Save the boos for Halloween, not for children speaking their minds

I heard my first “BOO!” of the year…but it wasn’t for Halloween.

megaphone1Last Wednesday, over 1000 Southern Californians attended the California Fish and Game Commission public hearing to comment on the Marine Life Protection Act that establishes marine protected areas (MPAs), aka Yosemites of the sea, along our California coast. As a self-proclaimed “educated and informed” youth, fresh out of graduate school with a Master’s in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation, I was encouraged to see the hundreds of students from elementary to college level in attendance to express their desire for these underwater national parks. One speech given early in the day by a student from High Tech High School stood out to me. She was composed, elegant and intelligent in articulating her reasons for establishing a marine reserve.  When personally commended by one of the Commissioners for her presentation, she was also met with some rude booing from those with an opposing view.  Luckily, it was the only “boo” of that day, and I hope that most people were more respectful and dignified than to verbally harass someone with a different perspective.

To all those who mistake youth for stupidity…

We are a far cry from naïve and uninformed children you think we can be. The students in that room are not the ones following the flock. Quite the opposite, we know that we need to begin conserving our scarce resources. Our education only serves to empower us because we know what we have lost and what is at stake, but we know that we can begin taking back our future. We have power and conviction in our views. WE are the ones who will ultimately have to live with the decisions made today. But, our generation is taking the first steps toward change. It is our future and we are taking the opportunities to show our support and voice our opinions. Let’s restore our oceans and coasts by establishing a strong network of scientifically-supported MPAs.  

Everyone, regardless of age, should join San Diego Coastkeeper in the fight and voice your support for MPAs by sending a letter to the Fish and Game Commission before the vote in December!

Let’s leave the “BOOs” for Halloween.