By Megan Palumbo – Sports Editor
On Thursday February 22, LEAF Club sponsored a presentation on ocean conservation. Allison Lorenc spoke from the Conservation Law Foundation (CFL).
This organization is known for using law, science and the market to preserve oceans. Their main focuses include clean energy, clean water, environmental justice and ocean conservation.
Recent focus on the issues of climate change and looking for alternative resources has allowed conservation to step in and bridge the gap. Lorenc went into detail about different proposed legislation to protect our oceans, such as the Antiquities Act and the National Ocean Policy. The Antiquities Act is vulnerable to President Trump, as he recently signed an executive order to review the law in 2017. The U.S.’s oceans, coasts and Great Lakes are protected through The Ocean Policy.
In addition, this was a chance for Lorenc to promote the recent campaigns that CFL has launched. She talked about a project called “A Whale of a Challenge” where residents of the New York Harbor share data on whales and other marine mammals, to make more informed decisions for future wildlife protection.
“I thought it was really interesting because this is a topic that I never learned about in school, or even see on the news often. I was very interested in learning more about the issues,” says junior communication major Mary Fran Hansen.
A video about Marine Protected Areas played during the presentation, showing scientists actively studying species above and below seamounts in the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument. This area was created by former U.S. President Barak Obama in 2016 to protect areas of marine environment.
There are often ethical dilemmas when being a conservationist. Deciding which species to conserve first isn’t always an easy decision. “It’s hard when you have to choose one thing over the other, and sometimes things get lost, but you have to remember to think ‘someone else is working on that too,’” said Lorenc.
CFL tries to address the most pressing issues. “It’s sadly what you can get funding for. Some of the most important environmental projects have come from people giving money to one thing that they relate with,” Lorenc says.
According to Lorenc, students can personally contribute to the cause by speaking up. “Voicing your opinion is one of the biggest things, and it’s really easy to give your congressman a call. It’s important to remember that they work for you, and they’re there to listen to you,” she said.
Lorenc writes for the CFL blog and has her own called talkingfish.org, where she talks about the nitty-gritty of fisheries issues around New England, mostly commenting on New England Fishermen Council activities.
This event was a success at bringing in fresh perspectives to talk to students about pressing issues that affect our planet. “I didn’t realize that we had this much diversity in New England with the seamounts. I thought it was really interesting and informative, said freshman environmental studies major Michael Smith.