President Obama: Create the World's Largest Protected Marine Area on the Planet

  • by: Jessica Ramos
  • recipient: Barack Obama, President of the United States of America

President Barack Obama is a self-described "island boy" with "aloha spirit," so it's only natural for Native Hawaiian leaders to approach the President with a huge environmental undertaking: Expand Hawaii's Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, a 140,000-square-mile marine protected area. 

The leaders are pushing for the expansion because, "While the current boundary of Papahanaumokuakea includes vital habitat for a number of species, it doesn't fully protect habitat and travel routes for several species including Hawaiian monk seals, green sea turtles, sharks, whales, Black-footed and Laysan albatrosses as well as other species," reports the AP's Big Story

In 2016, only 6 percent of the global ocean has been set aside as marine protected areas or protection is planned. But that's still not enough. A 2016 study argues that we need to protect at least 30 percent of our oceans to protect biological diversity and the interests of fisheries. Like one of the study's authors, Bethan O' Leary, explains to,  "The natural world needs substantial space free from significant human impact to thrive."

The good news, in the case of the ocean, is that all we need to do is to leave it alone and marine life will thrive. Sign and share this petition urging President Obama, an island boy at heart, to expand Hawaii's Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument and create the world's largest protected marine area on the planet.

Photo Credit: Geordie Mott

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