Archive for January, 2010

January 18th 2010
Two MILLION Whales Killed

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Let’s think about that sobering number for a moment.

2,000,000 – two MILLION whales – killed in the 20th century.

That’s a lot of whales. Present populations of different species vary around the world, with some like the Atlantic grey whale’s being completely gone, the Pacific grey whale and North Atlantic right whale very close to it. But two million… that was a number that made me sit up and take notice all of a sudden.  I’ve read different accounts of whaling with estimates of number killed, but never an aggregate total. Of the largest whales, populations were so drastically reduced as to result in single digit percentages (as little as 1-2% of blue whales, 5% or less of humpback whales) remaining from the original, naturally healthy and abundant populations. Continue Reading »

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January 11th 2010
Escalating whale wars

Posted under news

This is probably blog post # 567,893 on this topic since the destruction of the Ady Gil in the Antarctic. The internet has been abuzz with postings: news, videos, opinion pieces all over the map. Here’s one more.

The internet has been abuzz with postings: news, videos, opinion pieces all over the map. Here’s one more.
I’ve long had a sort of mixed feeling about the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. For one thing, I respect people who are willing to put their lives on the line for a matter for which they feel such passion. Because that matter is whales, and their survival, they are certainly on my radar more prominently than other conservation concerns. I know that the SSCS can be a source of consternation for other conservation groups, too, with the mixed blessing of calling attention to an important issue but doing so in a frequently very dangerous manner. The TV show Whale Wars has certainly
If there is a good thing, as Andy Rivkin put, it, does a whale being harpooned with no witness get heard”, awareness. Bt how much awareness is happening where it counts most, in Japan?
Japan is notoriously resistent to Western influence on this matter. I once commented to Bill Clinton, when Hillary was running for president, that if she won the White House, to pressure Japan to stop whaling. His response was that this was the one issue that they were really defenseive about. It’s known that the Japanese people are fairly indeiffernt to the issue of whaling. Is it that they truly do not know what is happening, how much the whales sffer in teh killing?
If the Japanese people beomc more aware and more vocal about a resistance to this slaughtr, will that be the fina piece neeeded to end this cruel practice there>?
And what wll it take to also end the commercial whaling by Norway and Iceland?
Yes, whales need this war. Most successful movements for change are a result of a combination of approaches – the loud and visible to keep it on the radar, and the quieter efforts to effect one on one change. I sincerely hope this war does not escalate to the loss of human life on either side.

I will start by saying that I’ve long had a sort of mixed feeling about the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS). For one thing, I respect people who are willing to put their lives on the line for a matter for which they feel such passion. Because this matter is whales and their survival, it’s certainly on my radar more prominently than many other conservation concerns. And I respect that people ARE willing to go to these lengths to stop whaling. I don’t think I could make the sacrifices that they do.

I also know that the SSCS can be a source of consternation for other conservation groups, too, with the mixed blessing of calling attention to an important issue but doing so in a frequently very dangerous manner. The TV show Whale Wars has certainly brought the activity of whaling before a lot more people than would have otherwise been aware of it. There’s also a very good book on the same topic, from the whaling season before the TV show began, The Whale Warriors: The Battle at the Bottom of the World to Save the Planet’s Largest Mammals by Peter Heller. He went out with them for a season and wrote about the experience, from the perspective of relative objectivity so it’s not all “rah rah SSCS” but still with respect for them and their devotion. Through all of these avenues,  I think that SSCS is calling valuable attention to a serious issue, even though their tactics are heavy handed. Continue Reading »

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