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sustainability

Reflections on the 2020 Philadelphia Environmental Film Festival

On this morning after the Philadelphia Environmental Film Festival I took time to reflect on the experience; the first virtual film festival I’ve attended. The festival is normally held in the spring but this year was delayed due to the pandemic shutdown that rocked life in Philadelphia.

Overall
First, I note that the festival has been a powerful force in shaping my thinking and actions surrounding our local environmental issues over the past four years. Crisis response, environmental justice and community engagement are three areas significantly affected by the festival over the past four years. This year’s festival will continue that trend.

I saw fewer films through the online format this year than would have if I took three days away from home to spend at a live festival. Life at home is distracting compared to three days away at a festival.

Eventive.org
The online platform sponsored by Eventive.org has a strict framework of when films can be “unlocked” and viewed, and I missed the email announcement on extending the viewing time until this morning when it was too late. I saw the films most closely related to my work but missed out on new ideas that would appear to be unrelated but can often prove to be surprisingly ‘mind expanding’.

Overall, I would say that this particular technology platform did not have the same effect of mimicking a live event compared to some of the live music festival platforms during this pandemic shutdown period. For example, compared to the technology platform of the Philadelphia Folk Festival last month that tried hard to recreate a live attendee experience.

Impact on local environmental issues
Since the release of “The Drowning of Money Island” documentary book last November (2019), I see increased interest in a local film by filmmakers. I don’t have any specific information on progress or projects. I’ve been working on a collection of notes titled “After the Drowning” but haven’t made a deal to work with any publisher or producer.

The festival films generally highlighted that the pandemic shutdown has been a step backwards for environmental causes. Out local issues reflect the same trend.

The Delaware watershed has been featured in each year of the festival. I hope that continues.

Lead Sponsor Role
I don’t see that the Philadelphia Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University on-screen discussions added any value to the program compared to the live discussion programs we’ve had in past years. I’d like to see the discussion in a different interactive format. That should be easy in a ‘Zoom world’.

Followup

Finally, without any pocket full of business cards as I usually have on the Monday morning after the film festival, I will need to create an outreach and follow-up plan from scratch. I took a page of notes and have already looked up a handful of people. But it will be different without the lobby connections made in past years.

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sustainability

Conflict of interest policy

Baysave works in small communities where one person or entity typically serves multiple roles. Conflicts of interest are commonplace in this type of environment. For example, one person or business could possibly act as an investor, adviser, business owner and public policy maker in the same project.

We require that parties to an agreement disclose conflicts of interest as soon as they are recognized.

We recommend that business plans recognize and address actual and potential conflicts of interest.

We recommend that parties to an agreement adopt a conflict of interest policy that is at least as strong as ours.

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sustainability

Latest federal guidance on seafood consumption

Over our lifetime dietary advice has changed substantially in response to accumulated information. In a sense, it’s amazing how slow we are to learn about such an obvious relationship between the body and health. The latest accumulated recommendations are compiled in a federal report issued this summer. The full report is available at https://www.dietaryguidelines.gov/2020-advisory-committee-report.

The report gives significant attention to the role of seafood in the diet and this blog post summarizes the findings and recommendations. As background and introduction, it may be helpful to emphasize that most research, discussion and publication of dietary impact of seafood over the past decade or more has focused on two primary issues: 1) the positive cognitive/neurological development impact of omega-3 fatty acids, and 2) the negative effects of toxins from human pollution referred to as heavy metals ling-lived organic compounds and that are absorbed in fish tissue and then ingested by humans who eat fish. Both are significant concern for seafood harvested locally in the Delaware Bay.

The latest report confirms that the scientific literature supports the health benefits of seafood consumption alone or as part of an overall dietary pattern across life stages. However, concern remains over ingestion of toxins contained in seafood. Earlier reports concluded that the health benefits from consuming seafood outweigh the risks associated with potential toxins, including exposure to methylmercury and persistent organic pollutants.

In the latest federal dietary recommendations significant attention is given to the relationship between seafood consumption at various life stages and the health risks associated with coronary vascular disease and cognitive/neurological development. The conclusion of the federal report is that there is insufficient evidence to establish the relationships – either positive or negative – with seafood overall. Specifically, no conclusion regarding the relationship between seafood consumption during childhood and adolescence and academic performance, ADD or ADHD, anxiety and depression, and ASD could be drawn due to an inadequate number of studies and variation in outcome assessment and child age”. (Emphasis added)

The report does conclude that “Intake of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, particularly EPA and DHA from food sources such as seafood and algae, lowers blood triglycerides, and in adults, is associated with lower risk of CVD”. CVD is the abbreviation used in the report for cardio-vascular disease. In other words, the report confirms what we knew about omega-3s.

The report’s overall conclusion on seafood: “Choices of fish and seafood with emphasis on species higher in omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and with low methylmercury and are advised, following Federal and local fish and seafood advisories”. The emphasis on local fish advisories is important; that’s been the focus of most of my reading and commentary over the years. I also want to emphasize two things:

  1. Our primary local Delaware Bay seafood products – oysters and crabs – are not associated with the seafood products in the category of higher risk of toxins and are associated with the positive health benefits of seafood.
  2. The three species harvested locally that are associated with higher risk of toxins – striped bass, bluefish and perch – do have dietary consumption recommendations and the risk can be reduced through cooking procedures. Specifically, the recommendation is to avoid cooking or ingesting the dark tissue areas.