From our CEO: Thankful for our Blue Planet

President and CEO Kris Sarri in Mallow Bay National Marine Sanctuary.

Like many families across the country, my family will not be together around the same table on Thursday. Instead, we will gather around computer screens in Michigan and Maryland to spend time with each other and share our Thanksgiving prayer for all we have been blessed with this year.

Don’t get me wrong – before we talk about why we are thankful, there will be plenty of complaining about what a terrible year 2020 was! But, then we will settle down and talk about how lucky we are to have each other and all be in good health, express our gratitude to all the workers on the front lines keeping us safe, and talk about what we will do to help people impacted by the economy and the pandemic this holiday season.

One other topic of discussion that will occur organically is how much nature is helping us make it through the pandemic.  Being out in nature is important in my family, whether it is a short walk around the neighborhood or in the woods with the dogs, a kayak trip to Mallows Bay National Marine Sanctuary, or sitting outside socially distanced from friends on a brisk November evening. The fresh air in my lungs, the sound of birds and squirrels wrestling in the leaves and the feel of the kayak gliding in the water help restore me, especially this year.  I know many others feel the same way.

I am thankful for nature and our ocean which sustains it, and us. And, I am hopeful that the pandemic broadened our appreciation for the importance of a healthy planet and protecting it.

As we rebuild our economies and our communities in what I hope is soon a post-pandemic world, there are two lessons that stay with me from 2020: we must protect nature as part of the recovery and we must engage all people equitably and justly in that recovery for it to succeed.

I am thankful to all of you who are reading this message — our staff, partners, supporters, followers — who continue to work alongside us in this effort. And, I am grateful to know you will be there supporting us in the future.

Happy Thanksgiving.

President and CEO Kris Sarri kayaking in Mallows Bay National Marine Sanctuary.