Whale Captivity is Criminal

PHOTO-Type-D-killer-whales-showing-their-blunt-heads-and-tiny-eyepatches-in-2011-Credit-J.P.-Sylvestre-South-Georgia-1125x534-Landscape-1000x477    There is simply one reason why the United States of America permits orcas to be treated in the most inhumane, cruel, despicable way. Of course, money is the reason.

For starters, it’s important to remember that whales are mammals. They are like us in that respect. Whales, chimpanzees and humans are placental carriers – that is each carries its unborn young in a placental sack.  It’s believed that whales, sloths, bats and humans share a common ancestor, which is a topic for a blog from a geneticist, I suppose. My concern is why we allow mammals, whales in particular, to be treated worse than the criminally insane.

No other nation, with possibly the exception of China, now allows orcas and belugas to be captured in the wild and held in swimming pools solely for personal enrichment and human entertainment. Only the United States allows this criminal behavior of imprisonment to continue – specifically Sea World and their “Shamu” shows.

Finally, word recently escaped about how cruelly the whales are treated in captivity, often being deprived of food if they fail to do as ordered. Almost every whale in captivity has died decades before its time. Out of sheer frustration and boredom, the orcas bang their heads against the sides of the pool. Their teeth are ground to nubs from grinding and chewing on cement. They deeply mourn the loss of their pod. But the show goes on.

Orcas are extremely intelligent. They have language skills and communicate with each other. They have very strong familial ties and are highly social animals. They also have a sense of self. They mentally KNOW they exist. Fortunately, the capture of whales has been outlawed in most all countries – with the exception of renegades in Russia who illegally imprisoned orcas and beluga whales last winter for sale to China. Under Putin’s direction the whales were released. Orcas also are no longer allowed to be bred in captivity since the offspring die. When the babies die, the mothers grieve for long periods of time.

Orcas are designed by nature to swim a hundred miles a day, give or take, and dive to deep depths in pursuit of food. Yet knowing this and all the inhumane treatment the whales endure in captivity, Sea World continues to hold them as prisoners in swimming pools not much bigger than the whales themselves. There’s absolutely no heart, humanity, or morality here – it’s clearly about the money earned by the captivity.

Unfortunately, we have a president who is not particularly environmentally friendly. With a stroke of his pen I think he could end the captivity of orcas and order  them to be released to ocean sanctuaries now ready to help them return to their natural habitat, just as Putin did. Perhaps Sea World executives are big supporters of Trump?

Sea World says it will stop their whale shows by the end of 2019. That remains to be seen. Perhaps they plan on imprisoning more dolphins (perhaps the smartest animal in the ocean and possibly smarter than humans) and porpoises to display. Or how about another walrus?

The captivity and imprisonment of any wild animal is cruel beyond measure. It must be stopped, just as the imprisonment and captivity of people in this country was stopped.

Whales, dolphins, chimpanzees, people – we are all mammals. We share DNA and a common ancestor. Possibly humans are the smartest living “creature” on the planet, but that’s debatable as the dolphin is a contender for first place when it comes to intelligence, and orcas are members of the dolphin family. Unfortunately, we have the dishonor of being the cruelest creature on the planet.

Enacting a Rights of Nature would put an end to this wild animal captivity nonsense. We don’t own these animals – we share the world with them.

To read more about the exploitation and massacre of whales and orcas read Saving Our Oceans, by R.L. Coffield.

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From Toilet to Tap – Are you Ready?

 

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Photo by redcharlie on Unsplash

Large portions of this country experienced severe flooding this past year, while other parts remained bone dry. Regardless of the drenching rains in some areas, however, America’s aquifers are in serious trouble. It takes literally decades to refill an aquifer.

The United Nations predicts at least 30 nations will have water shortages by 2025. And by 2030, “47% of the world’s population will be living in areas of high water stress.” That is nearly half of the world’s population. Why? Aquifers are failing world-wide, including those in the United States.

Rapid population growth, increased industrial demand, and water withdrawals have tripled over the last 50 years. Water wars could well be the future. Mark Twain once commented, “Whiskey is for drinking; water is for fighting over.” If not water war skirmishes, then mass migration of millions of people from drought stricken countries will likely ensue which will cause total political and social upheaval.

Agriculture in general uses about 70 per cent of water withdrawn from aquifers. The Ogallala aquifer, one of the world’s largest aquifers located in the mid-west, lost a third of its water in just 30 years due to farmers withdrawing water at an unsustainable rate. California’s Central Valley aquifer is showing signs of depletion and could drop below reach by 2050. Because of the overuse of groundwater by farmers, many resident’s wells are going dry.

Of the 37 major aquifers on the planet, 21 are on the verge of collapse. Cities like Beijing, Shanghai, and Mexico City are sinking. Indeed, sections of California’s Central Valley have dropped a foot, and in some areas 28 feet. The facts regarding water shortage are dismal, but action can be taken.

Water catchment systems are one of the simplest solutions to water scarcity in any given area. Many dry areas, like Texas and Arizona, are now allowing rainwater-catchment installations on homes and other buildings. In addition, desalination has become well known in recent times. Desalination can work not just for salt water, but for water considered “brackish,” which is water that is too salty for human consumption. There is up to 10 times more brackish water than freshwater in any aquifer. And changing from highly thirsty, water intensive crops, like corn , cotton, rice, and wheat to less water consuming products might also be a consideration.

But the most extreme measure, in most people’s minds, is the concept of “Toilet to Tap.” Namibia, a very arid country has been purifying wastewater into drinking water for almost 50 years. No one has ever become ill from this “reused water.” In 2003 Singapore began treating sewage water to drinking-water standards, and now El Paso, Texas, is preparing to provide potable reuse water for drinking. This is because El Paso’s Hueco Bolson aquifer that has supplied El Paso with water for decades could run dry which, at its rate of drop, could happen by 2025.

Unfortunately, much of the water currently available for consumption is contaminated. nrdc.orgThe drinking water of 233 million Americans is dangerously compromised.

As deadly serious as the prospect of water shortage and contamination is, it’s surprising that this issue is not front and center. There’s much more to this story, however, and it’s covered in Saving Our Oceans by R.L. Coffield.

Saving Our Oceans is available from Amazon and from the publisher at Moonlight Mesa Associates. Material for this particular blog is from Saving Our Oceans, chapters 5 and 6.

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Net proceeds from the sale of this book are earmarked for the Save Our Wild Salmon Coaltion and the Friday Harbor Whale Museum.

 

What’s Wrong with These People?

There are many Japanese citizens who disapprove of Japan’s whaling industry and the brutal slaying and sale of dolphins that is sanctioned by their government, but when it comes to oceanic mammal slaughter and abuse, few countries can outdo Japan. Their inhumane, barbaric slaughtering and treatment of whales and dolphins is a stunning, murderous orgy. It’s bad enough that this nation continued whale hunts for years after signing the International Whaling Commission’s agreement not to do so. They killed thousands of whales under the guise of “scientific research.” Australians frequently accused the Japanese of hunting in whale preserves in Antarctica. Of course, the “scientifically researched” slaughtered whales appeared on restaurant menus in Japan.

In December of 2018, the Japanese announced they would no longer remain members of the IWC (were they ever?) and would resume commercial whaling in July 2019. The London based Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) estimates that the Japanese have killed over 1,000,000 whales, dolphins and porpoises in the last 70 years. One million.

The dolphin hunts in Taigi Bay are equally as disgraceful, cruel, and vicious as harpooning whales. The Japanese fishermen conduct huge roundups of schools of dolphin, driving them into Taigi Bay where they are brutally and painfully slaughtered or set aside for sale to aquariums. The bay literally turns red with blood. This behavior is simply aberrant and abnormal. According to the EIA, “The hunts in Japan’s coastal waters specifically target nine small cetacean species, eight of them with government-set catch limits which are clearly unsustainable.”

Most ocean advocates know that dolphins (and likely orcas) are the most intelligent mammals in the world – second only to humans, but obviously well beyond the intelligence of the people who hunt, murder, and sell them.

Despite international disapproval, I suspect that Japanese pride and ego keep them from bowing to world condemnation and pressure to desist in these moribund activities.

They slaughter whales because it’s a “cultural heritage” activity, so they say.                                     (Photo by Blue Planet Society)

The Japanese are not the only ones with a penchant for murdering non-aggressive mammals. This year the Faroe Islanders have also been on a rampage. 2019 is proving to be a bloody year. The Faroe Islanders have killed over 688 whales, with 50 whales being slaughtered yesterday alone. The reason? They claim it’s part of their history and culture. When will this madness end?

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So what can be done about this? Boycotting products from those countries is a good start. Support the efforts of groups working to combat these atrocities. Stop visiting and supporting aquariums, especially those (like SeaWorld) who hold orcas and dolphins in swimming pools for people’s entertainment and owners’ profit. Their abusive training methods have finally been exposed, so they should absolutely not be allowed to keep ANY whale or dolphin in captivity. Yet they do. Demand that orcas, dolphins and porpoises be set free. Swimming pools are not an appropriate place for these ocean traveling mammals.

Saving Our Oceans covers in detail the topic discussed here. Get free shipping with your order, and know that the proceeds from the sale of Saving Our Oceans is earmarked for the Save Our Wild Salmon Coalition and the Friday Harbor Whale Museum. Click here to contact us to place your order.

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A Bit Disappointed, and I Missed My Mule

Whale-postcard.jpg         My summer travels and book-selling attempts for Saving Our Oceans were  slightly worse than pathetic. Although I did sell all the books I had with me, it was a LOT OF WORK. Partially this is due to my reluctance to approach conventional bookstores. The Independent stores are far more gracious and willing to take small publisher titles. Happily I picked up orders for a few of our other titles and I just sent 25 copies of Saving Our Oceans to the Friday Harbor Whale Museum yesterday. So, it’s all good.

Well, I have to confess that the Marine Naturalist Training Program I was so gung-ho about was a little bit of a let down. The presenters absolutely knew their subject matter and were very passionate about it, but too many really needed training in public speaking. (Mumble mumble) Some were okay. A few were good, but too many were inaudible.

I also wasn’t sure why some of the topics were included, to be honest. Other topics, like plastic pollution, weren’t even mentioned.

The entire program, though, was staffed by extremely nice, knowledgeable, caring people.

As of now, I seriously doubt that I’ll do the required practicum to obtain a Marine Naturalist certification. I’m feeling more and more certain to remain in Arizona and not relocate north. More about that later.

But, all that being said,  due to the program I attended I armed myself with several Marine guides and had an absolutely great time finding cool creatures and plants on my own. I will admit the training program added a lot of interesting exploring to our travels.

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Orange Ribbon Worm I discovered in a tide pool

BACK TO BUSINESS

Happily I came back to a bunch of orders for books sitting in our post office box…not so happy for those waiting for their purchases, I suppose. I’ll definitely have someone deal with mail and orders next summer.

My to-do list is so long I almost feel paralyzed.  No one else will be back until the middle of September, if then, so I have time to get myself and the business organized and ready to roll at a nice, leisurely pace.

This fall we’re looking at possibly a new cover for The Littlest Wrangler,  and getting Lee Anderson’s book, My View from the Saddle, into print asap. Also a small ebook is in the works, and due to the slowdown after a fabulous full year of sales, A Beginner’s Guide to Owning a Mule will likely go to ebook also…maybe. Gotta think about that one. No…I just changed my mind. Not going to do that yet.

I’m glad to be home. My bed here is way more comfortable than the bed on the boat!! And I missed my mule!

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Aquifers Around the World Are Going Dry

India’s 6th largest city is struggling with a depleted aquifer, and it is far from being alone. Despite the cataclysmic amount of rainfall parts of this country received this year (and many areas are still getting deluged) depleted aquifers are a serious threat worldwide.

According to Saving Our Oceans, there are 37 major aquifers on the planet. Of this number, 21 are on the verge of collapse. Beijing, Singapore, and Mexico City are literally sinking. Closer to home, El Paso Texas is now preparing for “toilet to tap” potable water due to the Hueco Bolson aquifer potentially running dry by 2025.

The technology already exists to treat human wastewater to drinking water standards, but for obvious reasons doing so has a poor public image. Other areas do this, however, and no one has ever gotten sick from the treated water.

