In 2004 Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the ‘Ocean Action Plan,’ which among other things created a “public awareness campaign” to inform the public about the importance of our coasts and oceans. The federal government started a similar program in 2004.
In 2006, the California “Thank You Ocean” Campaign was launched. The campaign is sponsored by all the same corporations, foundations, aquariums, and privately funded government agencies who attempted to railroad through a co-opted version of the MLPA – the Marine Life Protection Act “Initiative.”
The “Thank You Ocean” public relations campaign lists four threats to our oceans:1. Climate Change 2. Marine Debris 3. Water Pollution 4. Marine Life Decline
In the co-opted version of the MLPAI – the so-called “Initiative”- none of these threats are dealt with in any comprehensive manner whatsoever, which was the original intent of the 1999 MLPA law.
Instead, only fishing and seafood gathering were banned by the MLPAI “Initiative” – on hundreds of square miles of state waters. This includes sustainable and subsistence gathering, done in a respectful and spiritual manner.
For Marine Life Decline, the “Thank You Ocean” website recommends not flushing your kitty litter down the toilet, and using your Monterey Bay Aquarium “Seafood Guide” when purchasing fish. We are advised to take shorter showers, and not buy coral jewelry or shark fins. Helpful advice, but maybe a little out of contact with reality?
No mention is made in the “Marine Life Decline” section about the massive salmon and splittail fish kills, caused by the pumping of Delta water for Southern California corporate agribusiness and electricity/water agencies.
In the Water Pollution section, numerous tips are suggested for the everyday household. However, large corporate, industrial and military polluters are totally let off the hook. Oil drilling, Naval Weapons Testing, Nuclear Power Plants, Fish Farming, Ocean Mining, Wind and Wave Energy Installations – none of these critical ocean issues are even mentioned.
And strangely, the “Thank You Ocean” PR campaign fails to inform the public at all about the MLPAI “Initiative,” or even the idea of marine protected areas. Why?
Although taking a few tiny steps in the right direction, the “Thank You Ocean” Campaign is as phony as our former Governor, and as corrupt as the insidious MLPAI “Initiative” itself.
More on this topic in upcoming posts.