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Say "Yes!" to Protecting the Environment

Commissioner Calkins talks to attendees at the Environmental Excellence Awards for Sea-Tac Airport and Masritime on May 22, 2019
May 24, 2019

I’m so inspired by the group of winners in the Port’s recent Environmental Excellence Awards. These champions are working hard on sustainability, noise reduction, and action on climate change.

As everyone who has spent time working to conserve and protect our natural environment and human health knows, it’s hard to go a week without hearing someone say, “yeah, but.” Yeah but, that’s just a drop in the bucket. Yeah but, until we get a new president … Yeah but, there’s already so much damage done … Yeah but, what about this other problem? …  And the list goes on.

Port Executives and Commissioners with Whidbey Seatac Shuttle and Bremerton Kitsap Shuttle representatives
Small Business Awards went to two Airporter Shuttle operators, shown here with, from L to R: Port Commissioner Fred Felleman; Elizabeth Leavitt; Commissioner Ryan Calkins; John Solin, Whidbey Seatac Shuttle; Richard Asche, Bremerton Kitsap Shuttle; and Port Executive Director Stephen P. Metruck

What’s so inspiring about this group is that, in the face of all the yeah buts, you all responded with “yes, and.” Yes, and we will do our part to reduce emissions. Yes, and we will voluntarily commit to quieter approaches. Yes, and we will find ways to reduce energy and water consumption not because we must, but because we ought to.

Here’s the thing: The yes, ands understand something the yeah buts do not. That the old cliché about a journey of a thousand miles beginning with one step isn’t wrong — it’s absolutely right.

All the big problems we tackled at first seemed overwhelming, if not downright impossible. I remember as a child first hearing about how we had torn a hole in the ozone layer. That seemed irrevocable and insurmountable to me. And yet, a million small steps created the political will on a global scale to address the causes and find a way.

Port Commissioners and Executives present Sound Experience representatives with the Maritime Environmental Excellence Award in Education and Outreach
Port Commissioners and Executives present Sound Experience representatives with the Maritime Environmental Excellence Award in Education and Outreach

The Port intends to be a great partner, on both the maritime and the aviation side, to industry, nonprofits, and other governments.

We are actively working on orca recovery initiatives, airport noise and emissions reductions, and coordinating with our partners at Maritime Blue to expand recognition for environmental achievements.

So let me say a big thanks to all those yes, ands.

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