“It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it’s still here. So get out there and hunt and fish and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, climb the mountains, bag the peaks, run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, the lovely, mysterious, and awesome space. Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to the body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much; I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those desk-bound men and women with their hearts in a safe deposit box, and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators. I promise you this: You will outlive the bastards.”—Edward Abbey
Loon Outdoors stepping up their non toxic game
11 October Update:The president signed the Save our Seas Act into law. UPI story here.
Recently Hatch Magazine ran an article (below) that I wrote about federal legislation that would reauthorize the Marine Debris Act.
In the article I noted industry efforts to address the problem of plastic waste in our oceans. Chris Gaggia of Patagonia alerted me to Bureo a business supported by Patagonia Works.
At Bureo, we make skateboards from recycled fishing nets. Our recycling program in Chile, ‘Net Positiva’, provides fishing net collection points to keep plastic fishing nets out of our oceans. Preventing harmful materials from entering the ocean, our programs protect wildlife and supporting local fishing communities through financial incentives.”
Check them out at Bureo.
Here is the Hatch article.
Trash, mostly plastic, in the oceans is a serious problem and visible reminder of our careless attitude toward the planet. In recent years, the fly-fishing industry has dedicated continued energy to address this problem. Through the introduction of cardboard fly boxes, the American Fly Fishing Trade Association has worked to get plastic out of the waste stream. Costa has their #KickPlastic campaign, Fishpond has Cyclepond fabric, and Patagonia is working to address microfiber pollution.
These days most of us rarely look to Congress for good news, but there is a bit of positive news to convey.
Legislation to assist in cleanup of the oceans took a step forward this summer. In a rare example of bipartisan cooperation, instigated by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, the U.S. Senate passed the Save our Seas Act, S. 756 in August of this year. The legislation was introduced by Senator Dan Sullivan of Alaska and cosponsored by Senators Whitehouse, Booker (NJ), Coons (DE), Peters (MI), Inhofe (OK), Tillis (NC), and Murkowski (AK). 14 other Senators had joined them by the time the bill was passed.
The legislation reauthorizes, funds and amends the Marine Debris Act. It provides $10 million for outreach and education to address both land and sea-based marine debris challenges and $2 million for better law enforcement related to trash dumped from ships and supports Federal funding for research and development of environmentally feasible improvements to materials that reduce municipal solid waste. It also promotes international action to reduce marine debris including ocean biodegradable plastics research, examining the causes of ocean debris, developing effective prevention and mitigation strategies, and measuring the economic benefits from addressing the challenges.
“Over the course of years and decades, marine debris deposited in the ocean half a world away inevitably finds its way to our coastal communities and ecosystems. Alaska feels the brunt of this crisis with its extensive coastline,” said Senator Sullivan. “I’m heartened that Senators from coastal and landlocked states alike – from both parties – have come together to support the Save Our Seas Act, which is now one step closer to becoming law. I encourage my colleagues in the House to move swiftly, so that we can reauthorize NOAA’s vital Marine Debris Program and enact other measures to clean up Alaska’s waters and protect our marine environment.”
“Plastic garbage and other junk crowding our oceans and shores is more than an eyesore. It’s a threat to vital ocean and coastal ecosystems and our economy,” said Senator Whitehouse. “This bill tackles the marine debris crisis along American coasts. It will also push us to work with other countries on limiting the plastics and other harmful materials that find their way to the ocean. That includes working on an international agreement to stop the flow of trash from land into the ocean, and, if trash does get to the ocean, supporting research into new materials that break down in a way that won’t wreak havoc in our seas. Thank you to Senators Sullivan, Booker, and all the bipartisan co-sponsors for helping to see this bill through.”
Washed up garbage embedded in the turf layer at the high-water mark along a beachfront (photo: Bo Eide cc/2.0).
What is encouraging is the bipartisan nature of this legislation and the fact it is moving through the Senate and not sitting idle and gathering dust. It could serve as a logical amendment to any oceans related legislation that has more momentum should the U.S. House fail to act.
The U. S. House of Representatives does have a companion measure with the same title, H.R. 2748. It was introduced by Representative Don Young of Alaska. Young has attached 39 co-sponsors to the bill so far. The bill is slowly working its way through the committee process, but with the pressing load of other legislative matters, the prospect of passage in the House seem dim.
Considering the almost unfathomable amount marine debris currently plaguing our oceans, this legislation alone is not going to solve the plastics problem, but these days any progress is good progress.
