Amber Jackson & Emily Hazelwoo
Blue Latitudes, Co-Founders
Amber Jackson and Emily Hazelwood, co-founders of Blue Latitudes, on the positive environmental impact of converting decommissioned oil platforms into artificial reefs and the journey that led them to where they are today
“I think there is still a lot of hope in the ocean – it’s very powerful, it’s very resilient and it definitely has an ability to come back in unexpected ways.
Q & A with Amber Jackson & Emily Hazelwood:
1. City of residence:
Emily: La Jolla, California
Amber: La Jolla, California
2. Place of birth:
Emily: Exeter, New Hampshire
Amber: Laguna Beach, California
3. In under five sentences, define your business: Blue Latitudes is a certified women-owned marine environmental consulting firm. Our purpose is to unite science, policy, and communications to develop sustainable, creative and cost-effective solutions to manage the environmental issues that surround the offshore energy industry. We provide regulatory compliance services, market analyses and ecological data to enable our clients to make informed decisions regarding offshore resources. Our clients include industry, government, and nonprofits. At the heart of our mission is a goal of finding silver linings in our oceans at the intersection of industry and the environment.
4. What social or environmental impact is your business making? Blue Latitudes is deeply invested in the concept of re-purposing offshore energy infrastructure for the benefit of the environment. As we continue to develop and utilize offshore resources, we must be keenly aware of our footprint on the environment and opportunities to mitigate our negative impacts. All over the globe, mankind has exploited our oceans in every way imaginable. Despite this constant onslaught, some of the world’s most productive ecosystems have been thriving beneath the towering steel structures of offshore oil and gas platforms. There are hundreds of offshore platforms found in almost every ocean around the world, and it is estimated that many will be decommissioned, or completely removed, in the next ten years. Completely removing an offshore oil and gas platform is both costly and environmentally taxing, especially when you consider the marine ecosystems colonizing these structures. In fact, recent studies found that California’s platforms are “amongst some of the most productive marine fish habitats globally”.
The Rigs-to-Reefs (RtR) program offers oil companies the opportunity to keep their platforms in place so that they may continue to support marine life as an artificial reef, rather than completely removing the structure, as is required by law. When a platform is reefed, the well is capped, and the platform structure is converted from an oil or gas production facility to an artificial reef. Since the program’s inception in 1985, the Gulf of Mexico has reefed more than 450 platforms. Despite this, the rest of the world has been slow to follow. Only a handful of countries have implemented a RtR law, and even fewer have actually reefed their platforms. Understanding the value of the RtR program, Blue Latitudes has tapped into a radical opportunity to re-purpose existing infrastructure as sustainable reefs. Our “big idea” is to take the RtR concept to market, encouraging regulators, industry, and the public to think creatively about the future of ocean conservation.
5. What is the best part about your job and the work you’re doing with Blue Latitudes (R2R)? Why?
Emily: The best part about my job, is that every day I get to do something I love and work with my best friend. Not only that, but I truly do feel like everyday the work that I do has a positive impact impact on the environment. Even on my worst days, I feel purposeful in knowing that what I do makes a difference in some capacity.
Amber: I like coming to work everyday because it is a mission that I believe in, and I have fun working with my best friend. The work I do at Blue Latitudes challenges me everyday in new ways I never imagined, and I find fulfillment in in the growth, both professionally and personally.
6. What book(s) are you currently reading?
Emily: A new one that my dad gave me, “Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness”
Amber: The Ambitious Decision
7. Quote you (try to) live by?
Emily: “I have never let my schooling interfere with my education”- Mark Twain
Amber: “Do or do not, there is no try”- Yoda
8. Using one word, how would you describe yourself?
9. What is one random fact that most people don’t know about you?
Emily: I love to rode bike and was on the cycling club in college
Amber: I play classical piano