Home | About | Donate

Win for Climate Protection as Obama Creates World's Biggest Marine Sanctuary


Win for Climate Protection as Obama Creates World's Biggest Marine Sanctuary

Andrea Germanos, staff writer

President Barack Obama's creation on Friday of the world's largest marine protected area drew praise from lawmakers, Hawaiian community members, and environmental groups alike, who say it will help protect biodiversity and increase resilience in the face of climate change.

Obama is expanding the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument off the coast of Hawaii, more than quadrupling it in size to 582,578 square miles.


Don't forget, everything good he appears to do with one hand, he can take away with the TPP. Vote Green.


Hi minecritter. Yeah, it's wonderful to set aside large protected areas like Papahānaumokuākea, but it's only a start. Do we intend to protect 40% of the ocean as the scientists recommend, or will these protected areas become little museums of what used to be? The TPP will allow multi-national corporations to challenge and defeat any attempts governments might make to protect the natural environment, and Obama/Clinton are determined to ram it through. This designation of a larger protected area in Hawaii is a little gift to the green movement, to ease the pain as the environment is crushed under the weight of TPP.


Without regulation and enforcement this is not very meaningful news.
Regulation and enforcement should be paid for by the corporate fishing industry but operated by the people. Whistleblowers to be handsomely rewarded and promoted.


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.


I would like to see that in the Caribbean also. It gets a lot of abuse.


This is a great thing--for the PR dept. of the other white meat of the corporate duopoly party.

Unless enough is done to stop climate catastrophe, which is causing heating and acidification of the oceans, you could declare every inch of the Pacific a sanctuary and it would make no difference at all. The oceans would still be dying. Climate would still be deteriorating and hundreds of millions or billions of refugees would still be in our near future. Obama and H. Clinton have made head fakes toward doing something but are both adamantly opposed to everything that could actually stop climate cataclysm. If Clinton or Trump take office our chances of survival are drastically reduced. In 4 years it will probably be too late to save civilization.

We need an immediate US WWII style industrial mobilization to replace at least 90% of fossil fuel use with efficiency, conservation, clean safe renewable energy and wiser lives; to sequester carbon already emitted by reforesting the planet and transforming chemical industrial agriculture to small-scale family-owned low-meat organic permaculture. We need to transform industry to benign, closed loop, biomimicing craft-industry. We need to do this in the next 8 years at the absolute most, or we risk an exponentially increasing chance of utter collapse of the biosphere, the wrecking of civilization, the extinction of millions of species, high and increasing chance of global nuclear war and the end of all life on Earth through the simplification and destabilization of the cybernetic system of life on which our existence depends.

But yeah, thanks for the new park.

You insane moron.


Now Obama give full protection to ANWAR as a sanctuary, or whatever it takes to keep the oil and gas vampires from getting anywhere near ANWAR. To understand better, You-Tube, "Being Caribou", a documentry by two Canadians who filmed the Caribou herds 2,800 mile journey from winter feeding grounds, to summer calfing grounds in ANWAR. Extra special film that will give you a good feeling inside.


Thank you for pointing this out-------everything is connected. For years I tried to "think globally and act locally" by protecting many acres of wetlands, woodlands and prairies where I lived. Even though technically "protected", these once diverse ecosystems are getting killed by rapidly rising CO2 levels, invasive species (that for now, seem to thrive with higher levels of CO2) and air pollution. There is nothing our little conservation group can do to save these miraculous places because of climate change. "Restoration ecology" was a brief delusion.

If Obama truly cared (yes . . . I know) about the "Marine Sanctuary", he would kill the TPP, do whatever is in his power to stop drilling and be standing with the Standing Rock Sioux, and stop the pipeline---and much, much more.


At this point we don't know how the fight against climate change is going to turn out and the worst case scenario type of situation might happen but at the present the oceans are being hit by a number of factors including overfishing, nitrogen fertilization, oil drilling, pollution from chemicals and plastics, as well as warming and acidification. Addressing any of these factors is a positive step. So I would say that action by Obama should be applauded by those concerned about the status of the oceans. It is not PR. This really is something positive that will help stem ecologic degradation in the marine environment.


Other kind of/sort of good news:

Obama could have done more for bees instead of favoring corporations -----there should be a U.S. ban on neonicotinoids.



I'm not saying this shouldn't be done; in fact there should be a lot more done. All land and all waters should be protected except when needed by the entire community, for the good of the entire community, and the entire community should vote on it before any part gets sacrificed. All those other factors should be addressed fully, too: drastically reducing meat-eating, chemical agriculture, and prescription drug use, (they seem to be harming fish in waters they're flushed into). Offshore drilling should be stopped immediately. Plastic bags and all other non-essential plastics should be rapidly phased out. Fisheries must be preserved for the 1-2 billion poor people who depend on them at least part of the year, which means rich people need to just about stop eating fish.

But none of that will matter if we don't stop climate catastrophe almost immediately; it overwhelms all other problems and considerations and will end civilization and cause horrific ecological devastation, extinction and human desperation if we don’t radically change the lives of the rich starting now.

If this preservation were being done by someone who was trying to address the much more serious and urgent problem I absolutely would applaud that person. But Obama is inextricably tied to the fossil fuel industry, bank and corporate system and oligarchy, and refuses to take or even talk about the steps necessary to even begin to stop the problem. For someone so criminally, pathologically unwilling to act on the truth he must know, this is despicably hypocritical--let's call it hypodespicriticabal behavior. For this and for following the same path for the last 9 years and more, he deserves to be removed from power, stripped of everything he owns and prevented from ever having any job better than minimum wage or ever having a position of responsibility in government, business, non-profit or religion. If he agrees to all that he should be pardoned and escape life in prison, along with all the oil, coal and gas executives and others who have collaborated with this monstrous crime against humanity and the Earth. In the face of such psychopathy, some mean words about his PR move—which is what it is—seem like a gentle and infinitesimal thing.


Wondering how much of the pacific gyre is included in this "sanctuary " ?. Does this mean it will be protected , or cleaned up ?? ( the gyre )


Unfortunately, all the marine sanctuaries in the world will do no good when the entire world ocean is acidifying from human CO2 emission and may be on a trajectory to a mass extinction not seen in 250 million years. I guess the marine sanctuaries provide a place document the decline of all the species as they disappear.


Thank you so much for that work; I don't think it was wasted. As Rebecca Solnit points out, (to paraphrase) when we lose it's forever, when we win, it's a draw for now. But all the places you've helped save are there helping to sequester carbon, and are preserves that if we avoid climate catastrophe--one time we can win forever--will be there to begin seeding the areas around them. It's crucial preparatory work for the big job we have now--the revolution.


Man this is creepy. This is exactly what bush did as a lame duck. And that was right before he let wall street crash the economy and raided the US Treasury via TARP bailout for banksters.

Am I correct to suspect, Lame Duck Obama, will also raid the treasury and bail out the zombie banks again his last 30 days in office? Every 8 years or so this happens. We are way overdue.


Seemed that way to me too. Announce an expansion of the oceanic preserve a day before the auctioning of oil leases is to occur.


Much gratitude for your very uplifting, kind message---I appreciate your words more than you could know.

I'm a big fan of Rebecca Solnit. Joanna Macy helps too: