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The Plight of the Whale

We have known of whales since the earliest days of our existence. Once we called them the 'monsters of the sea' and feared their power and size. They were shrouded in mystery, with no one really understanding them. And then humans took to the sea. What followed was a change in the relationship that humans had with the whale. This new relationship involved the de-mystification of the whale, the conquering of it. Humans overcame their fear and learned to kill the world's largest mammal.

Since that time, humans have advanced greatly their skills as foragers of the oceans. We used to use harpoons and nets, wooden boats and sails. Now we have steel freighters and electric hoists, computers and sonar. Humans have not only conquered the seas with their technology, they have beaten it into submission. Nothing can withstand the force of six billion human brains, the most sophisticated organic computer to have every graced our planet. We see the battle being waged everywhere we look. We have changed the chemistry of our air; covered the globe with our lights, buildings, farms, garbage dumps, and superhighways. In the next ten years one out of every ten species of bird will be extinct.

We win. Humans have conquered the planet. It gives up. It isn't going to fight any longer. What it will do, though, is change - anyway we make it - for better or worse. We've started slowing the population rate in some areas, started recycling in others. But what it will come down to is everyone making the conscious decision to change, for the better, the way the world is. We can reverse the path of extinction. We can stop using fossil fuels. We can stop buying things that we don't need.

And this brings us to whales. Whales are being hunted without forethought to the consequences. It is true that whole industries depend upon whales. There are thousands of men, women and children that rely upon the harvest of whales. These people are caught in the middle with no place to go. Their governments are unwilling or unable to retrain them. The people themselves are probably not even aware of the damage they are doing.

In some cases governments have illegally resumed the hunting of endangered whales. An international moratorium on whale hunting was established in the early '80s but it has not stopped Norway and Japan from continuing the slaughter.

You see, any way you look at it, whales are in jeopardy. And, there is only one thing that will ensure their safety: stop hunting them. The whaling industries will have to restructure and retrain their workers. It is a small price to pay for not going down in history as the destroyers of the whale species.

Want to know more about whale hunting? Check out these sites:

Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society

Whaleman Action Alert

Frontline: A Whale of a Business

It is a close battle, but one that we can win - if we choose to do so. Imagine raising your children in a world without whales. Imagine having to say, "There used to be these huge sea going mammals named whales. But we killed them all and all that we have left of them are pictures, films on TV, and some bones." I don't want to tell my kids this. I don't want you to tell your kids this.

What we can do to stop the extinction:

Go to this Greenpeace site - Support Sanctuaries to Protect Whales

Sign the petition. It will make a difference.

Also - check out this site - Whales of the World. It's a classroom that has created a whole site just for whales. If you think it's cool, if you like the idea, talk to your teacher about starting a site like it. It doesn't have to be on whales but it should have something to do with reversing the course of global decimation. Think about what we've been talking about above. There are a lot of things that we do everyday that have a negative affect on our standard of living and the quality of the planet.

Think about it. And then do something about it.


Abeja - Coffee Talk in Shimmering BaGarcelona (Barcelona)
Jasmine - The Odyssey Discovers a New World
Team - Adrift at Sea

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