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An ode to our “science president”

Every year scientists from around the world visit Antarctica to study a variety of aspects of the world’s southern sea. On President Obama’s inauguration day in 2009, scientists from the Palmer Long Term Ecological Research Station first visited their new sampling location on the West Antarctic Peninsula. In honor of the new president they named the station “Ocean Station Obama.” At that time no one could predict the steps President Obama would take in the name of climate science.

Today we step into a new era with a new American president, and many are concerned about the future of climate science. However, I think it is important to look back at the great strides we have made since 2009.

Under the Obama administration, the U.S. became a world leader in paving the way towards dramatically reducing carbon emissions without sacrificing economic growth.

Obama established the first national limits for mercury, arsenic, and other toxic air pollutants emitted by power plants.

The administration protected more than 550 million acres of America’s public lands and waters. More than any other president in history!!

Obama created the largest marine monument in the world Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument off the coast of Hawaii.  This monument is completely off-limits to commercial resource extraction.

The Obama administration created and released the  National Strategy for Pollinator Health and a Pollinator Research Action Plan. This expanded efforts to protect honeybees, monarch butterflies, and other pollinators nationwide.

Additionally Obama and his team worked to overhaul the offshore energy projects by raising the bar at every stage of oil and gas development through new standards for safety and environmental systems, well design, production systems, blowout prevention, well control equipment and emergency response.

….Just to name a few!


A Hawaiian coral reef fish (Tosanoides obama) named after guess who! Photograph By Richard Pyle (National Geographic News)

The steps that President Obama and his administration took to protect the earth for future generations are quite profound! And it is only fitting that scientists are naming things in honor of the “Science President.” We as scientists must fight to continue the work the previous administration has done and work towards a better future. Ocean Station Obama and a Hawaiian coral reef fish (Tosanoides obama) are just the beginning. 


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