Max Werner

Return the Green Jacket:
Creating participatory stewardship of the Narragansett Bay

The oceans shelter half of all life and sequester about 30% of global carbon emissions – some two gigatons a year. Although they occupy only 0.2% of the seafloor, seagrass ecosystems absorb as much as a tenth of all the organic carbon absorbed by the ocean every year. However, only a fraction of Narragansett Bay’s eelgrass beds remain, having been compromised by impacts of coastal development, nutrient loading from runoff and wastewater discharge, and climate change since the Industrial Revolution in the late 1800s.

By reimagining the Narragansett Bay as a coastal and estuarine commons, where humans possess a common stake in the ocean’s future alongside all life on earth, how might competing interests be united under the goal of rebuilding the Narragansett Bay’s eelgrass meadows? This thesis seeks to investigate, map, and iterate on new methods to create accessibility and community involvement in future coastal remediation.


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