Thursday, March 19, 2009

What's in a name?

A recent article in the Seattle Times tells of a retired Western Washington University marine biologist who is lobbying officials to adopt the name Salish Sea for an area of Washington and British Columbia's shared coastal waters.

Bert Webber, a Canadian-born longtime resident of the USA, is the driving force behind this proposal, and he "hopes a common name will help energize efforts to restore the damaged waters, by raising awareness that this is one shared ecosystem spanning the border between Canada and the United States." If adopted by Washington's Geographic Names board, the Salish Sea would be the official name for the grouping of Puget Sound, the Strait of Georgia, and the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

What's in a name? It seems like every day someone else is coming up with different names for various areas of our coast. What do you think we should call our coast? Who do you think should be responsible for assigning names to our waters: government, academics, or coastal community members themselves?

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