As Independence Day draws near, a number of things are sure to run through your mind: what am I going to wear this weekend? Do I have enough red, white, and blue? Where are we going to sit for the fireworks? Is the barbecue set up? Often, we tend to focus on the tradition-side of holidays, and forget to really take a moment and remember what we’re celebrating. The Fourth of July is a day to celebrate our independence, and the rights we are granted in this country. And what better way is there to express our freedom and our patriotism than uniting together to advocate for our country’s greatest resources?
Last week, a nomination hearing with the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation was held for Secretary of Commerce nominee John Bryson, and the nominee for Deputy Secretary of Commerce, Terry Garcia. During this hearing, members of the Committee questioned nominees about how they would hold their positions, what kind of actions they would take, and whether or not they would uphold the promises they made regarding the economy and the environment. Throughout the month of June and into the beginning of July, members from Federal agencies working on the National Ocean Policy have conducted listening sessions around the country, asking for public input on their current strategic plans. NOAA and the US Fish and Wildlife Service are struggling to stay afloat in this economy, and need their budgets to stay intact. With arguments over the President’s right to preserve land through the Antiquities Act, and countless other laws that are under debate, there couldn’t be a better time to share your voice.
Use this long weekend to relax, but also to think about what you can do to help our country and its natural resources. Write a letter to your Senators or Representatives. Start a conversation about how to save beautiful corals that are quickly dying, or how to help the population of Hawaiian monk seals recover, or make a phone call to discuss the necessity of protection for our oceans, and the importance of marine national monuments and marine sanctuaries which protect rare and beautiful flora and fauna. Now is the time to start a wave of change for our oceans, to explore the high seas of policy, to dive into politics, and be a part of the incoming tide of change. Exercise your constitutional right to participate in our government!
It’s easy to do – attend one of the listening sessions on National Ocean Policy. Make a simple phone call, or send an e-mail or a letter, expressing your desire to see more protection of our marine resources. Click here to get started! And have a great 4th of July!