Collaboration as a Way to Provide Equal Ground for Participants
What is Collaboration and Why is Important?
Collaborative practice has increasingly become vital to how we do everything in the twenty-first century. According to Laal, Kermanshahi, and Laal (2012), in the current century, there is an increased necessity, in society, to reason and join forces on issues of serious concern, shifting the emphasis to group work from individual efforts. Specifically, collaboration is the working together of organizations or persons to deal with problems and deliver results, which are not effectively or easily attained by working single-handedly. As highlighted by Camarihna-Matos and Afsarmanesh (2008), collaboration entails the mutual engagement of partakers to solve a problem jointly, which implies mutual trust, and, as a consequence, takes dedication, time, and effort. Thus, collaboration means more than just working together.
As a representative of research institutes including Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Algalita Maritime Research Foundation, and Ocean Voyage Institute, we come together with five other representatives from five organizations that are interested in environmental protection (which includes international waters). As researchers on this project, we must cooperate with several other organizations to learn more about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and determine the feasibility and reliability of the solution through data and research reports.
Successful collaboration calls for an extensive exchange of ideas among participants and a high level of trust. As Camarihna-Matos and Afsarmanesh (2008) stress, collaboration is a hard process and, as a consequence, the odds for its success hinge on some requirements, including having a common purpose that is usually translated to a problem to be solved or a common goal, sharing a goal, maintaining a common comprehension of the problem at hand, and a mutual agreement among the parties to work together. The term collaboration is often confused with cooperation. In collaboration, people or organizations work together around a common vision, leading to the formation of something new.
The Japan Ministry of Environment plays a role in managing the Pacific garbage patch, providing a suitable environment for citizens. The Pacific pollution crisis has led them to consider prevention as the best technique for dealing with the Pacific garbage patch. While the Japanese focus on prevention than governance and take an uncooperative approach to joint governance, they need to work more with other key stakeholders, which is vital to mitigate the issue. The Japan Ministry of Environment could also collaborate with the NOAA to conduct scientific research on marine debris as both take this action with the common goal of tackling plastic waste pollution in the Pacific. They are currently working with the National Institute of Environmental Studies on the research, aiming to develop marine biotechnology.
NOAA seeks to solve the Pacific garbage patch issue by evaluating and handle the waste deposited into the ocean by recycling, educating the public on the impacts of debris and also working with other organizations to manage the waste that affects the Pacific garbage patch. Therefore, NOAA has been commissioned to conduct scientific research to clean up the Pacific, under the provisions of NOAA (2015). NOAA studied marine debris from the 2011 tsunami in Japan and found 5 million tonnes of waste, covering 217 miles off the coast of Japan. NOAA collaborates with non-governmental organizations on scientific research aimed at managing waste in the Pacific ocean, and works with the government to develop laws and policies related to marine pollution. NOAA ensures that illegal dumping of waste into the ocean is avoided by monitoring waste management systems. Hence, this is a significant contribution to the Pacific garbage patch solution and NOAA has the authority to enforce laws to protect the marine environment, possibly in coordination with the government.
The Pacific garbage patch is an environmental threat that should be addressed based on collaborative efforts to prevent and control waste deposited into the Pacific. According to (US Department of Commerce & National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 2014), the Laysan Albatross fish species found in the North-Western Hawaiian region consume plastics since each dead fish has a piece of plastic in its stomach and chemicals from the plastics, get into the ecosystem, where they are extremely harmful to humans in the long run. The UNEP is the center for cooperation among the coalitions in their efforts to handle the Pacific garbage patch; others prevent waste deposits that could end up in the ocean by preventing the production of waste materials like plastics and nurdles that contaminate the Pacific. The Japan Ministry of Environment works with the NOAA to study marine life and the research results should be analyzed from a global perspective in order to formulate and implement the best technique to solve the issue. Laws enacted and implemented by the Japanese Ministry of Environment should also get reviewed; if effective, countries affected by the issue should also enact such laws to ensure the protection of the Pacific. NOAA is also working with the Japanese government to study marine debris. Hence, partnerships with UNEP and other agencies like Greenpeace have also improved waste management related to the Pacific garbage patch. UNEP could advocate for the formation of treaties such as the Deyaa treaty, which allows for the signatories to empower the role of UN-appointed experts to enforce treaty provisions, thus coming up with an appropriate mix of the Pacific clean-up and prevention approaches. The treaty guarantees the spread of stakeholder’s awareness and obliges stakeholders to participate in the management of the Pacific garbage patch.
The significance of collaboration, especially in the current 21st century, cannot be underestimated. In particular, we need collaboration to generate innovative ideas. Collaboration is a type of joint action, which supports innovation (Quandt & Castilho, 2017). Resolving serious environmental problems such as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch problem calls for out-of-the-box thinking and enhanced creativity. Bringing together individuals with conflicting and complementary skills through collaboration and engaging them in brainstorming solutions to this and other problems that demand teamwork go a long way towards promoting out-of-box thinking and enhanced creativity. As a result, this contributes to the generation of innovative ideas that lead to the resolution of problems.
We also need collaboration to extend our possibilities. By working together in collaboration, we share experience, which helps in extending our possibilities. Additionally, we need collaboration to improve our relationships with stakeholders. Collaboration entails engagement with different stakeholders. As a result, this contributes to improved stakeholder relationships, which is crucial as far as resolving serious problems such as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch problem is concerned. Notably, the solutions to this and other environmental problems demand the involvement of various stakeholders. Collaboration helps in improving the relationships among different stakeholders and, as a consequence, increases the likelihood of finding permanent solutions to the problems.
Based on the essay, which shows collaboration between organizations, I have learned that collaboration allows participants (including individuals and organizations) to work towards the attainment of a shared goal by thinking out-of-box, brainstorming, and providing different points of view to offer solutions. The collaboration between various organizations is critical to finding a permanent solution to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch menace. I have also learned that working together of organizations facilitated by collaboration provides their representatives with equal opportunities to take part and share their ideas, which is crucial as far as resolving any problem is concerned. Furthermore, I have learned that collaboration involves proactively engaging instead of waiting and seeing, becoming a part of a group with a common purpose (for example, resolving the Great Pacific Garbage Patch problem), thinking and deliberating over alternatives, and trying to gain consensus in problem-solving.
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