This fabulous photo by my friend JR Sosky makes me want to jump right in to the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.
It's the 25th anniversary of our Marine Sanctuary, designated and protected in 1992. I love it that NOAA calls these large protected ocean waters "Sanctuaries." Obviously they know their Bible and have studied Leviticus: "You shall keep my sabbaths and revere my sanctuaries. I am the Lord."
But this lovely bay scene, and those revered Sanctuaries, might become a thing of the past if our Department of Energy has its way: they want to do away with current regulations that outlaw offshore oil and gas drilling in these waters (and the 15 other National Marine Sanctuaries) and they want to rescind new Sanctuary protections from the past ten years. That would include the amazing Davidson Seamount in our Sanctuary, a huge underwater volcano off the Big Sur Coast that we added to protected waters in 2009. The three other California Marine Sanctuaries were also expanded in the past 10 years.
Will they still be revered?
We all have a chance to comment on these proposed changes in ocean protection, but only until this coming Monday, August 14. (It doesn’t matter where you live – these are “National” Marine Sanctuaries.)
-National Marine Sanctuary Foundation: https://www.marinesanctuary.org/take-action/advocate/standupformarinesanctuaries/ has a good letter with background info that you can simply sign and your support will become part of the public comment.
-Monterey Bay Aquarium: <<https://futureoftheocean.wordpress.com/2017/07/05/action-alert-help-protect-our-national-marine-sanctuaries/>> has helpful talking points and a link to comments.
-Or you can submit your own comment directly at <<https://www.regulations.gov/comment?D=NOAA-NOS-2017-0066-0001>>
Personal testimonies are the most effective. In my comment I wrote that from my personal experience as an ocean volunteer I knew that over 2 million people visit Monterey every year to see a clean safe ocean. That tourism is Monterey County’s second highest economy, after agriculture. That the California economy is thriving on alternative energy, not more fossil fuels. That as Chair of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council I had seen the wide community support and extensive process that had led to designation and expansion. And that as a person of faith I believe God calls us to be good stewards of all of creation.
That I revere this Sanctuary. I hope you do too.