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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Join the Celebration June 8

downloadOn June 8, a segment of the world’s population will be celebrating World Ocean Day. In many locations the entire month of June is dedicated to the ocean. World Ocean Month recognizes and acknowledges the people striving to protect the ocean and marine life. Are you one of these people?  You don’t need to live in a coastal region to celebrate this wonderful day.

NOAA gives good reasons why we need to take care of our ocean. (There is actually only ONE ocean, but it is divided into geographical areas so it sounds like there’s more than one.)

For starters, NOAA says the following:

The air we breathe: the ocean produces over half of the world’s oxygen and absorbs 50 times more carbon dioxide than our atmosphere. Climate regulation: covering 70% of the Earth’s surface, the ocean transports heat from the equator to the poles, regulating our climate and weather patterns. Transportation: 76% of all U.S. trade involves some form of marine transportation. Recreation: From fishing to boating to kayaking and whale watching, the ocean provides us with many unique activities. Economic benefitsthe U.S. ocean economy produces $282 billion in goods and services and ocean-dependent businesses employ almost three million people. Food: the ocean provides more than just seafood; ingredients from the sea are found in surprising foods such as peanut butter and soymilk. Medicine: many medicinal products come from the ocean, including ingredients that help fight cancer, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, and heart disease.

I think this is plenty of reason in itself why the ocean deserves a special day to be celebrated. The oxygen part certainly gets my attention!

 

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June 8, Ocean Celebration Day, is one of the reasons we drove ourselves cranky and crazy trying to get Saving Our Oceans into print when we did. We wanted it to be available as part of the celebration…and perhaps to help people understand why the ocean and its inhabitants are in such a perilous state.

Ocean problems cannot be solved by beach clean-ups, no matter how noble the effort. Unless the pollution itself is stopped, the ocean will die. Simply put, when the ocean dies, we die.

So, you may not live near the ocean, but you can celebrate this day anyway. One way to do this is to resolve to stop one habit that contributes to ocean pollution. Even if you live in the middle of Kansas, or the heart of Africa, remember that plastic travels down streams and rivers and through the air. Every lake in the world has evidence of plastic pollution. Sewage, fertilizers, and garbage tossed about carelessly (and off Carnival Cruise Lines) all contribute.

And, most important of all, you can buy a copy of Saving Our Oceans. You’ll be shocked at what you read. Saving Our Oceans is available on Amazon and can also be ordered through any book dealer.

If everyone adopts just one habit, makes one change, we could literally see an ocean of difference.

Save a Whale – It’s Easy

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Here’s an easy,  gratifying way to feel uplifted and do a wondrous deed in the process.

Adopt an Orca! This small adoption act is powerful and enriching. Your donation will not only leave you feeling delightfully good, but somehow the adoption feels like a gift for you too.

The Friday Harbor Whale Museum has a wonderful whale adoption program. For $35 a person can adopt an orca (a member of the Southern Resident Pod) and help support these endangered whales. The proceeds from the adoption support orca education and research.

You get to choose your whale from a long list of available adoptees. (They all have names, too!) You’ll receive a large photo of your whale along with adoption papers, and you’ll also receive a monthly newsletter about the pod. It’s an incredible program. Or a person can do a family adoption or a classroom adoption.

After adopting a whale in 2018, I “gifted” the whale (Cookie) to my four-year-old grandson so that he might develop an interest in these animals and eventually grow to be a steward of nature in some manner. He now has several story books starring orcas.

You might tend to think this is gimmicky, or perhaps akin to adopting a star and naming it after someone. But orca adoption is entirely different. These whales are strikingly intelligent, social beings. The Southern Resident Pod is in a precarious situation in part due to the rampant capture and imprisonment of these magnificent mammals by Sea World which decimated the population. Tragically, no captive whale has lived much beyond 30 years of age. In the wild they can live up to 80 years and longer. And, no whale born into captivity lives past 30. (Sea World can’t seem to figure out that swimming pools just aren’t the same as the ocean. This is why Sea World is one of the most hated companies in America.)

Click here to access the whale adoption page on the Friday Harbor website.

You can also buy a copy of Saving Our Oceans and support these whales. The Whale Museum is a 2019 recipient of the proceeds from the sale of Saving Our Oceans.

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“Thousands have lived without love, none without water.” W.H. Auden

The New York Times ran an article May 21, 2019, reporting on the polluted drinking water in many parts of California. Two states so far, California and Michigan, have confessed that some populated areas in these states have water polluted to the point of being undrinkable. Every state could likely say the same.

