SOEST News, first published on August 9, 2023.
The biodiversity of the world’s oceans faces many threats such as climate change, invasive species, and more. President Joe Biden’s administration selected Kawika Winter, biocultural ecologist at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa’s Hawaiʻi Institute of Marine Biology (HIMB) and director of the Heʻeia National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR), to serve on the Ocean Research Advisory Panel (ORAP), which provides independent recommendations to the federal government on matters of ocean policy.
Winter and 17 other members were selected by a public nomination process facilitated by the Ocean Policy Committee and then appointed by the director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the chair of the Council on Environmental Quality. Members of ORAP represent the views of ocean industries, state, tribal, territorial or local governments and academia. They began their appointment on August 1 and will serve for three years.
“America has a long history of inflicting injustices on Indigenous Peoples. The Biden Administration, however, represents a major shift in this history by elevating Indigenous Knowledge (IK) through its memos regarding the incorporation of IK into research, policy and decision making,” said Winter. “However, it takes more than memos to bring about institutional change. We need IK advocates in decision-making positions to bring to fruition the changes that this administration is calling for. My goal is to use my lived and professional experiences to help the Biden Administration translate Indigenous wisdom into policy.”
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