Let Children Speak For Themselves

children_mplaI want to express deep gratitude to all of you who attended the California Fish & Game Commission meeting yesterday to speak up for a healthy coast, as well as everyone who has supported the Marine Life Protection Act process at every step of the way. Thanks to you we are on the right road and have taken a giant leap towards a sustainable network of marine state parks! We had unbelievable speakers, and the shear volume of supporters filled the meeting hall to capacity and spilled over into the courtyard and beyond. EPIC JOB FOLKS!

That said, I want to touch on something that upset me greatly at the meeting and has been on my mind since. As many of you are aware, large groups of students from all over San Diego attended the meeting to show their support for conservation. Over the past several months these students have done their own research, created projects, and worked tirelessly to prepare to present their views on the importance of marine protected areas to the commission. I know because I was with them every step of the way.

Due to time constraints and the volume of public comment many students did not have the opportunity to speak. This is regrettable but understandable.


Student presenter Genevieve Baumann speaks with North County Times Reporter Deborah Sullivan Brennan regarding comments that she was “coerced” to testify.

What is entirely unacceptable, absolutely appalling, and the cause of a very unhealthy spike in my blood pressure, is the insinuation by some members of the opposition that these students were somehow deceived, manipulated or coerced into attendance. How disrespectful! How wrong! How completely offensive to young people doing everything they can to defend their right to live in a community that values their views and protects the environment that belongs to them! (Check out this article in the North County Times in which one of the students gives her response.)

How insulting to teachers who have made a proud career of encouraging the future of our state to learn and grow and think for themselves! Incorporating environmental protection into a curriculum is not coercion! It is a testament to their passion for their students and the health of their community!

mlpa_meeting_san_diegoI could go on forever about the heroics and maturity of San Diego’s youth, and about the crass hypocrisy of those with the audacity to try and debase them. I won’t because there isn’t room here, and I don’t want to have a stroke.

Instead I have a favor to ask of you: Please show your support for the students who put themselves on the line to defend something precious to us all. Please comment here, or email me at [email protected] and I will be more than happy to pass your messages along. These brave people put a huge collective effort into doing something great, and it is critical that they feel our appreciation!