Eric Swenson, communications and outreach director for the Global Ocean Health Program, discussed media coverage of ocean acidification with NSWA members and guests on Dec. 11 at University House.

The program opened with a short scientific explanation of acidification, the lowering of the seas’ pH due to manmade CO2 emissions. It has only recently been recognized as one of the major threats facing humanity. Washington and Oregon are ground zero for acidification. By 2009 the Northwest seed oyster industry was experiencing losses of up to 80% of its larvae. Swenson reviewed how the industry has recovered for now and then turned to looking at how the media has covered the subject.

Swenson is Communications & Outreach Director for the Global Ocean Health Program, which has focused on ocean acidification since 2006. Over the last four decades, he has worked on sustainability efforts with such groups as the International Union for Conservation of Nature and the UN Environment Programme. For a dozen years, he covered conservation and technology for Pacific Fishing, Seafood Business, and National Fisherman.

Swenson helped to support the Washington State Blue Ribbon Panel on Ocean Acidification, primarily as a writer/editor and as an alternate member. Following release of the panel’s report, he has led outreach and education and coordinated media relations to promote the panel’s 42 recommendations. He is the (co)author of six books, including “The Complete Baseball Player” with Hall of Famer Dave Winfield and “DNA in the Courtroom” with Howard Coleman.

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