West coast governors show leadership (now need to act)
August 02 2008 | Jim's Blog,
There is a Chinese proverb I’ve heard from time to time, “may you live in interesting times.” I think the real, meaty times are ahead of us. They are not now, even with oil hovering in a comfort zone well above one hundred dollars a barrel, an ocean full of collapsing fisheries and the dollar as weak as I can ever remember. I think the real interesting times will be in a decade or so ahead when China’s and India’s consumption rate get’s to a level approaching ours. At that point the US’s problems will be put into stark context… we entered a new global era somewhere in the nineties but probably won’t see the vast ramifications of it until a couple decades into this millennium.
In my mind this ties directly back to this west coast governers agreement as they are essentially saying “let’s get past the ‘quick fix’ mentality and truly invest for a secure and prosperous future.” I tip my hat to them as it’s always harder to lead than to tell people what they want to hear.
People want sugar and these three governors are suggesting much-needed medicine.
The three governors, who collectively oversee the entire west coast of the Unites States, were frustrated with the federal government's failure to follow the advice of two national commissions. In the past few years two very prominent groups, one tied to the government and one independent, essentially said the same thing. They said we need to address the threats as over-fishing, coastal development and polluted runoff. They said we’re in bad shape and need to make some large changes.
This agreement pledge put West Coast governors in direct opposition to President Bush, Republican presidential candidate John McCain and a few others that have recently pushed to open new undersea fields to drilling.
Of course it's also just a plan... plans are nice, make for good photo-ops and quotes but... unless they are implemented then they aren't worth much.
The agreement includes seven areas with 26 specific action items and timelines, here’s a sample
· No new oil drilling rigs, protecting and restoring ocean and shoreline habitats
· Cleaning coastal waters and beaches
· Restoring fisheries,
· Preparing for rising sea levels and
· Developing projects that harness energy from waves and tides, among other topics
· Increasing ocean research and monitoring
· Working toward more holistic, ecosystem-based ocean management
· Supporting sustainable economic development in coastal areas
· Reducing the harm caused by shoreline development
· Educating the public about ocean health
"We are united ecologically, and now we are also united politically with Democrats and Republicans here working together and with one powerful voice… A healthy Pacific is vital to each of our states… Our fishermen depend on it for their livelihood. The coastal cities and towns depend on it for recreation and for tourism. And we all enjoy its calming beauty."
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Governor of California
"Given the hardships faced by regional fisheries, along with growing threats from climate change and pollution, the time is now for full-throttle execution of the governors' directives,"
Leon Panetta, co-chairman of the initiative.
"Our ocean currents ... don't know any boundaries… We share the same problems. Today we say, like we have on global climate change, we share the responsibility to find the same solutions."
Chris Gregoire, Governor of Washington