If you want to show your support for this legislation contact your Member of Congress and ask them to co-sponsor the Save our Seas Act, H.R. 2748. Don’t know who represents you in Congress; find out here.
Author’s note: This article first appeared in Hatch Magazine
O’Dell Creek holds a special place in my heart.
The first time I saw it was in August 2006 with Alex Diekmann. Alex and I worked together at the Trust for Public Land; he was a project manager, and I was a lobbyist. He found the places to protect, and I helped find the resources to try and protect them. One of the last times I was with Alex we fished O’Dell together.
The O’Dell project as it has come to be known is the conservation vision and hard work of Jeff Lazlo. Jeff has made O’Dell Creek wetlands restoration an award winning model for citizen-driven conservation. In doing so he created a source of cold, clean water and a haven and breeding ground for native cutthroats in the Madison River.
Liam writes of fishing and conservation for Mountain Journal. His latest article, For Every Great Trout Stream, There’s a Conservation Map, is his story about working on Lazlo’s, Granger Ranch, home to O’Dell Creek.
I thought the way you learned about trout was by catching them. But my project taught me how and why a good trout stream exists. Clean, cold water filled with healthy amounts of natural fish food doesn’t just happen.”
Liam is a fine young outdoor writer, and his work reflects a conservation ethos steeped in things he learned at his mother’s and father’s side. His articles in Mountain Journal are worth the read.
If you don’t know Mountain Journal, it is a new publication keeping a weather eye on the Yellowstone ecosystem. They are a not-for-profit public interest journalism outfit, check it out and shoot them a few buck so they can keep lights on and the presses running.
This is an evolving story. Links to relevant stories are in the Postscript section at the bottom.
Think long and hard about the implications of that tweet from the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee.
You may not agree with Patagonia or the language they used (see Outside Online article in the postscript), but this is a branch of our government attacking a U.S. company, disparaging their motive for speaking out and condescendingly ridiculing your fellow citizens.
Hijacking the debate my ass.
The hypocrisy of suit wearing, highly compensated and mostly wealthy, elected officials continues to astound me. I am not an elitist, wealthy, urban dweller and neither are many of my friends who wear Patagonia clothes and use their gear. I wear Patagonia products for my work as a guide in rural Virginia and for much of my regular attire. I choose their products because of the quality, suitability for my work and my admiration for who they are as a company.
Patagonia is not hijacking the debate for sales. Patagonia has fully engaged in the public lands and environmental debates for quite some time, a quick look at their website or the Axios story in the postscript below will show that. Conversations with friends and colleagues make me think their website page call to action could be a mixed bag for sales. The Axios story points out that they prepared for the adverse consequences back in 2012.
The shadow of repression grows longer.
There is a place for responsible rebuttals. The House Natural Resources Committee tweet, however, crosses a line by sending an intimidating message to those who dare to voice their opinion.
If you care about public lands and the freedom to speak out on their behalf, this should infuriate you. We have entered dark times for our public lands. It is time to raise our voices and call bullshit once again.
“Wildlife and its habitat cannot speak, so we must and we will.”
I stand with Patagonia.
Postscript (most recent at the bottom):
Axios: 8. Patagonia v. Trump
Outside Online: Patagonia and the Federal Government Go Head to Head
Huffington Post: Your Tax Dollars Are Being Used To Attack Patagonia
GQ: Now the Government Is Going After Patagonia for Criticizing Trump
Outside Online: Is the GOP Congress Calling for a Patagonia Boycott?
Walter Shaub Twitter thread:“When a federal government official publicly calls you a liar on an official social media account…”
Washington Post: Zinke, House GOP escalate feud with Patagonia over monuments
Washington Post, The Energy 202: Ryan Zinke rebuffed for retweet
U.S. House Natural Resources Committee: Chairman Bishop Invites Patagonia CEO to Testify Before the Committee
Chairman Bishop’s invitation letter. Credit were credit is due, the letter is well written, respectful and a much more appropriate response than the one on Twitter.
Outside Online: The GOP Wants Chouinard to Testify? He Should Accept.
Columbia Journalism Review: Outside reporter: ‘I wasn’t banned—at least, not as far as I can prove’
Patagonia’s Yvon Chouinard in The Cleanest Line: Response to the House Committee on Natural Resources. If you are going to say “no thanks” he could not have done it better and for the right reasons.
The good folks at Conservation Hawks are at it again.
Building on the success of the powerful film Cold Waters, they have rolled out a new film that continues the message that anglers need to speak up about climate change.
Take a look at this the trailer for Chrome.