Columns, Opinion

RUTH: From sea to shining sea

The United States is a beautiful country, and there is no doubt about that. There is even a song that was inspired by its spacious skies, amber waves of grain, purple mountain majesties and fruited plain.

In 2000, the California Coastal National Monument was established by President Bill Clinton to protect the islands, coastal bluffs, marine mammals, birds, reefs and its bountiful ecosystem. On March 11, President Barack Obama added the Point Arena-Stornetta unit of the California coast to the coastal monument, which is a whopping 1,665 acres.

It goes without saying that California is one of the most environmentally conscious states, but that does not mean they have to be the only state protecting the pristine areas that people love and enjoy.

The ecosystem services, cultural services in particular, which the environment offers us, are truly astounding. Close proximity to  the serene milieu increases property value as well as helps us cultivate an inner peace. Given today’s increased technology, our natural resources are entities that are available for human attainment and are often extracted unsustainably. Instead of thinking about how these blossoming resources around us, we need to start thinking about the future.

And for those of you who don’t care about future generations because you’ll be gone, think about how different your life would’ve been if someone didn’t have the novel idea to create national and state parks. And if that doesn’t make you think twice, then you should probably take a hike — literally and figuratively.

In the book Ishmael, the gorilla (yes, there’s a philosophical, talking gorilla) proclaimed that the world could be divided into givers and takers. This book teaches the lesson that instead of constantly squelching the environment of all its worth, it’s time that we give back to it.

The northern California coastline lends itself to hiking, fishing and observing the native wildlife. Preserving the sweeping scenery and beautiful beaches solidifies the tourism industry and further increases appreciation for our natural world and the resources that it offers. I applaud President Obama and all who are involved in the grueling process of giving this coastal gem the recognition that it deserves but, at the same time, it shouldn’t be this hard to gain appreciation for the beauty around us.

While I’ll probably never see the California Coastal National Monument in my lifetime, someone’s children in northern California will, and so will many future generations.

Every state should take part in something like this — choosing its most scenic, pristine location in the state and working to keep it that way. Appreciating our surroundings is the first step in learning how and why we should conserve them so that future generations can do the same.

So, if you could make a portion of the natural landscape in your state off limits, what would it be?


Jennifer Ruth is a College of Arts and Sciences junior. She can be reached at [email protected].


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