President Bush’s environmental legacy gets a boost

President Bush hasn’t been the favorite president of the environmental movement: pushing for oil drilling in pristine areas, pushing for relaxation of air and water quality regulations, uranium mining at the edge of the Grand Canyon, removing scientists from the process of evaluating endangered species, and low investment in renewable energy resources.

A part of his environmental legacy has to include, however, his recent designation of large areas of the western Pacific Ocean as Marine National Monuments.

“[Environmentalists] do not dispute that Bush is the first president to protect significant swaths of U.S. territorial waters. The three new monuments will protect the Mariana Trench, the deepest canyon on Earth; coral reefs off the cost of the Mariana Islands; and an atoll known as “Islands of Seabirds” near American Samoa.” — Scientific American, World’s leading protector of the oceans? President Bush

The Republicans for Environmental Protection has had this notice on its website for a couple months, so the move came as no surprise:

“President Bush is considering designation of two very large marine national monuments before he leaves office on January 20, 2009. The monuments, in the western and central Pacific, would protect hundreds of millions of acres of marine habitat for coral reefs, marine mammals, migratory birds, and sea turtles. Designating the monuments would be a spectacular conservation legacy. Please contact the White House and urge President Bush to follow through on the marine monument proposals”

There’s not a word about this on the websites of the Sierra Club, The Nature Conservancy, nor The Wilderness Society. Couldn’t they just say “Thank you?”

Grace and Peace

Update: The Sierra Club did mention this briefly on its The Green Life blog. They called it a surprise move, even though others saw it coming.

Update #2: USA Today: Bush to make Pacific’s Mariana Trench a national monument

Update #3: Grist (an environmental blog) gives Bush credit: Oceans of Praise

4 thoughts on “President Bush’s environmental legacy gets a boost

  1. So… Teddy Roosevelt (Republican) creates the National Forrest, and George W. Bush (Republican) creates the “National Oceans.”

    Hmm… I guess that makes the Republican party the party that actually does things for the environment that actually matter while the Democrats scream a lot and blame other people for their failures.

    I’m not a hard-core Republican any more, but at least I’m still attached to this legacy.

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  2. a reader

    Yes, I agree they could say thank you.

    That does not excuse the enormous damage this reprehensible, willfully ignorant and visionless man and his administration has done to the protection of the environment (on terra firma)during his reign of lies and deceit.

    In spite of his promises to Obama for a smooth presidential transistion, In the closing days of his administration Bush has signed numerous orders to weaken or overturn environmental laws, some which will be hard for the Obama administration to remedy without lenghty deabte through Congress.

    Bush has subverted the role of science in our culture and has attempted to reverse 40 years of environmental responsibility that many have worked hard to achievce

    Bush and Cheney are the antithesis of almost everything that should represent intelligent,competent, honest and vsionary leadership. Instead we have had 8 years of obstinate denial,delusional fundamenatlist irrationality and deceitful, exclusionary policies that have only made our culture more self-absorbed, less compassionate reckless and irresponsible, cultivating a pathological atmosphere of harsh, polarizing politics and destabilization of the economy.

    Instead of asking for thoughtful citizen partcipation in times of crisis and emphasizing that we are all in this together to be responsible caretakers of our country, Bush’s extremely partsan policies gave us by example,implied permission to just be selfish, detached, mindless and irresponsible over-consumers.

    He has been the epitomy of a “divider not a uniter” and we and the earth are much poorer in spirt as well as substance because of the Bush years.

    I have no nostalgia for the regressive neo-conseravtive “dark ages” that we have just been through. Now many of us we will have to struggle to climb out of the pit we have dug for ourselves, back into hopefully a new era of progressive ideals ,innovation, rationality, responsibility and thoughtful sobreity.

    We must cultivate real “family values”, that is protecting, preserving and restoring the “family of all life” on this planet.

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  3. geochristian

    Reader:

    Thanks for your comment.

    I agree that the overall Bush record on the environment has been poor.

    This has been inconsistent with a truly Biblical view of the environment. Evangelicals in general think very highly of a theologian and philosopher named Francis Schaeffer, but they ignore his book on the environment, Pollution and the Death of Man. In this book, Schaeffer makes a case for the seriousness of the ecological crisis facing the world, and how Christianity should be at the forefront of the response to this crisis, offering the best solutions for the good of humanity, the good of the Earth, and the glory of God.

    Divisive politics has come from both parties, not just from George W. Bush and the Republicans.

    Thanks again.

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  4. a reader

    Thanks for your reply geochristian,

    I am glad that there s a growing segment of evangelicals who are embracing a sense of stewardship of the environment. I have always wondered why those who say they are “pro-life” have not seen the obvious connection that protecting life includes all of it not just one species, because it is undeniable that whatever else one may believe, the health of the biology of this planet is what made it possible for humans to exist and prosper physically and economically to the level we are at now. To be unconcerned or have comtempt for the environment to me is utterly irrational and in extreme cases self-destructive.

    I have to admit that I have a strong visceral dislike for George W Bush and Dick Cheney because I feel that they were rarely honest brokers of their intentions and as I said before instead of trying to unite our divisions which I admit also came from both sides at times, they and those in Congress seemed to relish just polarizing the atmosphere further. Regardless of the past and who was at fault, we will not solve the enormous problems we have brought on our selves with a divided nation.

    In my opinion what is needed is a new politics of pragmatism realizing that sometimes we have to compromise to resolve situations and that none of us are completely right. Except for certain obvious moral,ethical and humane
    issues life and politics are rarely black and white experiences.

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