On April 30, 2019, Ocean Doctor President Dr. David E. Guggenheim, along with Bonnie Monteleone (Executive Director and Director of Science, Research and Academic Partnerships for the Plastic Ocean Project); Ruth Greenspan Bell (Public Policy Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars with a long standing focus on governance issues inherent in managing green house gas emissions); and Dr. Lisa Suatoni (Senior Scientist, Oceans Division, Nature Program at NRDC) addressed a standing-room-only meeting of the United States House of Representatives Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition (SEEC) for a spirited discussion about the oceans under the theme, “The Blue New Deal,” building on the spirit of the proposed “Green New Deal” to direct important focus to the oceans at a time of critical need.
The meeting was led by SEEC member Congressman David Price, and organized by SEEC executive director, Maria Laverdiere, SEEC staff, along with constituents and environmental advocates Karen McCall and Anne H. Montgomery. Topics included the impacts of climate change and ocean acidification; the urgency of rescuing coral reefs; climate change mitigation, including the preservation and restoration of coral reefs, mangroves and wetlands; plastic pollution; and the importance of preserving and restoring marine wildlife — especially whales — whose activities (including excretory functions) can help fertilize oceans and sequester carbon in the deep oceans, a process known as the “whale pump.”
We owe many thanks to the many Members who attended and participated with thoughtful action-oriented questions, including House Represenatives Suzanne Bonamici, Salud Carbajal, Alan Lowenthal, Doris O. Matsui, Scott Peters, Ted Lieu and Paul D. Tonko among others. We are also grateful to both the House and Senate Oceans Caucuses for their support and efforts on new legislation (SOS) to address critical oceans issues.