Posts Tagged ‘saling’

I'm out of here

I am gutted

I try not to be too personal on my blog. Not everyone who reads even knows who I am, I like it that way.

But to understand this post you need to know a couple of things.

I love Hawkwind, by far my favourite band. Dawkins knows how many albums I have by them; they also hold great sentimental value to me as I was introduced by a great old friend, my best man, who is no longer with us.

I also love the sea. I am a sailor. I do not mean a wind assisted idiot who ventures out on a plastic drinks cabinet twice a year. I have made the sea my professional life as a hydrographer (a cartographer for you lubbers). I’ve sailed to Antarctica a few times, lost count of how many miles sailed and the only sea I have yet to visit is the Arctic.

I am also deeply moved by the environment. Not the rose tinted, saccharine, Disney version of cute big eyed cuddliness. But the natural world red in tooth and claw. I was a member of save the whale; I am studying for an MSc in marine environmental science stuff…

So when I found Hawkwind were playing a local theatre I was somewhat excited. Not unnaturally I visited their website to check dates and prices and found a link to support the Sea Shepherd

The Sea Shepherd describe their mission:

Sea Shepherd uses innovative direct-action tactics to investigate, document, and take action when necessary to expose and confront illegal activities on the high seas. By safeguarding the biodiversity of our delicately-balanced ocean ecosystems, Sea Shepherd works to ensure their survival for future generations.

Tactics have included ramming vessels and throwing toxic or noxious substances at the whalers. You may think that as an ardent supporter of preventing whaling I would be in favour of their more direct tactics. I am not.

I have several issues with them.

The whalers on the vessels are not the problem. It is the people that own the vessels, the companies that profit from selling scientific research catch as food stuff, even the people that buy and eat whale meat. Working on a vessel at sea, especially fishing vessel is not pleasant. People do not do it for fun. These men (it is overwhelmingly male) do it to earn a living, to feed their children, to support their families. Sea Shepherd would achieve more tackling the cultural shift needed in Far East countries to get whale meat removed from the dinner table, however it is more exciting and gung-ho to become pirates. They seek to impose their cultural values on others by threat of violence.

The sea is a dangerous enough place as it is. The sea does not care why you are there, it is indifferent to your sentiments or your pleading. It will happily kill a good man as a bad one. Anyone who intentionally sets out to make it more dangerous for others loses my sympathy immediately.

There is no need to adopt these tactics at sea. They could chose to attack company offices, fishing ports, research labsĀ where the meat is processed. They do it at sea to attempt to avoid national laws. They put avoiding arrest above risking others lives, something I cannot condone.

So am I saying Whales should not be protected? Of course not. But not by giving into self aggrandising ego trips. Far more is achieved by patient work, monitoring and publicising illegal activities than resorting to piracy in far flung places. More is accomplished by careful planning and research to change attitudes than by giving into a base desire to lash out at what we perceive as wrong.

It’s far tougher that way. It’s not as sexy to lobby and educate than to physically attack someone. But it’s more effective, more grown up and more civilised. If we can’t behave like that why should others?

There are alternatives. They work. Greenpeace continue to do good work. And they do it without attacking some poor sod just trying to feed his kids in a dangerous remote cold place…

As for me and my Hawkwind gig? Not sure yet. Yet another hero seems slightly smaller today.

Some other links you may be interested in.
Sea Watch Foundation
International fund for Animal Welfare
Save the Whales
Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society