OpenROV co-founder David Lang has an article on Medium calling for ‘Creating a League of Citizen Scientists for the Ocean‘ – the article takes inspiration from historical progress made on environmental and citizen science fronts to contemporary phenomenon like sourcing public comments online and crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter. TL;DR: “This is why I’m hopeful.”
A playbook for turning administrative headwinds into lasting marine conservation and protection.
First the bad news. The public comment period for Executive Order 13795, which puts all the designated Marine Monuments (since April 2007) under review, is now closed. Over 400,000,000 square acres of newly designated marine protected areas in US coastal waters are now up for grabs.
Now the good news. Nearly 100,000 comments are loudly echoing the same message: don’t remove these designations. Marine protected areas (MPAs) work to restore ecosystems and, if anything, need to be expanded. Americans clearly care about preserving these places for future generations. Regardless of what the Trump administration does with our MPAs, the people have spoken. We can still work to protect these and other marine habitats. In fact, history tells us that now is our moment to shine.
We need a League of Citizen Scientists for the Ocean. I’ve seen glimpses of this future, and I know it’s possible. But before I get into the plan, it’s important to go over the history of our national parks and protected areas.