Govs. Kean and Florio honored for protecting the environment

Former New Jersey Govs. Tom Kean and Jim Florio say there’s no room for politics when it comes to protecting the environment.

“Climate change is real. Ninety-nine percent of scientists now, it use to be 97 percent, now its 99, all agree it’s happening. And if we don’t accept the science and act on that science, then we’re going to suffer, our children are going to suffer, my grandchildren are going to suffer. So the time to act is now,” Kean said.

The two received awards from the Monmouth University Urban Coast Institute, which also celebrated its 40th anniversary of New Jersey’s Coastal Management Program.

“New Jersey Coastal Management program does a lot of stuff. One thing they do is they have land-use management to be sure that development is done right along the shore. They’ve taken great actions over the years to improve water quality, so what we do at Monmouth is we want to make sure that folks learn on the ground, not only in the classroom,” said Tony MacDonald, director of the Urban Coast Institute at Monmouth University.

“So I’m actually focusing on a species of turtles called the northern diamondback terrapin. It’s a local species that lives in estuaries. It’s really exciting especially to have the chance to do this kind of work as an undergraduate. A lot of people don’t get that experience at college, so I feel really grateful for that,” said senior Taylor Donovan, a student researcher.

“It was interesting connecting the science aspect of everything with law and policy because that connection I feel is missed a lot,” said student researcher Kaitlyn Smith. “That’s something that comes with experience. It’s not something that’s taught in the classroom per se.”

All proceeds from the event are used to support student research opportunities ranging from environmental policy to climate change.

“This event is about creating programs and opportunities for students to have internships and student research projects in the summer months. We’re so fortune to have a major university this close to the coast, and for them to make a commitment to coastal issues from resiliency, to beach access, to pollution, to all the things that are important to the Jersey Shore and to build that into a curriculum and to help, train and inspire young people to make careers in issues like environmental policy, biology and marine sciences is fantastic,” said Ken Pringle, chair of the advisory committee at the Urban Coast Institute.

Lead funding for Peril and Promise is provided by Dr. P. Roy Vagelos and Diana T. Vagelos. Major support is provided by Marc Haas Foundation and Sue and Edgar Wachenheim, III.