San Francisco is a beautiful city and has always been one through the ages. A long time ago the Ohlone moved through the waters using Tule canoes one of a kind. The hills of San Francisco created a haven for birds, animals, insects, and trees one of a kind. The unique fog often embraced the coast and many a time inland and though salty it was sweet to the inhabitants - Ohlone, the First People of San Francisco.
There was not a single concrete building in those days, no roads, plenty of wetlands, pristine creeks, rivers, and the Bay as we know it today - clean and free from pollution. There was an abundance of fish, Abalone, animal, insects, and plants - so many. Through the ages some 200 years, many species have vanished others on the endangered list. This, a product of materialism, greed, and rampant unchecked growth.
San Francisco has always been a Port for ships boasting a natural harbor. At one time San Francisco boasted the best dry docks in the United States. During Second World War many ships were build in San Francisco and around a radius of 30 miles - Mare Island, Treasure Island, Oakland, Marin - but San Francisco was the primary dry dock boasting the best of equipment and know how.
San Franciscans once boasted a thriving Shipping Industry on the Waterfront. Longshoremen fought for good wages, united, died for their rights and established good working wages. Along the way men like Bridges passed away. Others did not have the vision and Oakland took over the container ship business because that was becoming kosher. San Francisco lost a lot of large container shipping - but kept Cruise Ships.
The Cruise Ship industry has changed a lot. Modern ships bring with them complex issues and the Cruise Industry is now carefully monitored by various agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency. In California the Cruise Ships have screwed around Monterey and have been fined. Dumping ballast water and other pollutants does not bring the Cruise Industry plus points. Things have changed a lot and now at last everyone wants to sit at the table and talk. This in reality should have happened a long time ago but we are happy it is happening - now.
Bluewater and a few others have taken a stand and won on principle. Greedy Cruise owners have compromised and made to pay large fines. They have money to spare and some have chosen to pollute rather then respect the laws that govern maritime laws, some in place and much more left to the self-governance within the industry. It is all about respect, accountability and transparency.
The Cruise Workshop held January 22nd and 23rd, 2004 brought some of the key players. Andrew Bozeman and Francisco Da Costa were the only ones that represented unique concerns of the Southeast Sector in San Francisco. The City and County of San Francisco was well represented by activists who live near the Waterfront and those who would be impacted by the proposed brand new Cruise Terminal.
Some Cruise management and their consultants did well to project and put their best foot forward. Everyone was agreed that the Cruise business brings with it unique concerns that have and can adversely impact the environs. Tourism and Cruises are viable and should create a happy medium for San Francisco and the world.
We could address solutions by addressing them and plotting a chart, which can be navigated by the best minds for the common good of all. The Cruise Workshop did just that it has set the first steps of many to address the so called obstacles with the best minds and those in the know working as stakeholders on behalf of the world community can and should address.
The world community comes in because if we find transferable solutions that benefit everyone here in San Francisco, other major Cruise Terminals can benefit from our open experience and rejoice.
If that happens with one bold stroke the world will have its eyes on a world class city like San Francisco. Suddenly the doors will be open for all, and all of us will have a win-win situation.
Pollutants not only affect San Franciscans and tarnish the name of the Muwekma Ohlone from whom the land was stolen by the strangers and abused but also others who have the guts to stand for what is right. It is not right to pollute the Bay waters. Pollutants from any source that pollute the air, water, and land disrespect world citizens in general and San Franciscans in particular.
It is time Cruise Owners and the San Francisco Port Authority read and evaluate the findings from the two-day Cruise Workshop with an open mind. Create a few common models with the best possible uses that accommodate but mostly respect the environs as well as the world citizen at large. Money should never be made at a premium - undermining those values that have stood tall and steadfast through time.
Captain Michael Healy from the erstwhile Coast Cutters made his voyages from San Francisco to Alaska and brought help and spread compassion. Now Alaska brings takes and brings back passengers and San Francisco can live up to Captain Michael Healy and what he stood for. This is not a perfect comparison but the only spiritual one in this article.
Some few scientists were able to make some unique findings relevant to the ozone, particulate matter, wind patterns, pollution, engines, fuel, safety, energy sourcing, all linked to a progressive policy that is now open for formulation and execution.
We can find solutions with the fuel, engines, particular traps, ballast dumping, energy resources at the port, self policing, Standard Operating Procedures, Regular Meetings, Safety procedures, Environmental Monitoring, Health concerns, Immigration, Permitting, Tourist Facilities, and a host of pertinent issues that are all possible with a vision and sound leadership.
Kudos to the organizers and thanks to those who have a vision.
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