News from the Center: Feb/Mar 2017

February, 2017

 

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The NEC and Humboldt Baykeeper are settling into our new space nicely. We had a successful Open House in January with over 100 people stopping by. It was good to see our long time supporters as well as new faces and lively conversation was heard throughout the room. If you weren’t able to stop by during the Open House we hope you’ll visit another time.  Our new location at 415 I Street in Arcata makes it easy for people to stop by and pick up brochures, peruse our library, chat about issues and learn about our current programs.

Speaking of programs, the NEC was awarded a grant from Arcata Main Street, Oyster Festival Aquaculture Support Fund, a fund of the Humboldt Area Foundation, for our Adopt-A-Block program. Staff are excited about expanding this program and will be recruiting volunteers through presentations at civic groups and businesses. If your group or business is interested in scheduling a presentation, please contact the office. In collaboration with Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) and Arcata Main Street, the NEC will also be holding a volunteer appreciation and informational party on Friday, February 10th from 5-6 p.m. at Arcata Main Street, 761 8th St, #C. Please join us on the south side of the Plaza for a quick cleanup, information on the program and pizza before Arts!Arcata.

Now that the relocation dust has settled, staff are busy with other gathering opportunities. Mark your calendars for the NEC’s next Pints for Non-Profits night at Mad River Brewery on Wednesday, April 5 and our spring auction and dinner fundraiser on Saturday, April 15 at the Bayside Grange. If you have any art, books, activities, services, etc. that you’d like to donate for the auction please contact the office. We hope to see you at one of these events to help us continue our important work during these challenging times.

Trump: An Environmental Calamity
             
The new United States President lost the popular vote by a wide margin. Now that the Party of Trump controls both the House, Senate and soon the courts, their mission is clear: roll back all environmental regulations. All eyes in the environmental movement are focused on Washington, D.C.

To try to make some sense of it all, we look to our NEC board member in the nation’s capitol, Dan Sealy, to give us a firsthand report as he sees it:

“What is it like in Washington, D.C. now?” Friends in the west have frequently asked this question since the November elections.  

I am happy to be returning home to Humboldt County and to the Northcoast Environmental Center, but I would not trade my conservation work from coast to coast for anything.  I worked for the Department of the Interior under the Presidents from Nixon (when I was still a student at Humboldt State University) to Obama. I am proud to have met Presidents Carter, Clinton, George W. Bush and Obama. I have lived in Oklahoma, California, Massachusetts, Virginia and Maryland and have lived in Washington, D.C. suburbs since 1992.  

Although some have compared this change in Presidential administration to the 1980s Reagan Administration­—James Watt as Secretary of the Interior and Ann Gorsuch Burford as Director of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)—this feels very different. The normal expectations of ethics, honesty and a moral foundation seem to have shifted significantly. Representatives of conservation organizations who have offices here are still trying to find where that shifting ground will take them.

Members of congressional staff on both sides of the aisle were immediately in a slump. The real sense of gloom in many sectors of D.C.—from local neighborhoods to federal servants to international diplomats—was palpable and concerning. I have never felt anything like it.

However, conservationists, environmentalists and their representatives have a legacy of standing up against attacks on the environment. As the dust settles, there is a strong sense of commitment to be even more organized and united in standing up for hard-fought laws—laws that are the building blocks for living in a clean environment and protecting public lands and resources.

We must continue our work to protect our environment but must work even more closely with underrepresented communities to assure environmental justice is not lost in decisions addressing  mercury in our water, disease in our fish or location of radioactive wastes.
 

Bella Waters, Larry Glass and Dan Sealy