This is probably a good thing. Certainly it is good that parts of the ocean and of the landscape get set aside and kept from extraction. Extraction is a lousy way to do things.
However, it is worth noting that this action still comes within an old paradigm of operation that causes problems. Given the political climate, the action may be good and necessary, but we ought to consider how to improve it.
Very soon, huge amounts of California's Sierra Nevada mountains will burn--huger sections than what just did. This is predictable for several reasons. Warming temperatures, reduced vegetation, and mismanagement of water resources by large vested interests and bribed officials have deepened the area's naturally prominent droughts. Most of the pines are going through a die-off similar to that involved in the American chestnut blight a few years back. Many are dying to a bark beetle, but of course that involves other causes.
Setting aside areas as wilderness sure gave me some beautiful places to walk through as a boy and as a young man, and it did save much of that area from the worst of the earlier and more direct ravages of commercial exploitation. However, the landscape that Europeans first found was not a pristine wilderness untouched by human civilization, but a landscape enriched by some 15,000 or more years of human involvement. When post-agriculturalists invaded, one of the keystone species that they removed was Homo sapiens. Of course, there were soon many more humans than before, but we did not fill the same niche because human activity is so extensively determined by customs, and they or we did not and do not have the same customs.
The Sierras are now falling because there is little human upkeep within them and also because there is much human extraction and exploitation around them. We did little to save them by setting them aside. We would have had to set aside far, far wider swaths of are, ultimately the area that is causing the crisis of climate and toxicity and erosion and global extinction.
That presents the problem in an interesting way. If we are to repair things almost exclusively by setting aside area to keep it from human exploitation, we have to set aside the planet and go infest something else or exterminate ourselves.
Is this an inevitable result? I do not think so: human activity is extensively determined by customs, and not all humans live or as live as post-industrial or post-agricultural societies have lived. Returning to neolithic or mesolithic models would kill most of us, but that is by no means even an option anyway, let alone the only one. But that does not mean that we cannot take ideas from such societies and others to design a way that works. People had something like a garden across the continents of the Americas for thousands of years, and that despite all the usual sorts of human squabbles. It is time to garner the fruits of post-industrial civilization and electronic communication to do something of the sort again, to use the momentary largesse of energy to establish an initial foothold, including to overcome our ignorance of the methods required, and to establish over time modes of behavior.
it is nice there's a marine sanctuary. Tick tock.