According to Saving Our Oceans by R.L. Coffield, the list of unscrupulous companies that have contaminated drinking water for literally millions of people is shocking. It seems there are endless accounts of “manufacturing, mining and waste disposal companies – and dozens of others – who are among the country’s worst water polluters.”

“Hundreds of these companies have been contaminating drinking water throughout the country for decades with everything from arsenic and lead, to mercury and chromium – most coming from improper dumping and waste disposal….” (Environment, “Industrial waste pollutes America’s drinking water.”) “Mining and smelting operations are responsible for contaminating water with heavy metals in almost every state in the nation.”

Example: “In Ringwood, New Jersey, Ford Motor Co. dumped more than 35,000 tons of toxic paint sludge…poisoning groundwater with arsenic, lead, and other harmful bacteria. Today, more than 43 years after the dumping ended, those toxins are still in the groundwater and threaten a reservoir providing water to millions of residents in New Jersey.”

Example: “In North Carolina, the state has told residents living near coal-fired power plants their water contains elevated levels of chromium-6 and other chemicals.”

Example: “Anaconda Aluminum in Montana produced manufacturing wastes that contaminated local water sources with lead and chromium. Gulf States Utilities in Louisiana discharged toxins into marshlands polluting waters with benzene and other chemicals, and the Conklin Dumps in New York leaked volatile organic chemicals into groundwater.”

Photo by NRDC.ORG

Various industries located on or near the Ohio River which borders six states and provides drinking water to nearly 3 million people, have dumped over 600 million pounds of toxic substances into the river.

These toxins cause extraordinary health problems in people and animals. Dioxins (byproducts of incinerators) are the most commonly released chemicals. “They are known carcinogens and exposure has been linked to health effects such as heart disease, diabetes, and reproductive issues. Almost every living creature on Earth has been exposed to dioxins, according to the National Institutes of Health.” (“Industrial waste pollutes America’s drinking water.”) And how much of all these poisons traveling downstream make it out to sea? We already know that fertilizer runoff provides a gross amount of contaminants to the Gulf of Mexico helping to create the world’s second largest dead zone – 8,700 square miles.

There are other “more modern” examples of toxin pollution, such as PFOS and PFOAS (forever chemicals are found in the blood of more than 99 per cent of Americans) along with radioactive waste. By the time one reads about Naegleria fowleri (brain-eating bacteria found in water) and vibrio vulnificus (flesh-eating bacteria found in food and water) the idea of a house-hold water filter begins to sound necessary and the cost quite reasonable.

There are many “natural” sources of water contamination also. Trevor Nace, a science writer, describes the “Nine Deadliest Rocks and Minerals on Earth” (Forbes). Sometimes these rocks and minerals are water soluble and can leach into water. Others, like arsenic, a rather common toxin, comes from water flowing through arsenic rich rocks and soil. Some areas experience quite a bit of arsenic in the water which is why well owners especially in these areas should have their water checked regularly. Not all well owners are aware of this, unfortunately. And just because a neighbor’s well water tests fine, doesn’t mean the next door neighbor’s well will.

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Can’t Find “Saving Our Oceans”? You’re Not Alone!

3167e-SOOpc2B2Bjpeg      For those who have contacted us asking where in the world they can locate a copy of Saving Our Oceans (like on Amazon), you have no idea the frustration level in our office this past week.

For the time being, to access Saving Our Oceans on Amazon, you will need to also include the author’s name along with the title.  Saving Our Oceans  R.L.  Coffield. 

Apparently there has been a rare glitch with the company that provides Amazon with the book information…specifically they’ve had a problem with the cover image. In today’s world, wouldn’t you think they’d notify someone? Like us? Or our distributor? Or our printer? or that Amazon would contact them??

However, one benefit of not getting the book hot off the press, is that we found an error! Someone typed “damns” instead of “dams.” That’s an error we couldn’t ignore. So the book has been re-uploaded to the printer with that correction along with a few additions to the acknowledgment page. Unfortunately, we sent an email blitz out to about 2000 of our former customers. We’ve been inundated with emails wanting to know how to get the book! Of course, we do have a box of books with the misspelled word in them. And even more sadly, we sent a copy of that “damn” book out to contacts who we hoped would help “spread the word.”

In any event, it should be sorted out by next week. I can only hope.

I think it’s time for a rare Saturday night libation!

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War of the Whales

  john boyd photoWar of the Whales (Joshua Horwitz) is a superb account of the hellish situation in our oceans. The book often feels like a nail-biting suspense. Other times the information is so depressing it’s hard to continue reading.

