The Blue New Deal  

There has been a great deal of discussion of the Green New Deal but there is little about the ocean in it.  Part of the reason why the ocean has not been factored in is that we don’t know much about what lies beneath the surface.  A Blue New Deal would need to help unlock the mysteries of the deep that will be the foundation of both healthy oceans that are free of plastic and full of life, and ensure the sustainable use of ocean resources for food and clean energy, etc.  We can’t be a green planet, without caring for the blue!

by RADM Jonathan W. White, USN (ret.), President and CEO,  Consortium for Ocean Leadership

This blog was originally published on April 1, 2019

I just heard from a longtime friend on the Hill that “soon” Congress will introduce a “Blue New Deal” in both chambers with support from the President and all ocean agencies. Congress and the Administration are joining forces to create a strategic, cost-loaded plan that will address ocean science and technology needs nationwide, bringing together federal agencies with their partners in academia, industry, state and local government, and NGOs to work on key common goals. I’m pleased that our nation’s leaders are taking these critical next steps to protect our ocean’s future and that they’re setting such an ambitious timeline — they plan to see these goals realized by the end of 2020.

Some highlights of the legislation will include:

  • Increased funding for ocean and coastal observing systems, with the ultimate goal of a fully integrated national ocean observing framework generating uninterrupted, 24/7 data.
  • Establishment of a unified (virtually or physically), secure ocean data portal and repository, which will make data from all ocean observations more widely accessible and understandable to scientists, decisionmakers, educators, and the public.
  • Federal support for K-12 ocean science courses and extracurricular activities that will expose more students (regardless of where they live) to ocean science and increase ocean literacy.
  • Creation of FISH ROE (Finding Integrated Solutions to Habitat Resiliency and the Ocean Economy), a revolutionary incubator connecting researchers and practitioners in traditional and new ocean industries with biologists and ecologists specializing in coastal and ocean ecosystems.
  • Introduction of the BAIT (Broad Aquaculture Innovative Testbed) project to build an environmentally responsible, integrated, multitrophic aquaculture system, rapidly moving transdisciplinary, cutting-edge aquaculture research into practice.
  • Initiatives at the national, regional, state, and local levels to create or update coastal infrastructure based on local sea level rise projections.
  • Pilot programs across the nation addressing fisheries health concerns with innovative management strategies tailored to regional and ocean-wide needs.
  • Several new programs dealing with marine debris and ocean plastic pollution, including research into collection technologies and new standards for waste-water management, such as microplastic catch filters. Included will be an initiative to dramatically increase the number of recycling centers nationwide and create a clear path to move more recycled materials into manufactured products.
  • A rejuvenation of the National Oceanographic Partnership Program (NOPP) to convene, plan, and manage the necessary interagency and public-private partnership programs to rapidly advance the above and many other sustainable initiatives toward an ocean that is well managed and prosperous, meeting the needs of humanity and all other life on our planet.

There’s just one hurdle thing that must be considered in all of this …

APRIL FOOLS!

While there are certainly good intentions by many of our ocean champions, no such grand, sweeping effort exists (at least, not now). I think we would all love to see such an ambitious commitment to securing the health and future of our ocean, our nation, and the world we influence. I fear if we don’t, future generations may look at us as the real fools.

This blog first appeared in the President’s Corner of the Consortium For Ocean Leadership on April 1, 2019.  It’s reprinted here with Admiral White’s permission.  We wish it were true too!  But it’s a great vision for a Blue New Deal.  

Up Next

First U.S. Offshore Wind Farm In Federal Waters Completed, Ready to Spin

First U.S. Offshore Wind Farm In Federal Waters Completed, Ready to Spin

On Monday, the state of Virginia and Dominion Energy announced the completion of the second offshore wind facility in the U.S. and the first one in federal waters.  Its two turbines sit 27 miles off the coast and when operational later this summer, will produce enough electricity to power 3000 homes.

Why This Matters:  If the waters off Virginia are suitable for wind farms, with their close proximity to ports, naval facilities, and tourism, then it is hard to imagine why wind power can’t be developed in many other areas along the U.S. coast.

Continue Reading 521 words
One Working Remotely Thing: The Wonders of The Coral Sea Discovered

One Working Remotely Thing: The Wonders of The Coral Sea Discovered

Recently, a deep-sea expedition to the Coral Sea northwest of Australia conducted by the Schmidt Ocean Institute, founded by Eric Schmidt, the former chairman of Google, and his wife, Wendy returned with stunning images to share.  Bill Broad of The New York Times wrote an in-depth story that featured the images and described some of the most important findings.

Why This Matters:  Aside from the many discoveries, such as 10 new species of fish, snails and sponges, the entire expedition was conducted remotely because of the coronavirus pandemic — which apparently is a global first, but is unlikely the last time that will happen.

Continue Reading 275 words
Achieving Fully Protected Marine Reserves Is Increasingly Urgent

Achieving Fully Protected Marine Reserves Is Increasingly Urgent

by Jenna Sullivan-Stack, Postdoctoral Scholar, Oregon State University Department of Integrative Biology When preparing for the birth of my son this February, I decided to make him a mobile of some of the things that are most important to me (I am not crafty, so this was a real labor of love). What I ended […]

Continue Reading 885 words