Earlier this month, California’s governor, Jerry Brown, signed several bills that positively impact our oceans, including addressing oil spills, climate change and sea level rise, and divesting from coal. It was a huge win for the oceans, when the governor banned microbeads in personal-care products. Ocean Champions and its partners have worked to remove this major source of marine plastic pollution for several years.
But what happens in California doesn’t stay in California. Many of these environmental measures will pave the way for national standards. And Ocean Champions has made sure there are members of Congress to lead those initiatives. Ocean champions, Senators Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow, have already introduced legislation that would ban microbeads in personal-care products at the federal level.
The Ocean Champions Board of Directors and leadership sat down with Senator Gary Peters (D-MI) for lunch in Washington, DC, and had an excellent, wide-ranging conversation about Congress, the ocean, and environmental issues.
Pictured Above: Mike Sutton, David Wilmot, Senator Gary Peters, Samantha Campbell
Naturally, we talked about plastics in the oceans and harmful algal blooms – two large and growing problems in the Great Lakes; offshore oil drilling; climate change and its impacts on the oceans; and the importance of the fisheries protections in the Magnuson-Stevens Act. The board also took the opportunity to discuss with the Senator the challenge of balancing the passage of meaningful environmental legislation in the current Congress with the importance of maintaining the oceans as a bipartisan issue.
Finally, by unanimous consent everyone agreed with Senator Peters on one essential position: that the Great Lakes are indeed part of the oceans ecosystem.
We look forward to working with Senator Peters on moving strong ocean policy through the Senate.
For the oceans,
|David Wilmot, Ph.D.
President and Co-Founder
P.S. It’s Friday! Take a break, and explore the South Pacific. Check out Convergence, a new book about sailing through Polynesia.