Our country is in sorry condition. But not to worry.
Our president and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have launched a series of “listening sessions” to gather input from communities for “the nation’s first comprehensive ocean policy.” America can be thankful that Barack Obama and his EPA have such a keen sense of the country’s priorities.
Forget about Libya, Afghanistan, nukes in Iran, debts to China, potential attacks on Israel. Put aside the budget deficit, historic national debt, disgraceful unemployment, and the collapse in housing.
The National Ocean Council, with representatives from virtually every department of the federal government, plus our invaluable vice president, will host “listening sessions” from communities “that depend on and care for our ocean, coasts, and Great Lakes.” Then “strategic action plans” will be developed.
Why should our government listen to prominent economists such as Harvard’s Martin Feldstein. That worry wart writes: “The country’s economic growth during the coming year will be sub par at best, leaving high or rising levels of unemployment and underemployment.” Feldstein wrote in the June 8 Wall Street Journal: “The economy is even worse than we think.”
“The drop in GDP growth to just 1.8 percent in the first quarter…understates the extent of the decline,” Feldstein points out. Two-thirds of that 1.8 percent “went into business inventories, not sales to consumers or other final buyers.” This means the actual increase was “close to no growth at all.”
Feldstein writes, “The picture is even gloomier if we look in more detail. The Administration’s most obvious failure” has been “its misguided fiscal policies”—from the cash for clunkers subsidy for car buyers to the home-buyer credit to the failed “stimulus” package.
But let’s get back to what must be our most serious current problem—oceans. In a formal Presidential Proclamation June 2, Mr. Obama stated: “During National Oceans Month, we celebrate the value of the oceans to American life and recognize the critical role they continue to play in our economic progress, national security and natural heritage.”
The world has five oceans. Being a devout internationalist, Obama is duly concerned about every one of them. “Last year,” Obama said in his declaration, “I signed an Executive Order directing my Administration to implement our nation’s first comprehensive policy for the Stewardship of the Ocean, [which ocean was not specified], our coasts, and the Great Lakes.”
“This policy,” he declared, “makes more effective use of federal resources” (which are more than plentiful, as everyone knows). There’s little doubt the primary reason Obama is concerned about the oceans is the warnings of environmentalists of carbon dioxide (CO2) collecting in the oceans. Obama, along with mainly liberal Democrats, are convinced that CO2 is one of the greenhouse gases that is creating global warming.
Scientists say oceans do act as carbon sinks that remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Every year, the oceans absorbs about 2.2 billion tons of CO2. CO2 makes ocean water acidic. This kills many fish. But the dissolution of sediment and rocks releases calcium carbonate, which neutralizes the acidic effect. You will never hear the Greenpeace people admit this, of course.
Dr. John Everett, formerly with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, now a consultant on ocean issues, maintains that oceans will remain alkaline even as they absorb more CO2. Everett says that rainwater absorbs 100 times as much carbon dioxide when it falls as is in ocean water. He testified recently before a Senate committee, but few of the closed-minded believed him.
One of the largest concerns among many environmentalists and biologists is the depletion of fish in oceans worldwide. The UN Food and Agriculture’s State of the World Fisheries and Aquaculture concluded in 2009 that about 50 percent of all marine fish stocks are being exploited and are “at or near sustainable levels.” As we know, the UN is not always right.
Also being predicted is the collapse of the ocean ecosystem because of more fishing of the small fish of the seas. The loss of many of these small fish, such as sardines and herring, threatens the future of larger fish that dine on the small ones.
In a novel approach to fisheries that the federal government wouldn’t understand, fishermen themselves are restoring the fish supply all over the world. In a report earlier this year, Yale Environment 360 reports: “Over the past two decades co-managed fisheries have emerged as one of the most promising strategies—along with marine reserves and catch shares—to halt the decline of ocean ecosystems worldwide.”
More than 200 co-managed fisheries exist now across the globe, “ranging from Alaska’s billion-dollar Bering Sea Pollock fishery…to cooperatives like the abalone harvest along the Chilean coast.”
New evidence shows the bulk of the world’s fisheries—“including small scale, often non-industrialized fisheries on which millions of people depend for food—“can be sustained using community-based co-management.
“The majority of the world’s fisheries are not—and never will be managed by strong centralized governments with top down rules and the means to enforce them,” according to University of Washington’s Nicolas Gutierrez, aquatic and fisheries expert and lead author of a paper Jan 5 in the respected journal Nature. The study was based on fisheries in 44 developed and developing nations.
The Obama administration, with its grandiose “comprehensive ocean policy” never considered that private individuals could solve any problems without directions from a federal bureaucracy. How else could Obama win political credit?
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