A love and respect of nature.
Q) Is there any book, film, person, etc. that you have encountered over the years that inspired you to be an environmental activist? Do you have a specific story about that experience?
I have been inspired by many mentors in my life (Dr. Jane Goodall; Jacques Cousteau and his son, Jean Michel Cousteau; Sylvia Earle; David Suzuki, Ted Dansen; Paul Watson; HRH Prince Charles; Robert Kennedy Jr., Sting and Trudie Styler, and his Holiness the Dalai Lama. I continue to educate myself about environmental issues as a student of the world, studying a variety of issues to learn more about the world we inhabit. Early works by Rachel Carson, David Brower, and Al Gore shaped my views about environmental issues. As for films, I think everyone should see an "Inconvenient Truth," "The Cove," "End of the Line," "Dirt," "Crude," and "Food Inc," to get a well-rounded view of some of the most critical issues facing us today.
Q) What environmental victories - either in your personal life, community, or the country - matter most to you?
My wife Keely and I have been involved in a number of successful campaigns to protect marine mammals including saving the last pristine breeding ground of the California Grey Whale at Lagoon San Ignacio; promoting "dolphin safe" tuna while insuring that the current federal definition of "dolphin safe" actually means what it says; stopping one of the world's largest mining companies from building an LNG terminal off the coast of Malibu and Oxnard in a marine preserve; protecting and preserving the Bolsa Chica wetlands, promoting clean air and clean water legislation, especially in urban areas; and promoting the Global Climate Change Bill.
Q) What environmental issues are you most focused on as the 40th Earth Day approaches?
Marine mammal protection. We are shocked and saddened to hear that the Obama Administration (NOAH) is considering initiating a deal that would remove 40 years of protection for whales by legalizing whaling for Japan, Iceland and Norway. Nearly 95% of environmental conservation efforts go to the land with only 5% left for ocean. Yet 70% of the earth is covered by water. We need to protect our blue planet by thinking blue, not just green.
I want to remind everyone of President Obama’s own promise: “As president, I will ensure that the U.S. provides leadership in enforcing international wildlife protection agreements, including strengthening the international moratorium on commercial whaling. Allowing Japan to continue commercial whaling is unacceptable.' then-Senator Barack Obama.
Q) What is your personal goal for Earth Day 40 years from now? What do you hope has been accomplished?
I hope that we can all look back collectively at this time in history and be proud of our accomplishments. I hope that we have the insight and awareness to listen to the scientists and environmental experts and heed their warnings about climate change, endangered species; clean air, clean water, nuclear proliferation, pesticides, pollution, genetically modified foods, and overfishing to name a few. I would hate to see our world in 40 years if we do not address these most of urgent issues.