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October 2022 Research Summaries and Sustainability Tips

Check out this month's research and sustainability tips to learn more about marine protected areas and octopuses (yes, it's octopuses, not octopi)!


So, why is the new Inflation Reduction Act such a big deal? Well, if implemented correctly, the act actually sets the US on track to reduce carbon emissions by 40% by 2030, a monumental undertaking that was nearly impossible before the act was passed.

Potentially the most significant piece of the infrastructure is that it doesn’t just allocate a lot of money to implementing climate solutions and provide incentives to switch to renewable energy technologies - it actually sets aside funding for communities to engage in climate solutions at the local level.


One of the most significant contributions the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 made to supporting real climate solutions is setting aside money to invest in local community-led efforts to reduce effects of climate change. Specifically pertaining to ocean efforts, the act allocated about $3.3 billion dollars to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which will be periodically released through grants and funding opportunities. The act is still so new that it might be a while until we see any of this funding trickle down through grants, but as we wait to see the funding appear for our communities there are three key actions we can take to prepare!

  1. Learn about the Inflation Reduction Act! A great summary video was created by Hank Green that you can find on YouTube, and a quick search engine entry about the act pull up tons of sources explaining, analyzing, and digging into what the act says and how it will play out over the next 5 years. Staying informed is the best way to know what is coming!

  2. Read up on climate solutions and brainstorm the ways your community can be most involved! The book Ellie is holding in this photo is Drawdown by Paul Hawken, and ranks some of the most effective climate solutions being tackled around the world. Reading up on unique climate solutions is a great way to expand your mind of the ideas and tools available.

  3. Check in with your local community! What efforts to reduce climate change already exist in your area? If you live in a city, is there a community effort to greening city spaces or transitioning buildings to alternative energy sources? If you live rurally, are there efforts to protect wild spaces and plant more trees? If you live coastally, are there efforts to protect marine spaces and reduce land-based pollution sources to the ocean? Each community is unique and will have a different but equally effective way to tackle the climate crisis. Check into groups in your area, and if none exist, reach out to your neighbors and create your own! Then, keep an eye on federal funding sources like NOAA that might have grant money trickling down from this act within the next year that can help fund your community organization.

Whatever it is you choose to do, keep us updated on how it goes! Use the “contact us” button at the top of our website to send us an email. We love to hear from you about the awesome community work you are involved in.


The photo shows a coastline with a sunset. The waves lap at rocks that are piled onto a green and sandy shore, and the clouds in the sky are vibrant with the colors of the sunset.
Sibly (@tomboywithtattoos)

In this recent study, researchers found that the increasing depletion of natural marine resources is creating a worldwide economic burden that especially affects coastal communities who rely heavily on fishing for their livelihood. To preserve these marine ecosystems and revive coastal economies, international protective acts have created global organizations such as fishing commissions, scientific committees, and scientific councils. The hope is to better monitor marine resources while operating under a new “blue economy,” mindset.


Wondering how you can support coastal communities we talked about on Wednesday? Knowing where you (or the companies you buy from) can or can’t fish is really important when it comes to sustainable fishing. You can check out the NOAA Marine Protected Area Viewer to see MPAs all over the world! Be sure to make sure you shop from sustainable sources if you don’t fish yourself.


Octopuses' cognitive ability is said to approach that of small mammals, but their brains evolved along an entirely different route than the one that led to ours; the last common ancestor humans and octopuses had lived about 600 million years ago. Their complex central nervous system is linked to behavioral adaptation and differences in their brains are linked to their habitat and habits. Peter Godfrey-Smith, famed philosopher of science, writes “If we can make contact with cephalopods as sentient beings, it is not because of a shared history, not because of kinship, but because evolution built minds twice over. This is probably the closest we will come to meeting an intelligent alien.”


Many people actually eat octopus: it’s a common ingredient in different foods, like sushi. However, it’s important that we make sure that any octopus we eat is sourced sustainably. According to the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch, the Great Pacific Octopus (Tako) sourced from the Bering Sea and the Gulf of Alaska are rated best choice as sustainable buying options. When ordering food with octopus in it, you can ask where it comes from to find out!

Team member Zach holds a fork and a knife.

Giant Pacific Octopus caught in Alaska is the best choice, but very little of it is available on the U.S. market. Good alternatives for this include octopuses sourced in Canada. If that isn’t an option, look for common octopus that’s been caught with pots, traps, or jigs in Portugal, Spain, and Senegal. See Seafood Watch for more information about safe and eco-friendly food!

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