Environmental Defense Goes on Offense

NEW YORK In an election where military service, homeland security and the war in Iraq are capturing most of the headlines, Environmental Defense reminds voters that we also have an environment to protect.

The environmental organization today broke an ad on The New York Times op-ed page calling for “A Teddy Roosevelt for our oceans,” and drawing attention to a National Oceans Commission report dedicated to protecting fish populations, coastal economies and marine ecosystems.

Ad copy, which accompanies an illustration of two life preservers strung together in the shape of eyeglasses, asks both President Bush and Senator John Kerry “to demonstrate the vision of Teddy Roosevelt and offer their concrete plans to conserve America’s ocean legacy.”

“This is going to be a close election,” said Hugh Hough, president and creative director of Green Team, the New York agency that crafted the advertisement. “Bush doesn’t have the greatest record on the environment, but he may take this as something he wants to put his name on.”

The report will be issued in August. The president has 90 days to respond to the commission’s report.

While 2000 presidential candidate Al Gore touted himself as an environmentalist, Kerry thus far has stressed his military record and national security plans more than his environmental policy.

The report “can’t compete with the war, but the whole election has been about leadership and who’s going to be a better leader. The ad is calling for leadership,” Hough said.