Remember the rallying cry of the Three Musketeers? When they start their gallant swordfights, they yell, “All for one and one for all!” That’s how we’re resisting the Trump Administration and its attempt to tear our national monuments apart. We’re helping other groups defend our land monuments, and they are helping us defend the marine monuments. We’re all in this fight together, so we recently joined our colleagues in protesting President Trump’s attack on two Utah national monuments outside the White House.
As Donald Trump returned from Salt Lake City, where he announced plans to shrink the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments by two million acres, the protest brought attention to this attack on our public lands. Our President Dr. Morgan delivered a stirring speech at the rally, saying:
“All of us at this demonstration, all of us in this country and all of us on this Earth are in this together. We know that the President might attack monuments in Utah this week but will likely attack marine monuments next week. The truth is that special places on land and in the ocean need protection from resource extraction to preserve biodiversity, to rebuild populations of wildlife, and to create ecosystems resilient to climate change.
Papahānaumokuākea, the Pacific Remote Islands, Rose Atoll, Marianas, New England Canyons and Seamounts and the marine sanctuaries are the marine parks in Trump’s gunsight. They protect some of our most pristine ecosystems in the ocean and have made the U.S., until now, a world leader on marine conservation. Since 2006, when then President George W. Bush created one of the first very large, well-protected blue parks around the Northwest Hawaiian Islands, many other countries have been inspired to do the same.
In 2006, when we and others started working to create the Pacific marine parks almost none of the ocean—almost none of 70% of the Planet’s surface—was protected. Today, while the number of well protected and managed marine reserves is still small they are growing, especially overseas. Today, about 3-4% of the world’s oceans have some kind of protection and about 2% of the oceans are well protected. We have a long way to go to catch up with protection on the land, but in the last decade we have made real progress on ocean protection goals.
Marine Conservation Institute and its partners in the Pacific worked for years to get Presidents Bush and Obama to create the huge network of marine monuments around the N.W. Hawaiian Islands and the Pacific Remote Islands and Rose Atoll. We can’t just give up on these amazing places and open them up to commercial fishing and mineral extraction. They are too valuable as coral resilience reserves, climate change research laboratories, and places where endangered populations of Hawaiian monk seals, sharks, turtles and seabirds can recover.
We hope you will stand with us, call the White House, write the White House or call your representatives and demand that this attack on land and marine monuments stop immediately.”
To see Dr. Morgan speak to the importance of our national monuments, watch the video here. Our official press release on President Trump’s Utah announcement offers more information on this monumental mistake. Let’s win this fight together: follow us on Twitter, sign our petition to President Trump, and support #MonumentsForAll!