Intern/ Volunteer Resesarch Position – Updated 29 August 2013
Internship & Volunteer Opportunities: Fall 2013
Food awareness campaign at an International Environmental NGO
Are you interested in using your skills to promote the environment, sustainable food practices, and greater awareness among consumers and restaurants? This internship opportunity will not only enable you to build new skills and strengthen your resume, it will enable you to make a valuable contribution to the environment and to the peoples of the developing world.
Mangrove forests are among the most bio-diverse habitats on earth and home to the last large wild population of Bengal tigers. They are also among the most efficient absorbers of carbon in the world, are the nurseries for marine life, filter out pollutants and prevent coastal erosion, thus protecting coral reefs and sea grass beds, and protect coastal communities from hurricanes and tsunamis.
But the world has already lost half its mangrove forests and the destruction continues, with one of the major contributors to mangrove loss being industrial shrimp farming in the developing world, where hundreds of thousands of hectares of mangroves are being cleared to create industrial shrimp ponds.
The Mangrove Action Project, an international NGO focused on conserving and restoring mangrove forests around the world, has launched a campaign called “Question Your Shrimp.” The campaign aims to increase awareness and change behaviors around the consumption of farmed shrimp from overseas, which has proven to be so highly destructive of mangrove forests around the world and the rich ecology and marine life these forests support. The Question Your Shrimp campaign intends to fight this destruction through the power of conscientious consumption and ecologically responsible business. Our goal is for consumers, restaurants, and seafood retailers to sign our Pledge to not eat, serve, or sell imported farmed tropical shrimp, and thus halt further expansion of the destructive tropical shrimp farming industry.
Did you know that 80% of the shrimp we consume in the U.S. is consumed in restaurants?
That much of the cheap shrimp served at “All You Can Eat” buffets comes from crowded diseased-ridden overseas shrimp farms?
That much of this shrimp has been treated with antibiotics and pesticides that are banned from use in both the U.S. and Canada?
That due to unsustainable farming practices, overseas shrimp farms often collapse within 3 to 5 years due to pollution and disease, prompting the industry to destroy still more mangrove forests to create new ponds?
That shrimp farming has been one of the main causes of mangrove forest loss around the world, and that this loss of mangroves is not only destructive to wildlife and offshore fisheries and reefs, but also releases huge amounts of carbon into the atmosphere?
That the tropical shrimp farming industry competes unfairly with sustainable wild- caught shrimp from the US and Canada, threatening the livelihoods of shrimpers from the Gulf Coast, the US West Coast, British Columbia, and Alaska?
MAP currently seeks interns to help with several aspects of the Question Your Shrimp campaign. Interns will help MAP conduct knowledge surveys of Seattle area restaurateurs. The survey aims to gauge current awareness levels around social and environmental issues related to the production and consumption of farmed shrimp from overseas, and determine the barriers which might prevent them from joining our cause and signing the Pledge to serve only sustainable shrimp.
In conjunction with this, MAP needs representatives to get the word out, attend various public events, and ask restaurants and individual chefs to sign our Pledge. Over twenty restaurants and chefs have already signed on, including the iconic world-class restaurant atop the Space Needle. Our goal is for every eatery that serves shrimp to join the campaign and to create a hotbed of shrimp awareness around the Seattle area that can then spread to the rest of the US.
Details and Project Needs
Availability and Activities: We are looking for dedicated individuals who can make an on-going commitment of 5-10 hrs per week to speak to restaurant owners and conduct interviews. Each interview will take approximately 20-30 minutes. Most of the work can be done independently, at your convenience and based on the schedule of the restaurants you contact. Training will be provided.
We also invite our interns to participate in on-going events related to MAP’s general mission throughout the year. Meetings among volunteers and interns will be held on a monthly basis at MAP’s Seattle office in the International District.
Location: Seattle/King County metropolitan area.
Benefits: These are unpaid positions. But by joining us, you will be interacting with a dedicated group of professionals, volunteers and other interns also interested in food sustainability issues, the environment, and seeking to make a positive change in the world. You will also have the opportunity to learn more about MAP’s grassroots work restoring mangrove forests in locations like Thailand and in other places around the world where mangroves forests are threatened and you will learn what you can do to make a difference. Affected regions include countries in Asia, Latin America, Oceania, the Caribbean and Africa.
This is a great opportunity to think globally and act locally. You will also learn a recently developed formative research method, the Designing for Behavior Change Framework, develop your interview skills in conducting a consumer survey, and gain experience educating the public, and breaking down and explaining complex issues. You may use this experience to develop your qualitative and quantitative research skills. You can also learn more about the restaurant and food industry and gain experience at an international non-profit – all while advancing your passion for sustainability.
Depending on circumstances, we may be able to provide educational credit, references for future employment, and reimbursement for approved expenses relating to the position.
To apply, please send your resume and a letter of interest to: [email protected]
Mangrove Action Project also seeks volunteers interested in helping with the following additional areas:
· event promotion
· use of social media
· contributions and updates to our QYS campaign blog and MAP website