Time spent with Governor Brown

October 8, 2014

It was an immense pleasure and privilege to spend time with Governor Brown yesterday in Los Angeles. I thanked him for what he has done in protecting our water ways and oceans; but he immediately responded by saying, but there is still much more that needs to be done. I presented to him what I felt are some priority issues and I told my team and I are here to help. It’s with collaborative efforts, working with all interest groups: government, industry and conservation organizations that we can come together and recognize what more needs to be done to build a sustainable future for our oceans and for us.

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Warm regards,

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Jean-Michel Cousteau
President, Ocean Futures Society

Letter of support to EPA Clean Water Act:

Proposed Clean Water Protection Rule

Problem: Clean water is immensely important for our societies – we need it for drinking, for running our communities, businesses, and agriculture. Yet over 60 percent of US streams and millions of acres of wetlands are not clearly protected from pollution and exploitation under the current EPA Clean Water Act law. EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have proposed to strengthen protection for the clean water that is vital to all Americans. The Clean Water Protection Rule reduces confusion/ about clean water protection, allowing our government to more efficiently preserve our precious clean water resources.

Solution: Strengthen the Clean Water Act by Implementing the Proposed Clean Water Protection Rule

*Have until October 20, 2014 to submit comments/letters to EPA.gov/uswaters
The public comment period will close on Monday, October 20, 2014.

Support Bill AB 2140 – End Orcas in Captivity

Problem: Orcas are immensely sophisticated, intelligent, and mobile animals that cannot live adequately within human care. They exhibit neurological deficiency behaviors, can become aggressive, pose danger to trainers, other orcas, and themselves as evident by injuries from biting metal cages and ramming into cement enclosures. Furthermore, captive orcas have a shorter lifespan in captivity, endure chronic stress, and are bred far too young and too frequency than they would naturally in the wild.

Solutions to Losing Live Orcas for Marine Parks – Interactive Technology: Move forward with support on passing AB 2140: introduced by Assembly Member Bloom and coauthored by Assembly Member Stone and Senator Leno, which is currently in interim study until 2015 to gather more evidence and public support. Instead of keeping orcas in captivity, we should be supporting new interactive technology that allows visitors to be active participants in their learning experience.

Highlight the success of California’s MPAs and continue efforts for increased protection!

Problem: Human exploitation and careless use of ocean resources over the centuries have resulted in the losses of more than 90 percent of big fish species, 50 percent of coral reefs, and have created massive oxygen dead zones that cannot support most marine life. Our current trajectory is leading to a loss of biodiversity on the planet and an undermining of our ocean environment that we depend upon to survive. More than a billion people on the planet get their main source of protein from the ocean, and when fisheries collapse, people around the world are affected.

California has built a groundbreaking network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in state waters, conserving 16 percent of California’s ocean within no-take preserves. MPAs conserve fish nurseries, critical habitat for endangered species, and other sites essential to protecting California’s incredible marine environment. The MPA network, completed in 2012, was established through a science-driven process with extensive community engagement.

Solutions: Please continue to prioritize Californiaʼs MPAs. To prosper, the MPA network needs continued investment and public outreach. It must be seen by the public as a second state park system. Please continue to fund work by the Department of Fish and Wildlife, the MPA Monitoring Enterprise, and others to enforce, conserve, and study Californiaʼs MPAs. Continue to invest in public outreach and build public engagement with our MPAs.

Successful Solutions in Marine Protected Areas (MPAs)!: Statewide: coastal network of MPAs (including 119 MPAs and 5 state marine management areas) covers 852 sq. miles of state waters, or about 16%.

California Coastal Ocean Protected: 16% Global Average: 2.8% (UNEP)

California Land Protected: 27.08% Global Average: 14.6% (EPI)

Renewable Energy Technologies

Problem: Our dependence on burning fossil fuels to run our society’s energy needs has resulted in massive emissions of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, which is also absorbed by the ocean. The continued increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide is raising the global average temperature, as carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas and “traps heat” within the planet. It furthermore alters the chemistry of the ocean, lowering the pH of the water in a process known as ocean acidification. Together, these effects threaten biodiversity of the planet, water and food security for the masses, and will result in unprecedented financial costs in the future.

Solutions: Renewable energy sources are numerous, yet many require continued research to be cost-effective and sustainable. Below, we list some of the major sources of renewable energy technologies that should be supported as California moves forward as a leading state in our energy crisis and in the face of climate change.

  • Sustainable Aquaculture

    Over half the worldʼs wild caught fisheries are fully-exploited – we can no longer continue to take more from the ocean then it can provide. Instead, we must farm the ocean as we farm the land, but in a way that does not threaten or undermine our environment.

    Technologies to farm fish on the land are growing as scientists, such an Yonathan Zohar, create nearly self-sustaining closed container aquaculture systems on land that recycle 99% of their water and grow fish exactly where the demand is, without compromising the surrounding ocean or environment. Information on Dr. Yonathan Zohar: www.umbc.edu/imet/people/zohar.html

    Take-Away: Invest in sustainable aquaculture technologies in California

  • Solar Renewable Energy

    California is home to 1,700 solar companies employing more than 43,000 people, according to research by the Solar Foundation. If designed right, Californiaʼs carbon cap program can redirect billions of dollars from the fossil fuel industry toward helping Californians shift to clean energy solutions.

    Today, California is on pace to hit the Million Solar Roofs target ahead of schedule, and our state is unquestionably the nationʼs solar leader.
    Environment California – www.environmentcalifornia.org/programs/million-solar-roofs

    Take-Away: Continue to support Californiaʼs goals of implementing renewable solar energy