Published on April 1st, 2009 | by Amiel Blajchman7
Former President Bush to Receive Environmental “Nobel Prize”
In a special announcement, former President George W. Bush will be honoured as the 2009 recipient of the Goldman Prize for Excellence in Protecting the Environment. Bush was nominated for his 2006 decision to declare a remote chain of islands in Hawaii as a national monument. In making his announcement, Bush said “It’s larger than 46 of our 50 states, and more than seven times larger than all our national marine sanctuaries combined. This is a big deal”.
With an area of 140,000-square-miles, home to 7000 species of marine life, and vast swathes of coral reef, the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument was a big deal.
And, with an estimated 57 tons of garbage and discarded fishing gear washing up on the 10 islands every year, the success of declaring this area a national monument has never been more clear.
In fact, prior to designation as a protected area, 102 tons of debris were being removed annually, due to the area’s $2.1 million cleanup budget. Today, with a cleanup budget of $400 000, only 35 tons are being removed annually. (Last year, congress added about $350 000 more dollars for the 2009 cleanup budget.)
As with many recipients of the Goldman Prize, former President Bush will speak to audiences far and wide on his environmental achievements and legacy of protecting the environment.