My Play Day in an MPA: Who's That Running Girl? (Video)
Posted December 19, 2013
Every now and again, like the musician Prince, I party like its 1999. You remember that year; maybe Y2K computer glitch fears had you freaked out, or perhaps that was the year you became obsessed with The Matrix. For us native Californians, it was also the year this great state passed an ocean protection law titled the Marine Life Protection Act (MPLA). As a young person, I didn’t see the need then. It was difficult to imagine the parks I spent hours climbing through, the sandy beaches I always drew my name in, or the often visited marine reserve where I made my brother bait my fishing line (gross!) would possibly cease to exist for us one day. Thankfully, fast forward to 15 years later and that’s not our reality today – thanks to these important marine protections spanning our four coastal study-regions.
In the late 90’s overfishing began forcing the shutdown of commercial fishing and marine resources were dwindling. At that time conservation groups such as NRDC began heavily advocating for ocean stewardship in California. The goal? To help restore the resilience of ocean life and to keep fragile habits healthy an abundant for future generations. Since then a visionary network of protected areas were established, and finally completed one year ago in 2012. While the initiative was not without its challenges, the outcome has resulted in a flourishing network of underwater habitats for divers to dive in, fisherman to fish in, pristine beaches to run along, and gorgeous wildlife to be in awe of.
So in Prince’s 1999 fashion, and in celebration of California’s one year anniversary, we did what we still do best – we played in an MPA! I was thrilled when our Ocean Conservation buddies asked a few of us native Californians to participate in a commemorative video showcasing how much we love these special places and spend time enjoying them. I feel fortunate to have had the chance to freeze in 50 degree water, get on a paddle board for the first time on film (and not get my hair wet), touch a crab without gloves (no not that kind!), and get some exercise all in celebration of this amazing network that is in my backyard. Why not?! For our California marine protected areas, I’d do just about anything. Happy anniversary MPA’s. May your magnificence continue to inspire, enrich, and replenish for many, many decades to come.