This book has its share of villains and heroes. Probably a highlight was reading about the incredibly dedicated people, like Ken Balcomb and Joel Reynolds and others, who have literally devoted their lives and careers to defending whales, dolphins and marine species of all kinds. Without their commitment and perseverance, there likely wouldn’t be a whale left that hadn’t died by stranding due to military sonar bombardment and bomb detonation. Other organizations discussed in the book also wreaked havoc for marine life blasting away during oil exploration.

As Jane Goodall so aptly stated, “Each and every animal on earth has as much right to be here as you and me.” To totally disregard the safety of an entire species, like whales, is abhorrent. And that’s the one problem with this book – it leaves one with very little respect for the U.S. Navy and their utter disregard for the oceans and the creatures they should be stewards of – not destroyers of. It’s my understanding that their methods and approach to dealing with these matters have changed somewhat, but it will remain to be seen if they actually walk their talk.

Yes, having grown up and lived most of my life in the Pacific Northwest, I am particularly fond of whales, marine life in general, and water. I am horrified at the tons of toxic debris the Navy has dumped into the ocean and the fact that they used to use orcas for target practice. It’s almost unbelievable, quite frankly, that any civilized person with a brain and a heart would do such things. But apparently they had neither. Do they now? I can see that the Navy has an extremely difficult job, but when marine animals and oceans are destroyed for the sake of of “war practice,” there’s seriously bad judgment.

Unfortunately, it appears as though we currently have a president who has little to no interest in environmental issues. This appears to have been true during the Bush presidency also. Trump did sign the Save Our Seas document, however…so who knows.

Finally, Ken Balcomb was/and is a very dedicated, unswerving individual and is a legendary scholar of the beaked whale and the orca. IMO, however,  the author revealed more about Ken’s personal life than was necessary. Maybe Ken was okay with this. Maybe not.

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Early Book Release Due to High Demand

3167e-SOOpc2B2BjpegDue to a growing waiting list of people wanting a copy of Saving Our Oceans, we officially released the book May 3, instead of May 15. Buyers want to call in orders…no one seems to trust email for personal information anymore. Calling is just fine – when someone’s here to take the order.

Releasing Saving Our Oceans early is not a problem. In fact, we’re very happy to do so. We were mainly holding back because we’ve been waiting on two people to finish their reviews before we turned the book loose.

Saving Our Oceans should be available on Amazon very shortly. A signed copy can also be ordered from us directly now as we finally received several  boxes of books. And we’re offering Free Shipping to continental U.S. addresses on these early orders.

MORE NEWS: WHO GETS THE MONEY

We have officially selected two of the three 501c3 recipients for the profits earned by Saving Our Oceans.

Our first recipient is the  Save Our Wild Salmon Coalition, a group working to save wild salmon runs for the sake of the salmon, but also for the sake of the Southern Resident Pod of orcas who dine on Chinook salmon almost exclusively. Many orcas in the pod are starving to death due to lack of salmon (chinook). Because of the efforts and hard work of this group, headed by Joseph Bogaard, talks and studies are now underway to explore the possibility of breaching the four Lower Snake River Dams which would allow salmon to reach their spawning grounds…and for the smolt to return to sea without being churned up in turbines. Dam removal would also help lower river water temperature. In addition, for the first time, Washington State and British Columbia will curtail commercial and sport salmon fishing in August. Maybe July too. (Gotta check that out.)

Our second recipient is the Whale Museum in Friday Harbor, Washington. The museum is visited by literally thousands of people a year. We feel very strongly that the museum’s work toward educating people about the Southern Resident Pod and whales in general is of the utmost importance. Because of the organization’s outstanding display of all things “whale” and their excellent educational programs, the museum was chosen to also be a recipient of the net proceeds from Saving Our Oceans.

We have three contenders for third recipient – extremely tough decision! There are many excellent organizations working for cleaner oceans and to save the ocean’s inhabitants. It’s difficult to single out so few when so many are worthy.

Coffield_9However, back to the real world…we do have extensive costs in getting Saving Our Oceans into print. These costs will have to be covered by the sale of books I personally have written since the proceeds from Saving Our Oceans are dedicated. My titles are Life Was a Cabaret: A Tale of Two Fools, a Boat, and a Big-a** Ocean (sailing memoir); The Old Folks in the Boat (rowing); and the Ben Thomas TrilogyNorthern Escape (award-winning suspense); Northern Conspiracy (Mystery);  and Death in the Desert (International Thriller).

MORE NEWS! Jere D. James, our western author,  volunteered to forfeit royalties until the cost of Saving Our Oceans is covered! Jere is the author of the popular 7-book, Jake Silver Adventures series. Jere’s books are locked and loaded with bloody mayhem and serious adventure. So, how about that for some engaging reading this summer?