Conservation & Science

Honoring our 2018 California Ocean Champions: Assemblymembers Eduardo Garcia and Mark Stone

On February 20, 2018, hundreds of ocean advocates gathered at the state Capitol to discuss ocean and coastal issues with top decision-makers during Ocean Day California. In the evening, the Aquarium hosted its ninth annual awards reception for about 200 state officials and legislators, their staff and ocean leaders.

Aquarium Executive Director Julie Packard presented our 2018 California Ocean Champion Award to Assemblymembers Eduardo Garcia and Mark Stone, who have made significant contributions to California’s ocean and coastal leadership. The award is part of the Aquarium’s work to inspire and inform government decision-makers to take science-based action on behalf of the ocean.

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Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia accepts the 2018 Ocean Champion Award.

Community-minded leadership

Garcia, whose district includes parts of Riverside and Imperial counties, has made impressive progress on climate-related policy since his 2014 election. This past July, Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 398, authored by Assemblymember Garcia. The bill extends and improves California’s cap-and-trade program, helping our state continue to meet its ambitious climate action goals.

Garcia also played a key role in bringing a $4 billion park and water bond proposal to California voters, joining Senate President Pro Tempore Kevin de León in putting the measure on the June 2018 ballot. If voters approve Proposition 68, the bond will fund projects to help ensure clean drinking water; safeguard our state’s oceans, rivers, lakes and streams; and build new outdoor spaces in the neighborhoods that most need them.

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Assemblymember Mark Stone accepts the 2018 Ocean Champion Award.

A track record of ocean progress

Assemblymember Mark Stone represents parts of Santa Cruz, Santa Clara and Monterey counties in a district that includes the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Now in his third term, Stone has proven himself as one of California’s most dedicated environmental defenders. He has advanced a number of issues important to our ocean and coasts, including: curbing illegal coastal development, reducing the sources of plastic pollution, and cleaning up our drinking water supplies.

As chair of the Select Committee on Coastal Protection and Access to Natural Resources, Stone held hearings on oil spill prevention efforts, plastic pollution, beach erosion, and coastal access for all Californians. In his capacity on the state’s Ocean Protection Council, he works to ensure that California maintains healthy, resilient and productive ocean and coastal ecosystems for the benefit of current and future generations.

A global leader

In addition to the accomplishments of the two Ocean Champions, Packard noted several other actions California took for ocean health in 2017, including the state’s lead role in formation of the U.S. Climate Alliance at a time when the federal government was retreating from climate leadership; and its opposition to new oil and gas drilling off the West Coast.

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Participants in the Aquarium’s Young Women in Science program practice yoga on Del Monte Beach in Monterey.

“What makes California great is our commitment to both economic growth and the stewardship of our environment,” Packard said. “We know, and we’ve proved time and again, that you don’t have to sacrifice the environment to build a strong economy. And we know that the natural bounty of our state should benefit all Californians.

“We have strengthened our leadership around the world in advancing solutions to global climate change. Today, California is among the brightest spots in the nation, and around the world.”


Featured photo: Aquarium Executive Director Julie Packard presents the 2018 Ocean Champion Award to Assemblymembers Eduardo Garcia (left) and Mark Stone (right).

Learn more about the Aquarium’s work to inspire and inform government decision-makers to take science-based action on behalf of ocean health.

 

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