To borrow a phrase from a distinguished speaker at an event I attended last week, Thursday, June 1 was a “day of two Donalds.” Most people are familiar with the first, and his withdrawal of the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement sent shock waves around the world. I’ll dwell less on him (but you can read my statement expressing my deep concerns and disappoint with this action here), and I’ll instead focus on the second – Dr. Donald Boesch.
Thursday night, I attended a reception celebrating his 27 years of leadership as president of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES). Don is one of the nation’s foremost experts in applying science understanding to action; his application of science to policy has improved the health of systems from the Chesapeake Bay to the Gulf of Mexico to the Baltic Sea. I’m honored to have had the opportunity to know and work with Don, who has selflessly supported COL as a trustee and as an active member for many years. I wish him the best as he retires from this position (but he certainly won’t be retiring from his lifelong passion regarding the ocean). As we all struggle to come to terms with our nation’s removal from the Paris climate agreement, I am heartened to think of Don, and the many distinguished scientists and leaders like him across COL and the community, who are relentlessly doing the work necessary to protect our planet and our ocean. Rather than dwelling on Thursday’s decision, I choose instead to be inspired by the dedication and commitment of all of you, who must and will carry on to make our world a better place.
RADM Jonathan W. White, USN (ret.)
President and CEO
Consortium for Ocean Leadership