“Somewhere between the time you arrive, and the time you go … may lie a reason you were alive, but you’ll never know.”
—Jackson Browne (HT Tracy R. for reminding me of this great line)
Part of what makes me so excited about the Marine Disease Emergency Act (whether or not it actually passes) is that I feel, in a way, it represents everything that is good, in spite of the actual reason for it being a sad event. It represents friends working together, scientists and laypeople (aka citizen scientists) working together, sharing information and valuing each other, it shows the power of banding together… It shows that we all matter.
I learned how inspirational it can be when people and groups collaborate. Just when I was getting a bit down when all the stars continued to die, I saw the post on the PBS NewsHour YouTube comments from a little girl in Conway Arkansas, asking if there was anything she could do to help… I replied and what grew from that was a wonderful project that the kids developed themselves, a campaign to save the starfish. This mattered to me more than words can describe. It made me feel like I was on the right track, even if at times it felt like tilting at windmills. I know that it helped keep Dr. Harvell’s spirits up too 🙂
Each time someone else or another group popped up saying “we want to help too!” it energized all of us and reminded us why we got involved in the first place. When I go look at www.sickstarfish.com and notice a bunch more reports and # images, even though it made me sad to see the disease spreading, it reminded me that we are not alone in this. And isn’t that one of the most important things? To remember you are not alone in whatever fight or project you are involved in, that each and every one of us matter so much….
Yesterday, after hearing about the Marine Disease Emergency Act being proposed, I immediately phoned Kati Rutherford – Communications Director at U.S. House of Representatives for Congressaman Denny Heck and left a message. It was a bit anticlimactic… “your message has been delivered”
Imagine my excitement when I saw a D.C. number pop up on my screen this morning! She called back!! Kati explained that due to time constraints, that although they DID introduce the bill they were were rushing to get it done, which is why it might not have as many cosponsors or have made as big of a “splash” media wise, but it is definitely on the books! H.R. 5546. When they come back, they will move on to the next steps.
She explained some of the next steps, how the process will continue after the election, going to committee, what they will be asking for (there will be a comment period where we can testify I think?) and hopefully some things we can do to help!
They are hoping to put together a question answer/session here in Seattle (since it is based a lot on our starfish and coming out of our neck of the woods) to gather various stakeholders together – Which I think should be ALL OF US!!!
They are not sure if there will be enough time in the current session to get it through all the hoops, but are fully committed to reintroducing it next year as well.
I get the feeling they are serious about it and willing to go the distance (its not just a PR stunt).
Here are the documents she sent me: