It is often said that the killing of dolphins in Taiji and whales in Antarctic waters is a matter for the Japanese to handle. Similarly, the Danes say that the people of the Faroe Islands must decide to stop killing pilot “whales” (which are actually large dolphins). These may seem apt excuses, and may even seem to make sense, given a perfunctory glance. But such boundaries and distinctions are artificial, man-made, and ultimately invalid.
The killing of dolphins and whales is not a matter of national sovereignty, any more than human rights are a state-by-state issue. This is a HUMAN behavior; humans are doing these killings, so it is up to we humans to police ourselves, regardless of what nationality those humans may give themselves. Wherever such slaughters may be happening, it is up to fellow humans to stop it.
Just as we oppose slavery, torture and murders put upon fellow humans, we must fight against slavery, torture and killings done by fellow humans. Similarly, it is incumbent upon us, it is our obligation, to stop humans from polluting and destroying the oceans, no matter where they may be while doing so.
When China’s manufacturing pours toxic chemicals into the rivers that eventually dump those chemicals into the sea, we have permitted it by not stopping it. In fact, we have endorsed it (a little at a time) by buying those products made in that filthy fashion. We may not like having such a responsibility thrust upon us, but the plain truth is that when we do not do everything within our power to stop it, we become culpable as well.
If someone were to set up a floating base in the middle of the Pacific, far from any nation’s boundaries, and begin pouring acid into the waters there, would we allow it? Do we allow humans to develop or discharge nuclear weapons as we please? There is ample precedent; we have both the right and obligation to control ourselves, our fellow humans. Our destruction of the oceans’ waters and her inhabitants is not a national issue. It is a human issue, and it is up to us to fight it — tooth and nail — wherever it may occur.