Earth Day – 40th Anniversary

Posted by: Chris Laughlin

“… do something.  Pay your rent for the privilege of living on this beautiful, blue-green, living Earth.”
Dave Foreman

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April 22nd, 2010 marks the 40th anniversary of Earth Day – a great opportunity and a perfect time to get motivated, get outdoors, educate and take action for our natural world.

The first Earth Day took place in 1970, founded by Gaylord Nelson, a U.S. Senator at the time.  He proposed the first nationwide protest “to shake up the political establishment and force this issue onto the national agenda.”  It was estimated that 20 million Americans engaged and demonstrated for a healthy, sustainable environment.  Since that time, important environmental legislation has been enacted, but we’re still fighting to get it right.  Climate, ocean acidification, overfishing, addressing toxic tides and hypoxia and implementing a national ocean policy are but a few of the many critical issues facing us today.  Take action on climate by signing the Earth Day 2010 Climate Declaration and send a message to Congress that the time is NOW.  A climate rally is being held at the national mall in D.C. from 11-7.

Other ideas:  check out the Women’s Aquatic Network’s Third Annual Toast to the Ocean – Ocean Champions is one of the sponsors and looks forward to giving a toast.  Go to the Earth Day Network and make a pledge.  If you have kids, get them outdoors and involved.  Check out some of these creative, crafty ideas. I particularly love the ONE BAG challengeReduce, reuse, recycle and cut down or eliminate plastic use. Many coastal cities will be conducting local beach clean ups and looking for volunteers.

If you find yourself indoors, see Disney’s new “Oceans” film.  Be sure to attend during opening week, as Disneynature will make a donation in your honor to save our coral reefs.

Top 10 ways to celebrate Earth Day

For our members, check out the new Earth Day e-card to send to your family and friends!  Sign in to our circle of champions membership area and under member benefits click on e-cards.

Soft coral reef scene

“We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.”
Native American Proverb

Date Posted: April 16, 2010 @ 3:34 pm Comments Off

A Fresh New Face For the Oceans

Posted by: Mike Dunmyer

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Today we are endorsing state Senator Craig Pridemore for Washington’s third district seat in the House of Representatives.  This is the seat currently held by Congressman Brian Baird, a strong ocean champion who, as many of you know, sponsored and led the Toxic Algae bill to passage in the House.  Congressman Baird is retiring, and losing such a strong ocean advocate in a leadership position is difficult.  However, Craig Pridemore would be a worthy successor.  As a two-term Senator for the state of Washington, he has proven to be both committed and effective on issues affecting ocean health.  He took action to:

In addition to his work on oceans, Senator Pridemore is unequivocal about global warming.  In a newsletter he stated, “Climate change is real, it is a serious threat to our planet, and it is the result of human activity.”  [As an aside, this essentially makes him the "anti-Inhofe" as that Senator believes every snowstorm is proof that global warming is a hoax]

Pridemore took his belief and acted on it by sponsoring and passing legislation that sets quantifiable greenhouse gas reductions and establishes proper accountability for meeting them.  His bill also enhanced economic opportunities by directing state agencies to find incentives for local development of clean technologies, and to attract green businesses while preparing the local work force for these jobs.

With this kind of energy, passion and effectiveness, we’re convinced that Craig Pridemore can be a strong champion in Congress, and we’ll be working hard to help get him there!

Date Posted: April 13, 2010 @ 12:00 pm Comments Off

OC Endorses Maryland’s champion for the Eastern Shore

Posted by: Mike Dunmyer

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Today we announced our endorsement of incumbent Frank Kratovil for Maryland’s first district seat in the House of Representatives.  While this is just one of the 30 or 40 races we’ll engage on in 2010, it is shaping up to be one of the most interesting, and is important for a number of reasons.  To begin with, Maryland’s first district has many diverse interests.  It includes Ocean City and Maryland’s beaches, as well as the Eastern Shore that abuts the Chesapeake Bay.  It includes parts of Anne Arundel County on the Western Shore of the Bay and also stretches up into Baltimore county.  In an overwhelmingly “blue” state, the first district is a traditional Republican stronghold.  Conservative tenets like lower taxes and small government are important here, but there is also a strong conservationist ethos amongst many who depend upon the Bay for their livelihood and others who simply have a strong emotional connection to it.

In MD-1 in 2008, John McCain beat Barack Obama by 18 percentage points.  At the same time, Frank Kratovil stormed from behind to beat Andy Harris by less than 3,000 votes.  Harris’ broader message appealed to many of the district’s voters, but Kratovil was able to connect to many, and his environmental stance helped sway fence sitters.  The victory wasn’t declared for several days after the election, and was considered a major upset at the time.

In 2010, Congressman Kratovil will again be competing against Andy Harris, but in a very different political environment.  In 2010, partisan rancor has grown far beyond where it stood two years ago, and the first district includes many who are rallying against the Majority’s legislative agenda.  As a result, this race will again be challenging, and will again come down to the wire.  Who ultimately wins will be very important for the future of the Chesapeake Bay.  Here’s why:

In his first term, Congressman Kratovil took decisive action to support ocean and Chesapeake Bay health:

  • He was an original co-sponsor and leader on the Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Act, which just passed the House.  Mr. Kratovil also gave an energetic speech supporting this bill on the House Floor.
  • He co-sponsored several bills focused on Bay health, including the Chesapeake Bay Science, Education and Ecosystem Enhancement Act, and the Chesapeake Bay Accountability and Recovery Act.
  • At a critical point he signed on to a letter supporting the work of the Interagency Task Force on the first ever National Ocean Policy.
  • Despite political risk, he voted in favor of the Waxman-Markey climate bill.

By contrast, his opponent Andy Harris has compiled one of the worst records on the Chesapeake Bay in the Maryland Senate.  His LCV lifetime score of 13% includes recent votes against reducing stormwater pollution and reducing nitrogen runoff.  He also voted in favor of a delay on the ban of phosphorus in detergent.  Harris voted this way, despite the fact that these are all major contributors to the dead zones and general water quality problems plaguing the Chesapeake Bay.

If he were to beat Congressman Kratovil in the upcoming election, Andy Harris would have the chance to become the next Richard Pombo.  We simply can’t let that happen.  Congressman Kratovil is a strong ocean and Bay advocate and independent thinker who works hard to represent the diverse interests in his district. He believes those interests include a healthy Chesapeake Bay and healthy oceans, and his commitment has earned him the title of ocean champion.

Date Posted: April 6, 2010 @ 7:28 am Comments Off