Back from vacation, so I thought I’d renew my blogging activities with a cold hard smack. I support our President. Oh, he’s done a terrible job, lied to get us into an unnecessary (and very expensive) war, tirelessly sought to undermine our civil liberties, wreaked environmental havoc across the land, sullied our national standing in the eyes of the world, showed no leadership in energy policy, displayed total incompetence when it comes to economics, education, world affairs, handling disasters, and leadership in general. The catastrophe which has been Bush’s Reign of Incompetence will require years for recovery. But other than that, he’s been great!
One place where this administration has the potential of actually doing some good though, is in regard to the oceans.
As someone with a strong interest in marine science (even though I somehow got diverted elsewhere), I was pleased that the LA Times had a somewhat decent editorial on Bush’s ocean protection considerations. From the article:
For months, Bush has been considering the creation of two sweeping marine reserves, a move that would make him the most ocean-friendly president in history. Bush had already achieved distinction when, in 2006, he approved a 140,000-square-mile marine national monument in the northwestern Hawaiian Islands. But the new plan would dwarf that, potentially protecting up to 900,000 square miles around the Mariana Islands and around a series of tiny, U.S.-controlled territories stretching from the Line Islands to the Rose Atoll in American Samoa.
It appears that this is something Laura Bush supports and, unsurprisingly, Cheney opposes. Will the puppet override the wishes of the puppet master? This could be one of the few good things to come out of this administration, if it gets through. This is one matter where I could definitely get behind something Bush apparently wants to get done.
This plan was blogged about previously at The Intersection back in May. It looks like a good plan and will help to protect the biodiversity in our oceans along with possible benefits to fishing stocks. He seems to have been on the brink of doing this for a while. A more recent editorial in the Honolulu Weekly has a fairly decent discussion on the matter. From this article:
Marine biologists say the other islands under consideration, in the Central Pacific, matter for an entirely different set of reasons. Howland, Baker, Palmyra, Kingman Reef and Jarvis–all National Wildlife Refuges with protected reefs, along with Johnston, Rose and Wake–have some of the biggest densities of corals and fish on the planet because the waters around them are unusually full of nutrients brought by upwelling currents. “Healthy reefs are much more resistant to global warming than damaged ones like we have in Hawai’i,” explains Jim Maragos, a veteran marine scientist with the Fish and Wildlife Service who has probably studied more Pacific reefs than anyone alive. “That’s why we need to preserve them and study them so we can figure out how to help the damaged ones survive.” He and others say the main reason reefs are dying, far ahead of pollution, is overfishing of herbivore fish like parrotfish that keep algae from overwhelming coral and make it more vulnerable to sudden spikes in temperature caused by global warming.
“Once these reefs die, they turn into rubble and the big storm waves will come right up to the shore and destroy people’s houses,” Maragos adds.
“If we don’t protect these places, it will be the end of true natural selection in the oceans,” adds Alan Friedlander of NOAA’s biogeography branch.
It is also noted from the same article that changes are being considered in the plan that could have the effect of watering (as it were) the whole thing down. Such as merely extending no fishing zones from 3 to 12 miles offshore. This just simply would have very little effect, especially relative to the initial proposal. Environmentalists are still working and hopeful to make sure the final plan is actually sound.
An array of ocean advocates — both Democrats and Republicans — are urging the White House to forge ahead with the proposals, saying it would enable President Bush to build a “blue legacy” that would make him a major figure in conservation history.
You can almost taste the irony. I think it is important to support the full plan so feel free to email or write the White House to voice support. Perhaps the best advice to convince him to follow through comes from today’s LA Times.
Bush should designate these monuments, and impose the maximum allowable protections, because it’s the right thing to do — enhancing biodiversity and helping to ward off the threats of overfishing and pollution to our oceans. But if that’s not enough to convince him, he should consider that he doesn’t have to sleep next to Cheney for the rest of his life.