Mark Paterson in action at the Stakeholder Forum, Manila.

Meet the team: Mark Paterson, Currie Communications, Australia

Mark Paterson believes that the people in our lives – family, friends and colleagues – serve to define us as individuals. So when a dear friend and colleague Kim Mitchell passed away suddenly in 2007, Mark asked himself what could be done to protect Kim’s legacy.

Kim was the communications coordinator for the Coral Reef Targeted Research & Capacity Building for Management (CRTR) Program – the forerunner to CCRES. He loved the work.

And now Mark does too.

“It includes compelling conversations about climate change, unsustainable development, overfishing, resource scarcity and environmental psychology. It’s an intellectual challenge unlike any other.”

His role as the Team Leader overseeing Component 3  (Promoting behaviour change through outreach, decision support and regional learning) places him amidst scientists, regional planners, coastal managers and policy-makers, in addition to stakeholders from government, business, and NGOs from several East Asian-Pacific nations.

His job is to bring all these people together by developing strategies, planning workshops, and sharing their knowledge and stories with a broader audience.

“One of my favourite CCRES tasks is developing and facilitating workshops when we seek to capture the collective wisdom of people in a room, work out what these insights mean for the project and finally, turn it into a plan that people think is doable.”

One of his proudest achievements was obtaining world-wide news coverage for a research paper that highlighted the threat to coral reefs posed by ocean acidification and rising sea-surface temperatures.

“The story generated media coverage in 165 outlets in 20 countries, and helped to popularise the thresholds of 450 PPM (as a measure of atmospheric concentration of CO2) and two degrees Celsius (as a rise in global temperature above pre-industrial levels) as the tipping points for life in the world’s oceans.

“To give you an idea of how much people in the CRTR Program respected (and loved) Kim Mitchell, the authors of the landmark research paper (published in Science Magazine), dedicated it to his memory.”

And just as Mark believes we are best defined by the people who surround us, he extends his philosophy to the world at large.

“Our relationship with nature will define us as a species and shape the legacy of human history in the life of the planet.”

Contact: Mark Paterson
Currie Communications