In the mid-west which has one of the world’s largest aquifers, the Ogallala, a third of this aquifer’s water was used in only 30 years, largely by farmers withdrawing water at an unsustainable rate. California’s Central Valley aquifer is also showing signs of depletion.

And in southeast Arizona large corporations have bought up thousands of acres of land, drilled countless wells and are “groundwater mining,” withdrawing water far faster than it can be replenished.

Agriculture in general uses about 70% of water withdrawn from aquifers.

One rainy or snowy winter does not solve years of overuse. It can take decades for an aquifer to recharge.

You can read much more about this topic along with stunning information about fresh water contamination in Saving Our Oceans, by R.L. Coffield.

To quote Ben Franklin: When the well is dry we learn the worth of water.

Another Day in Paradise

Mmm…Maybe not paradise, but a far site better than broiling in Arizona.

Somehow I’ve managed to load the boat with too many pairs of shoes, socks, shirts, shorts and food, and we actually still have a waterline showing.

Add to this a case of Saving Our Oceans, another box of books I plan to read, and a well-stocked bar, and I rarely even drink.

I have beautiful new wooden scoop oars this year for rowing and a paddle board tied to the top of my shade gizmo.

In July I’ll be in Friday Harbor for my Marine Naturalist Training Program and also house hunting, but I need enough acreage for our two mules also. All this on a budget…it could be tough.

Currently we’re still dock bound in Anacortes getting the boat ready for its summer travels. I’m more than a bit concerned about the number of dead whales showing up on beaches along the West coast, but it seems that the Southern Resident pod of orcas is maintaining its status quo and hopefully things will improve since Canada put the brakes on sport and commercial salmon fishing this year. Washington also cut salmon fishing back and also made stringent rules regarding tour boats’ proximity to whales. ABOUT TIME!!

My goal this summer is to hike 200 miles and to row 200 miles. Oh…and sell my box of books.

Whaling Nations Slaughtering Again

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I’d like to think that the whaling nations of the past slaughtered species of whales into extinction because they didn’t know what we now know about whales. What do we know? Far more than this article can cover, but we know that whales communicate, have sophisticated navigation abilities, feel pain, are social animals, and we now recognize that dolphins and (highly likely) killer whales are the second smartest mammals on earth…yes, smarter than chimpanzees even…but unfortunately not quite as smart as humans even though their brains are shaped and formed like human brains.

For example, only a very few mammals can recognize their own faces when looking in a mirror: humans, great apes, Asian elephants, and dolphins and killer whales can do so. And what have we done to these self-aware mammals? Kill, capture, and captivity. They have then been put on display for entertainment purposes and financial gain for the captors. (Humans have even done this to other humans.)

Unfortunately, due to the persistence of whaling nations who refuse to participate in the whaling ban that over 80 other nations adhere to (and these whaling nations are Norway, Iceland, Japan, the Faroe Islands, and Russia) endangered whale species are again threatened. (In all fairness, however, it seems the Norwegians primarily only  hunt minke whales which seem to have sufficient numbers at this time.) But for the others,  will the responsibility for causing extinction be put in the history books of these countries? Why do humans always presume to have the right to kill, main, pillage, plunder, and destroy other living creatures and environments? Isn’t it enough that people kill each other?

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Mounted whale harpoon

On July 1, 2019, Japan will resume commercial whaling again…not that they ever stopped even though they signed the International Whaling Commission’s treaty banning commercial whaling. They claim the whaling they did was for “scientific research,” asking the world to accept that all 333 minke whales slaughtered last year (many said to be in ocean preserves) were slaughtered for research purposes. They insist they will only whale in certain areas, but can they really be trusted when they signed the IWC, an international treaty, and then ignored it?

The slaughter of dolphins continues unabated also in the bloody Taigi Bay – a sinful. vicious act considering the intelligence of the dolphin who many say is the smartest mammal in the world – likely smarter than people, just not as deceitful, rapacious, or conniving.

While Japan’s history and culture claim a rich heritage, their actions belie them.

There are many Japanese people who object to the whaling and dolphin slaughter. The resumption of whaling is instead a dismal reflection on Japan’s leadership. But then, it seems all nations have problematic leadership issues from time to time, don’t they?  Public outcry and boycotting is one way to stop this savagery.

Read more about whales in Saving Our Oceans.

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