In this week’s Ocean Talk Friday episode I talk about 2 topics: 1) President Donald Trump slaps a 30% tax on Solar Panel imports from China to “protect” American jobs…but is it doing the opposite?; and, 2) Pay-for internships and volunteerships is a big business that gets research done and provides experience to early marine scientists/conservationists; however, there are many early career people who resent those programs as it segregates the field for those who can afford to pay for the programs from those who can’t.
Trump Slaps 30% Tax on Solar Imports from China
President Donald Trump got elected because he promised the American people that he was going to protect Americans by making it difficult for other countries to undercut prices and make it hard for Americans to run there business (even though Trump got rich by outsourcing all of his company’s manual labour to China…but that is another story for another website).
Since becoming President, Trump and his administration have threatened to pull out of NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) because he doesn’t think the deal benefited American workers among other steps he is taking to make it difficult for China to “take away” any business from Americans.
His latest step to “protect” American Jobs was to impose a 30% tax on imported Solar Panels based on the recommendation of the ITC (International Trade Commission) from two companies called Suniva and Solar World that the imports were undercutting their prices, which made them not competitive. The ITC agreed and I understand why Trump made the decision. OH MY GOD!!! I agreed with a Trump Decision!!! Not so fast…
It seems as though the Trump Administration didn’t do all of it’s research because the two “American” companies that made the complaint were not American owned companies. Suniva is is operated out of Georgia, but owned by the Chinese and Solar World operates out of Oregon, but owned by the Germans. Combined, the companies employ approximately 500 employees. Trump protected 500 American jobs, but did he leave more vulnerable.
According to the Rolling Stone article where I found this story, there will be a much greater loss of American jobs from American-owned business, with employees, who now can’t afford to buy the solar panels. This means that there will be more than 20K jobs lost because of this tariff. So it looks as though the Trump Administration is not really protection American Jobs. Perhaps he is protecting something else…
Trump has made it clear that he will re-energize the fossil fuel industry and plans on bringing coal back. The groups that fund Republicans are involved in the fossil fuel industry, that is no secret, but it looks as though Trump is willing to sacrifice a growing and necessary industry like the solar industry in favour of fossil fuel development.
Do you think this is possible? Let’s here your thoughts in the comments below!
A Big Barrier To Starting Your Career In Marine Science and Conservation
Starting a career in Marine Science and Conservation is exciting and full of opportunities. Graduates have spent the past 4 (or more years) to educate and train themselves to work in a rewarding career; however, it’s not all ocean sunsets and dolphin watching.
There are so many early career people who are not able to find a job soon after they graduate. It often take a year or 2 to land something, anything that remotely resembles their “dream” job. The reason why it is so tough is because early career scientists and conservationists lack working experience as they have had their heads in books and in the lab for the past 4 or more years. The immediate strategy is to find working experience, so they need to get an entry level job that may pay a lower amount than someone with experience so they can gain experience in the field of their choosing. Simple strategy, right? Wrong…the strategy is simple, but the opportunities for paid working experience are few and far between.
More people are going into the Marine Science and Conservation field and funding for projects has declined. Many organizations have moved towards a different model to fulfill their mission. They offer pay-for internships or volunteerships. These programs require early career scientists, who are now professionals, to gain experience after they pay to get into the program. Even companies are now getting into the game, where only some offer college credit. The cost for the programs can be costly, especially after people have just paid tuition for 4 or more years and are likely in debt. The programs have changed the entry into this field.
The experience provided by these companies could be beneficial, but the cost restricts the field to only those who can afford to pay for the program, segregating the field. This is not a great process for a field that is trying to become more diverse and inclusive to benefit science and conservation. It’s time the practice stopped.
There are a few solutions that I suggest in the podcast (listen to the episode above for more detail):
1) Universities/Colleges should create programs within the Marine Science and Conservation Departments to engage with Alumni that could offer internships or paid work at their place of employment; and,
2) Students should be encouraged to volunteer for free or work as research assistants at research labs within their department.
What solutions would you suggest that would help the Marine Science and Conservation field solve this problem? Let me know in the comments below!
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