07 August 2009

The Week in Review

The internet has been absolutely dreadful this week. We've only been able to connect about 50% of the time, and when we are connected, we don't get speeds any faster than a few kilobytes per second. I'm actually writing this in Notepad, and I'll just upload it to Blogger quickly when the connection recovers. It's been a real reminder of just how much we depend on the internet these days.

All this week The Center has been hosting a visiting lecturer. He's been putting on a workshop on Environmental Media. He's the founder of and videographer for Ocean.com. The students (and the rest of us sitting in on the classes) have been learning about the role and importance of environmental media in shaping people's perceptions about environmental issues - something Jessee and I, of course, are quite familiar with.

A completely unrelated photo.

Both of our theses incorporated analysis of environmental media to understand how nature was being represented and, more importantly, who was doing the representing and for what purposes. It was interesting to be on the other side of things, seeing the production of media and learning how to be most effective in communicating your message. We've also been getting tips on underwater videography and photography, which will no doubt come in useful for when we get a proper underwater camera.

Each night, as part of the class, we've watched a different environmental film, and each morning we have discussed their strengths, weaknesses, and effectiveness. Contrasting the different approaches the films use - whether it's just delivery of the facts, a dramatization, a positive outlook, a hopeless outlook, for an audience of scientists, or an audience of laymen - has been particularly helpful in understanding what types of films might be most effective in generating action.

The course has also meant there's been regular opportunities to dive. Every afternoon the divers and snorkelers go out (separately) to practice their underwater photography skills (nobody has an underwater video camera but Michael, the lecturer). I've gotten to go out with the divers everyday (except for Monday), and as a result I'm finally getting better control of my air consumption. I'm able to stay down almost twice as long as when I first got here.

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