In the prior post, "Repurposed Rigs", I discussed the ways in which oil rigs at their end of life were being repurposed - as diving resorts, or coral reefs. One company, Blue Latitudes, specializes in the research, consulting, and planning for such projects.
Co-founders, and marine biologists Emily Hazelwood and Amber Sparks have been featured in Forbes magazine (see this article) in their "30 under 30" section. I recently had the privilege of speaking with them about these initiatives from a project, program, and portfolio perspective.
If you haven't already, please have a look at this amazing video that gives the background of the work Blue Latitudes is doing.
Let me start with their backgrounds and then just have you take a look at the interview.
Blue Latitudes' Mission (from their website) is:
Our vision at Blue Latitudes is to find silver linings in our oceans at the intersection of industry and the environment.
We unite science, policy, and communications to create innovative solutions for the complex ecological challenges associated with offshore industry.
As to the co-founders, there's a photo above from a profile on Scubapro.com, and below, a photo of them with an old friend; then we get right into the biographies and the interview itself.
Emily Hazelwood is a marine conservation biologist, oil and gas consultant and explorer. She has a B.A. in Environmental Science from Connecticut College and an M.A.S degree in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Emily was recognized on Forbes 30 Under 30 list in the energy sector for her work with Blue Latitudes to develop sustainable, creative, and cost-effective solutions for the environmental issues that surround the offshore energy industry.
Emily has extensive experience conducting both international and domestic environmental impact assessments for governmental agencies and private sector clients, and specializes in developing sustainable environmental strategies for offshore energy development and decommissioning.
Mrs. Hazelwood previously worked as a field technician on the BP 252 Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico. This is where she witnessed first hand the destruction and devastation wrought by an oil spill. However, it is also where she learned of a unique silver lining despite the realities of offshore oil and gas development, the Rigs to Reefs program. She is a PADI certified Dive Master and an AAUS Scientific Diver.
Amber Sparks is an oceanographer, environmental scientist and entrepreneur. She has a B.A. in Marine Science from UC Berkeley and a M.A.S in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. In 2018, Amber was recognized on Forbes 30 Under 30 list in the energy sector for her work with Blue Latitudes to develop sustainable, creative, and cost-effective solutions for the environmental issues that surround the offshore energy industry.
Amber also has a strong background in technology. A former Ocean Curator at Google, she engineered and launched intelligent layers in Google Earth and Google Maps that distill and relate complex concepts in ocean science for a variety of audiences. Today she uses those skills in the oil and gas industry to map fishing activity in proximity to offshore structures and inform decommissioning decisions in relation to commercial fisheries.
Mrs. Sparks has extensive experience as a project manager specializing in ecological impact assessments, marine biological monitoring and habitat restoration through the Rigs to Reefs program. She is certified as an AAUS scientific diver.
Here's the interview (about 37 minutes):