As ‘Whale Wars’ season 2 finale rolled its credits a couple weeks back I have been left contemplating whether or not I would actually broach the topic on Thriving Oceans. To be honest I have been throwing the idea back and forth ever since season 1, but I always managed to find something else to capture my attention (perhaps on purpose). Now that the season is over and I’m sure has already circulated throughout the blogs, I am left with what may just be a passé post. But, since I already started I decided to continue on and see what happens to pop onto the page.
In nothing less than a rollercoaster ride of emotions, the last two episodes brought whaling out of the shadows and plastered it over television screens throughout the world. Sure I’ve seen the sickening whaling footage captured by the likes of Greenpeace, but in a sense of irony, as I am watching a program about whaling, I was not fully prepared to witness the slaughter in a Friday night context. And if you’re thinking this is a case of ‘out of sight, out of mind’ on my part you are indeed correct.
What I found most interesting was the fact that while I was (and still am) truly appalled by the Japanese whaling activities and left mocking their propaganda-esque banners claiming they are “taking tissue samples,” or “studying stomach contents,” I found myself wondering if a line had been crossed when the Sea Shepherds collided with the Yushin Maru #3 harpoon ship. Did I betray my own beliefs by asking such a question? I just saw a number of whales loaded onto the processing ship and a whale finally succumb to a very graphic death at the hands of the Japanese whaling fleet , so how could I even mull over whether the collision was justified? Especially since there is no doubt with whom I side.
Well, perhaps this says something about my character and perhaps it is also a case of filling the role of an armchair captain that drove my initial reaction. But after careful introspection I, firstly, cannot say what I would do in the heat of witnessing such ocean atrocities, and secondly I just cannot bring myself to say it was the wisest of all decisions. My uneasiness with the collision was not the byproduct of compassion for the whalers themselves, but for the cause I support. Had someone been critically injured I am left wondering how that would have detrimentally affected direct/indirect action, whether by Greenpeace, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, or other non-profits, against whalers in the future. We need to ensure those groups are available to continue their campaigns and not locked up in an international legal incident.
While policies need to change for the elimination of all whaling, thwarting Japanese efforts to fill their quotas in the meantime should be conducted in ways that will not harm the ultimate goal. With that said I have no problem with riding the edge to protect whales in the Southern Ocean. And while the whale warriors prepare for another season of cetacean protection, the vast majority of us are left simply watching from afar. Instead of being mere observers we should also embark on a journey…a journey of support, of letter writing campaigns, and of boycotts to aid all of the great organizations working to bring an end to the harpooning of whales.
Sometimes it takes a man in black (or people in black in this case) to walk the line and bring a cause back to the worldwide stage.