Although things will look different in the Olympia legislature this year due to COVID-19, the Seattle Aquarium is still gearing up to advance science-based measures to protect the ocean. Keep reading to learn about some of our top priorities for 2021.
Reducing plastic pollution
Scientists predict that by 2050, if we don’t make drastic reductions in the amount of plastic we use and dispose of every day, there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean by weight.
Last year, we worked with partners to pass the Reusable Bag Bill and help slow the flow of plastic into the ocean.
This year, we’re actively supporting Senate Bill 5022, which includes measures that will protect the health of our ocean by cutting back on harmful and unnecessary single-use plastics:
- A ban on Styrofoam.
- Requirements for using recycled plastic to make new drink bottles.
- A requirement that food service businesses provide single-use utensils, straws, condiment packets and cold-beverage lids only when requested by the customer.
Advancing environmental justice
The Seattle Aquarium supports the Healthy Environment for All (HEAL) Act (SB 5141), a recommendation from the Environmental Justice Task Force which adds an essential racial equity lens to the environmental program work done by the state.
Mitigating climate change
The transportation sector is responsible for nearly half of our climate and air pollution in Washington. We join partners in urging the legislature to adopt a Clean Fuel Standard (HB 1091) and support a transportation system that prioritizes equity and reduces greenhouse gas emissions.
Protecting funding for environmental programs
In the context of the multi-billion-dollar budget shortfall resulting from the pandemic, and as a member of the Environmental Priorities Coalition, we also support the Conservation Works priority. This seeks to protect essential environmental programs from budget cuts and promote investments in stimulus projects that tackle climate change, create good jobs, recover salmon and help communities chart their own course for a better future.
Read more about the Environmental Priorities Coalition’s shared legislative priorities.
Protecting nearshore marine waters
We support a prohibition on seabed mining leases for hard minerals—like gold, titanium and more—in state waters (SB 5145). This is an emerging threat and would have unavoidable and devastating impacts on marine ecosystems.
Supporting the cultural community
The pandemic also makes it essential to support the cultural community, including aquariums, with new funding tools that ensure we emerge strongly from the pandemic. The Aquarium is advocating for legislation that would allow local legislative bodies to establish new cultural access programs either through council and commission vote or through a vote of the people.
Join us in taking action!