Marine Resources Management, Climate Change, and Indigenous Perspectives with Dr. Steven Mana’oakamai Johnson | Rising Sea Voices

May 17, 2022

Society and Climate Change: A Game of 3D Chess

Rising Sea Voices is one year old! For Episode 12, host Felicia Olmeta Schult and her guest Dr. Steven Mana’oakamai Johnson have a very insightful discussion on the value of cultural and indigenous knowledge for marine resource management and climate change resilience. Steven, born and raised in Saipan, shares with us his career path: from working as a marine biologist, studying the human dimension of marine protected areas, to now being a postdoctoral research scholar in the Center for Global Discovery and Conservation Science at Arizona State University. Steven builds models using social, environmental, and climate data to develop equitable and cooperative solutions for coastal communities. He also tells us about a book he recently reviewed and his plans on having his own podcast!

We hope you will enjoy this episode and join us monthly to discover new guests and their work! In the meantime, look below for Steven’s bio and contact information.

A smiling young man with short black hair wears black eyeglasses and a black t-shirt.

Dr. Steven Mana’oakamai Johnson is a Kanaka Ōiwi – native Hawaiian – and interdisciplinary marine scientist. He is currently a postdoctoral research scholar in the Center for Global Discovery and Conservation Science at Arizona State University. Steven was born and raised on the island of Saipan in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands – a US territory in the western Pacific Ocean. Steven received his doctorate degree in geography from Oregon State University, where he studied the impacts of climate change on large marine protected areas and how we might use that information to develop regional cooperatives to address changing ocean conditions and shifting marine resources. He completed his master’s in biology at the University of Guam, where he studied the social and cultural context of marine protected areas and coral reef fisheries in Yap, Micronesia. The driving motivator in his work comes from his experience growing up under the specter of modern-day colonialism and witnessing climate change impact in his home islands.

You can contact Steven using this email address or by visiting his LinkedIn page.

Readings suggested by Steven:

·        Price et al. 2021. Towards resilience in the Anthropocene: transforming conservation biology through Indigenous perspectives.

·        Maxwell et al. 2020. Navigating towards marine co-management with Indigenous communities on-board the Waka-Taurua

·        Link to book review of Life on the Rocks by Juli Berwald through Steven’s website

·        Link to the book through the authors website

·        Economist Impact. World Ocean Initiative. Centring Indigenous-led governance of coral reefs

·        Scientific American. Braiding Science Together with Indigenous Knowledge by Gleb Raygorodetsky on December 21, 2017

·        American Scientist. A Hawaiian Renaissance That Could Save the World by Sam 'Ohu Gon and Kawika Winter

·        Eos. Science News by AGU. Reframing Funding Strategies to Build Reciprocity by Diamond Tachera on 13 October 2021

The Tile for Rising Sea Voices was designed by Brian Gionfriddo.
This episode was recorded on May 13, 2022.

Show Transcription
This transcription was generated by a computer. Please excuse any errors.
Felicia Olmeta-Schult

Felicia Olmeta-Schult is the 2021 Oregon Sea Grant Resilience Fellow and works to increase the resilience of Oregon communities to the impacts of climate change and coastal natural hazards. She is also ASPN University Project Lead. Felicia has a B.S. in Oceanography from Hawaii Pacific University, a M.A. in Marine Affairs from the University of Rhode Island, and a Ph.D. in Environmental and Natural Resource Sciences from Washington State University. Her dissertation investigated the North Coast of California Marine Life Protection Act Initiative by studying how stakeholders interacted and were involved during the marine protected area (MPA) planning process and how they perceived socio-economic and ecological effects of MPAs. She was a 2018-19 Washington Sea Grant Hershman Fellow at the Washington Department of Ecology Shorelands & Environmental Assistance Program where she participated in the Washington Coastal Resilience Project. She lives in the Pacific Northwest where she enjoys the outdoors hiking and playing in rivers and the ocean. She loves traveling, especially back home to Corsica, a French Mediterranean island, so she can spend time with her family and swim in the warm sea (and not in the frigid waters of the North Pacific Ocean). You can contact her at and follow her on Twitter @FolmetaSchult and on LinkedIn.