Watches, climate change and lack of time

It never occurred to Ayana Elizabeth Johnson that she was a watch collector.

As a marine biologist and co-founder of think tank Urban Ocean Lab, Dr Johnson, 41, is constantly thinking about time, but she said she sees her six watches as part of her identity.

In a phone interview from her hometown Brooklyn, she described her original watches, reflected on the concept of inheritance, and explained how she has used time as a powerful metaphor. His comments have been edited and condensed.

Why don’t you consider yourself a watch collector?

My dad loved watches and, as far as I can remember, he had a big, silver Omega. It was part of his style. When he gave me a silver Tag Heuer with a blue face for my high school diploma, I felt like I joined his club. I wore it for years until in my graduate program at UC San Diego I bought a Suunto D6. I was working on my doctorate. in marine biology and it was important for me to get it for scuba diving.

Years later, I ended up buying this Gold Casio Digital Watch at Addis Ababa Airport. It’s like a club; anyone who has one finds it a bit irreverent. A while ago I was cleaning my mom’s house and found two watches, a small Omega with a leather strap and a gold men’s Movado that I now wear every day. I’ve never bought an expensive watch, but it’s nice to have these little things that are associated with important phases in my life.

It’s like I’ve had one watch in a decade, but I’ve never really looked for them. They found me.

How would you define your relationship to time and heritage?

It’s funny to think of watches in this context. What is our relationship to time? What motivates us? Inheritance, for example. People want to pass a watch on to their children, but what world do you want to pass on to them? Legacy is time, and now is the time to spend all our money on renewables and climate policy.

Urban Ocean Lab explains how unprepared coastal cities are for rising seas and storms.

This metaphor of time and time and the countdown has been very powerful for the climate movement. As often as I hear this message that time is up – it’s true. We, as rich nations, have procrastinated to the detriment of the whole world. It’s terrifying because we really don’t have much of a chance at that.

You never leave the house without a watch on your wrist. Why?

My father gave me my first watch. He was an architect and a black man who was trying to be taken seriously. He cared so much about the design.

Every day I think about: How do we see the future we want? It is important to know what parts and materials are and how they fit and fit people.

About Robert L. Thomas

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