Happy Earth Day Project Baseliners!

Spring has sprung here in Nevada. It’s warm again – mostly. And, stuck at home, like I’m guessing so many of you are as well, I will have to just imagine how clear the water must be in the lake, not 30 minutes from my door, and the ocean just a few hours away. It frustrating and not exactly motivating either.

On the other hand, looking out the window at clearer skies, because so few people are driving or flying, and seeing pictures that some of you have shared of unexpected wildlife swimming along the shores of your beaches or visiting your yards, because so few people are out and about, inspires me to believe that a cleaner and healthier future for our oceans, lakes, rivers, and springs, is not only possible but tantalizingly within grasp.

This day is also inspiring, even if I’ll spend the majority of it inside. For me, it not only honors and celebrates our shared planet Earth and all of the wonders and adventures it sustains, it is also a testament to the power of ideas and of individuals to shape the ways in which we experience the world. In 1970, a junior senator from Wisconsin USA, Senator Gaylord Nelson, acted on an idea to inspire college students across America to speak up for a cleaner environment (learn more here). He recruited support from both Democrats and Republicans and together they created a movement that inspired 10% of America’s population to speak up for and support environmental protections. That same year, our nation created the Environmental Protection Agency, and soon after the bedrock environmental laws that serve us today, the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act. This day affords me the opportunity to reflect on all they accomplished, they – a small group of energized people who I’m sure confronted and had to overcome self-doubt, naysayers eager to remind them of the futility of fighting against the establishment, and countless actions and actors working against their success.

Today reminds me that the future is not written and is in fact up to us to write. And write we do, rather by our actions or our inactions. Earth Day inspires me to work and invest myself in the effort to make the world around me a place I’ll be proud and happy to hand off to my daughter and to the generations that come after me. Earth Day reminds me that creating and sustaining a healthy, diverse, exciting, and inspiring environment is not a liberal challenge, just as allowing the environment to descend into some feeble and monotonous version of its former self is not a conservative agenda. Sustaining a healthy world, a world that, for most of human existence, we could take for granted, has become a human imperative.

Fujiio Cho, honorary Chairman of Toyota Motors said “Environmentally friendly cars will soon cease to be an option … they will become a necessity.” The way I see it is that every one of us can choose to be part of the solution – or part of the problem.  We can either work proactively to sustain a vibrant and healthy environment, both above and below the waves, or ultimately work to adapt ourselves and everything we do to live in a hostile and depressing world. As Project Baseliners, we are, in our own ways and in our own backyards, choosing to be part of the solution, choosing to work for a healthy and sustainable world rather than pretending that we can continue to take for granted the underwater world we love to explore.

Thank you for all you do and all you’re thinking about doing once we can get back in the water. I look forward to hearing your stories and seeing the fruits of your efforts. Congratulations to all the teams out there who have carved out collaborations and are actively working with others to advance conservation agendas. To all of you who are just getting started or trying to figure out how to effectively engage, kudos for your inspiration, your efforts, and your persistence.

Best wishes to you all,