This is a hard post for me to write. Our country is exhausted after one of the most contentious campaign cycles in modern history. We now have a President-elect, Donald J. Trump, after an election season that leaves many Americans extremely unhappy and a nation deeply divided.
As a nonprofit organization, Ocean Conservancy does not support or oppose candidates for elected office. But now that the results are in, we can assess what it means for you as someone who loves the ocean, and what this means for Ocean Conservancy as an organization who works on your behalf.
The next four years will not be easy. It is going to be challenging to heal these rifts in order to move forward.
Personally, I was deeply troubled by the divisive tone and fearmongering that characterized the Trump campaign. There were attacks on people’s race, creed, color and religion. Those attacks are in sharp contrast to Ocean Conservancy’s core belief that we are all created equal and deserve respect, regardless of differing views.
I am also alarmed by the candidate’s track record on environmental issues. His false statement that climate change is a hoax is perhaps the most troubling indicator of how the new administration will approach one of the most critical challenges to our planet. In 2016 we should not have to persuade America’s leadership that climate change is real and happening all around our country and the world. We are already experiencing tremendous shifts in our ocean and particularly in places like the Arctic, as a direct result of climate change.
And I have grown increasingly concerned about many of the staffing choices being made by the Trump transition team on environmental issues. The Trump transition now includes key staffers who are widely known to believe that we should dramatically increase oil and gas drilling, and should roll back the bipartisan efforts of critical agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency.
What does this election outcome mean for our ocean?
As advocates that care passionately about our ocean and leaving a healthy planet for future generations, we must continue to speak up and present a united front in favor of smart, science-based solutions.
Let me assure you that Ocean Conservancy will continue to take the high road. Deep in our organizational DNA is the belief that protecting our ocean is truly nonpartisan. Despite the challenge ahead, we will work together with our partners and supporters to find solutions that protect people and our blue planet.
Some of our greatest accomplishments on behalf of our ocean took place under George W. Bush’s presidency—strengthening the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act and the establishment of the Northwest Hawaiian Marine National Monument, which was the world’s largest marine protected area at the time it was announced in 2006. Those legacies have, in large part, continued under President Obama.
While we will always strive to work with a new administration regardless of a President’s party affiliation, we also won’t back down from a fight if the health of our ocean is at risk. We will stand strong for our issues, stand strong for our causes and stand strong for our supporters who entrust us to work on these issues.
We will not back down. Ocean Conservancy reaffirms our commitment to protect what matters: thriving coastal communities, sustainable fisheries to feed America and the world, healthy productive marine life and our ocean that weathers this and future storms with strength, beauty and resilience.
We need you to stand strong too—with us.
Together, we are stronger.
Together, we are a united front for our ocean.