Paul Watson (Sea Shepherd Conservation Society) Interview

Most of you know by now that the International Justice court in The Hague recently ruled in favor of Australia and New Zealand, and against Japan regarding the killing of whales under the guise of “Research.”   Bill Maher’s subsequent interview with Paul Watson, founder of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, was expected to be spent talking about the decision.   A few minutes were spent on that, but within the following video, they went a lot further.  No one to date has ever done such a fine, eloquent and concise job of describing the state of the oceans and the consequences of continuing to do things as we’ve been doing them.

Yes, you heard him correctly, and he’s right.  The ocean will likely be dead by 2048… and, as is our slogan, as go the oceans, so go we.  Premier leaders all agree.  As Dr. Sylvia Earle said, even if you never set eyes on the ocean, never touch a toe in those waters, they still affect you with every breath you take.

Do take this seriously, friends.  Share it far and wide.  If we don’t control ourselves, don’t put a rapid end to our polluting, Climate Change WILL take us out, and all the other amazing, wonderful beings, our fellow earthlings, will die with us, because of us.  It is not too late, but there is NO time to waste!

Japan’s Whale Hunts Ruled ILLEGAL in The Hague! Whales Swim Safer Now!

Pic of Humpback whale jumping out of  the ocean.

Humpback, Right and Minke whales are among those who swim safer now.

The International Justice Court in The Hague has ruled in favor of Australia (with New Zealand as Mediator) and against Japan’s claim that they have killed some 10,000 Minke whales under the auspice of Research.  The Court released a decision of considerable length, in which it examined all relevant points and issued what is, by all accounts, a fair and considered opinion.  Their ruling: Japan must cease ALL whaling operations and revoke all permits issued in the name of Research.

A Japanese representative grudgingly acknowledged the decision, saying that Japan would accept the International Court’s decision, as they believe in being a nation of laws.  While he allowed that there may be other statements from Tokyo, it was clear that they had no intention of violating the ruling or leaving the IWC as a way of sidestepping the decision.  This is a huge victory for the whales, both in the southern oceans’ marine sanctuary and throughout the world.  Although the ruling is specific to Japan, it is precedent, and other whaling nations are now on notice.  Only aboriginal sustenance takes and legitimate research have been lawful for the past 28 years, but Japan has claimed the loophole, citing some vague premise of research which cannot be performed on a live whale, as their way of making the commercial whaling legal.  Under the premise of Research, it is lawful for the remainder of the whale to be sold.

In many ways, this ruling is the perfect opportunity for Japan to get out of the whaling business.   A proud nation, they have been stout in their opposition to groups like Sea Shepherd’s interventions, trying to claim that Paul Watson and his crew were pirates and eco-terrorists when they attempted to uphold the law by interfering with the Japanese whalers’ attempts to load the killed whales onto their processing ship.  (Dead whale flesh goes bad very quickly, owing to the blubber layer which traps heat within the whale’s body, even in near-freezing waters.)  With a reported 4,600 tons of unsold whale flesh in freezers for the past few years, it’s clearly not profitable for them to be hunting the leviathans either.  The ruling provides a way for them to cease whaling without saving face.

Yours truly was very much moved by this momentous event, and posted about it personally on Facebook.  Much to my surprise, Viki Psihoyos wrote me this morning to inform me that I’d been mentioned in the New York Times:

“A Facebook comment by John Taylor, a Coloradan with a passion for ocean conservation (which I saw via the filmmaker Louie Psihoyos), succinctly summarized the significance of this decision:

‘Today, we evolved some, became a better, more human species.’

We’ve still got a long ways to go, but this is a very large step in the right direction.

pic of John Taylor

John Taylor

A Human Issue

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.

This is the amazing transformation performed by whaling

Whaling turns this majestic being into this corpse, and they don't even need the meat.

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.