Stab Magazine | Prez Obama's Last Ditch Effort To Protect The Coast

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Prez Obama’s Last Ditch Effort To Protect The Coast

Conservation trumps capitalism. 

news // Jan 20, 2017
Words by stab
Reading Time: 3 minutes

It’s a queer time for my US of A. As headlines stream through the media about a nation divided, “golden showers”, the first Black Prez’s 60 percent approval rating (mostly on account of electing a reality TV star with a “golden tower” as commander in chief) it’s no secret 2017’s a time of turmoil. It’s an awkward age where political news mimics Real Housewives’ dramatics. Last Tuesday, Obama gave his farewell address, it was moving and also a depressing realisation that it would be the last time in the next four years that the leader of the country would be concise, articulate and inspiring.

Red, blue and translucent parties aside, Barack has made protecting our environment a cornerstone of his presidency. And, this isn’t an article to knock Trump – he’s got a Twitter feed for that – but having a man considered the “leader of the free world” denying climate change is concerning – especially after, according to the New York Times, scientists reported that the earth has set a record temperature for the third time in three consecutive years.

Obama has said repeatedly that he “believes that no challenge poses a greater threat to our children, our planet and future generations than climate change – and that no other country on earth is better equipped to lead the world towards a solution.” Noting that, “If Congress won’t act soon to protect future generations, I will.” Which throughout his presidency ringed true; particularly where we as surfers are concerned–protecting the ocean. In 2014, he expanded the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument to encompass more than 490,000 square miles, which according to the Mother Nature Network was six times the original size created by Prez George W Bush in 2009. He also expanded Bush’s Papahānaumokuākea Marine Nation Monument in Hawaii–which in 2006 was the largest ocean sanctuary on the planet–by four times. In 2014, he extended the California Coastal National Monument which consists of 20,000 rocks, islands, exposed reefs and pinnacles along 1,100 miles of the coast of Northern California. Stating that, “In my State of Union address, I said I would use my authority to protect more of our pristine federal lands for future generations.” The list of his environmental strides go on.

Dear whoever put this song to Obama bodysurfing in Hawaii, thank you.

As the peaceful transition of power is less than 48 hours out for the US; Obama has enacted one last win for the coast. Last Thursday, he added six areas to the California Coastal National Monument, including “a prized parcel on the Santa Cruz County coast and some small islands off the coast of Orange County,” according to an article in the LA Times.

“All of the sites, totalling 6,230 acres, are currently managed by the U.S Bureau of Land Management. The monument adds another layer of protection by closing the areas to new development, as well as gas and oil drilling.”

The other sites are in Humbolt County, Trinidad Head, Waluplh-Lighthouse Ranch and 400 acres of the Lost Coast Headlands south of Eureka. In a time when our coastlines are under regular threat by developers, and the California Coastal Commission is leaning on the side of greed rather than conservation, this last ditch effort to protect the coast by the Prez warrants applause. “Obama also added 48,000 acres to the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument in southwestern Oregon and Northern California. Known for its biodiversity, the monument was established in 2000,” states the article.

“Obama has used his executive powers under the 1906 Antiquities Act to designate a number of new national monuments in the West, angering some GOP members of Congress.”

With a new era of presidency upon the US, the strides Obama’s made towards protecting the coast are something we should be proud of. And it’s worth noting President Elect Trump’s environmental track record is more capitalist than conservation driven, which is a bit unnerving – ask Doughmore Beach in Ireland about that one.


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