Essay / Misc.

Hawaii as Yosemite, Bush as Teddy Roosevelt

I was just opining that the day of gigantic national parks had passed, that there are no new Yosemites to be set aside, and that today’s John Muirs would be well advised to find a new strategy. I should also have said that there aren’t any more Teddy Roosevelts to do the setting aside. If I’d said that, I’d have been even more thoroughly wrong.

President Bush just created another gigantic state park, in the ocean. The Northwestern Hawaiian Islands National Monument covers 140,000 square miles, making it the largest protected marine area in the world. Jacques Cousteau’s son talked Bush into it with a documentary, and in order to get the territory preserved Bush invoked the 1906 American Antiquities Act. That act was put in place by Congress under, you guessed it, Teddy Roosevelt, exactly 100 years ago. It says

the President of the United States is hereby authorized, in his discretion, to declare by public proclamation historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, and other objects of historic or scientific interest that are situated upon the lands owned or controlled by the Government of the United States to be national monuments…

I assume this is all intentional symbolic action from the White House: 100 years later, biggest marine preserve ever, famous conservationist, etc. Even if it’s unintentional, it’s pretty cool. So it turns out that in this one particular case, today’s John Muirs can stick to the old strategy, new Yosemites can be found, and there’s still a Teddy Roosevelt to get the job done.

Spinner dolphins! They are the only species that do aerial stunts without any training. They just leap out of the water and spin around in mid-air, naturally, whether you’re watching or not. They’re doing it right now.

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