and conservation agencies, but focussed on how biodiversity can be improved, and how developing our understanding of blue carbon could make a difference. The session was genuinely interesting and was concluded by a question and answer session.
To round up the day, there was a drinks reception, which, unfortunately, us boys and Dr Lilley were not able to attend, as ‘we had to beat the rush hour traffic’ back to Edinburgh. Joking aside though, all of us were looking forward to returning for day two of the conference, but not so much to the early wake up required the next day!
Alex, LVI Form