In the month since the election, I have had so many questions. What will it be like to work at an ocean nonprofit under the new Administration? Will we be able to move forward towards sustainable ocean policies or will we spend the next few years fighting? Or both? We simply don’t have the answers right now.
A conversation with Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (OR-1), who came to speak at Ocean Conservancy last week, left me more optimistic than I have felt in quite a while.
When asked about the election results, she reminded us: “It’s going to be important for all of us to hold our heads up, not back down. As much as some of us want to pull the covers over our heads and wake up in four years, we can’t do that. There’s too much at stake.”
The congresswoman is a champion of environmental issues on the Hill. A member of the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, she is also the ranking member on the Subcommittee on the Environment. She’s a staunch proponent of using science to influence conservation policy—a foundation of our work here at Ocean Conservancy.
We heard about her priorities as the next Ocean Caucus Co-Chair. She is passionate about environmental issues that impact her home state and cares as deeply about how threats like ocean acidification and marine debris impacts the health of our ocean and the planet. The congresswoman was optimistic yet realistic about the challenges ahead.
“I keep trying to find common ground. I may not agree on everything with some people, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have a respectful exchange,” she said.
I needed this reminder as a climate of uncertainty and tension sweeps our nation. The road ahead won’t be easy and I am grateful that there are dedicated members of Congress like Representative Bonamici who show up to work every day ready to make this country a better place.
“Most people want the same thing—we just have different ideas of how to accomplish it,” she said. “We need to work together and start with small steps and work towards the larger steps later.”
I’ll be taking those small steps for our ocean. And hope you will be part of that journey too.