JUST ONE THING

It’s a minority of individuals who have any sense of stewardship about anything involving nature and animals. Some people are concerned with a specific animal – for example “Save the Whales” – which is perfectly fine. Some are concerned about all animals and nature – for example Green Peace. But we’re talking a very small number of people when it comes down to it.

One problem that those involved with saving animals or nature must dealoiled bird with is that  they’re regularly scoffed at as extremists, tree-huggers, radicals,  hippies,  environmentalists (heaven forbid) and other invectives, and often they must battle big business and corporations. I think it’s safe to say that a majority of people don’t give a thought to a species of any kind becoming extinct and might not even care if someone planted the thought.

whale-postcard3127275067734833074.jpgThis realization really hit home when I sent out an email to a group of 70 people, most of whom I know fairly well. Some I’ve known for years. I asked that they consider supporting the publication of Saving Our Oceans since the net proceeds from the sale of the book were being donated to several 501c3 organizations. Many of the 70 live in California, and California does have a healthy history of protecting their coastline and marine sanctuaries.

Get ready for the big response! Ready? One person out of 70 said they’d be delighted to buy the book. That is .02 per cent.

One woman asked me to remove her from my email list.

Well, it’s very possible it could simply be me.

However, I have found only one individual in the tiny town where I live who cares one whit about the health of the ocean, the captivity of orcas, Japanese whaling, or any similar environmental topic.

It’s NOT okay for 1,000,000 species of plants and animals to die off. It is NOT acceptable to be harpooning the smartest mammals in the ocean (possible smarter than people in some regards) or holding them prisoners in swimming pools for entertainment. It’s not acceptable for big business to rape, pillage, and pollute the earth. There seems to be a robust “leave it for others to fix” attitude. Or is the real reason behind inaction and ambivalence that the problems seem overwhelming and hopeless?

Seaworld's Orca Swimming Pool
Photo by change.org

Yes, for the most part we all have extremely busy, stressful lives, but the solution might be simpler than people realize. Imagine this: What if everyone, every single person, did something helpful. Just one thing. I think we can all afford to do JUST ONE THING.

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Start by saying NO to PLASTIC Bags, Bottles and Straws. One thing.

 

The Rights of Nature Movement is Growing!

Despite our obsession with the slaughter and captivity of whales and dolphins, there are some growing bright spots on the horizon! Here at Moonlight Mesa Associates we’ve agreed to stop obsessing about captive whales and focus on the bigger picture. Plenty of other people are focusing on whales and dolphins. The four of us aren’t going to be missed. The Rights of Nature movement needs support and obsessing over too.

rights of nature poster    Essentially, the idea of the Rights of Nature arose in the “western” world around 1972, although indigenous citizens in many countries have pretty much always recognized and respected the rights of nature. However, in 1989 Professor Roderick Nash published the Rights of Nature: A History of Environmental Ethics which really began the ball slowly rolling.

The fact is, and it’s a happy fact, the Rights of Nature is being increasingly recognized worldwide. Just this past week, Sweden introduced a Rights of Nature Constitutional Amendment in their parliament.

Parliament member Le Moine succinctly made it clear when he said,  “The underlying value in our society is that we are the dominators of this world and Nature is just a resource for us to use. Economic growth has been the real goal, not a healthy environment. I’m tired of this era, where our arrogant worldview has driven us far beyond the planetary boundaries. Now, when we’re in the beginning of an ecological and climate collapse, I hope we can re-think our relationship with Nature. And for me, it starts with admitting that Nature has rights.”

Mari Margil of CELDF (Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund) stated: “We need to quickly make a fundamental shift in our relationship with the natural world. Advancing the Rights of Nature in Sweden’s constitution is an important step forward.”

These exact words could/should have been said in the United States Congress, the British Parliament, and any number of countries. Unfortunately, it will likely be decades before words of this kind are uttered in the U.S. Congress, but there’s always hope!

rights of nature campaignSweden will be joining Ecuador, Columbia, Bolivia, India, New Zealand and a host of other countries who have come to their senses and realized that some things (nature) are just more important than amassing untold amounts of money and multiple private estates.

Citizens of the United States are taking action even if the federal government here isn’t. I think I already mentioned about the citizens in Lincoln County, Oregon, who adopted a first-in-nation ban of aerial pesticide spraying. Despite a staggering campaign war chest of $300,000 raised by timber and chemical corporations, Lincoln County fought back with $16,000 and won their measure.

 Pennsylvania  is introducing a constitutional amendment called the “local Self-Government Amendment” which places the rights of people over the interests of private corporations and empowers communities to heighten state protections for civil, human, and ecosystem rights. This is in an effort to protect themselves from environmental and personal harm. Pittsburgh has already waded into this swamp and defended themselves against sludge, fracking, and a host of harmful corporate projects.

In Florida laws are being proposed in each county through the citizens’ ballot initiative process. In addition to protecting the Rights of Nature, the laws would recognize rights of local residents to a healthy environment and clean water.

Photo by NRDC.ORG

    Toledo, Ohio, however, passed a ballot initiative that gave Lake Erie and those who rely on the lake’s ecosystem a bill of rights. The intent is to protect and preserve “the ecosystem so that the life that depends on it – humans included – can have access to safe, fresh drinking water.” This certainly seems like a reasonable initiative, yet big business (in this case the Farm Bureau) had a stop put to this. The State of Iowa is supporting the farmers in a lawsuit against the city. Toledoans for Safer Water were told, by a judge no less, that they “cannot defend the voter-passed initiative in a lawsuit brought by a factory farm against the city over the initiative.”

Gig Harbor, Washington, formed a movement, Legal Rights for the Salish Sea,  to help protect endangered orcas and the Salish Sea.

Overall, small movements in this country are arising. Many have the backing and assistance of CELDF and are becoming victorious. Check CELDF out on the web, please!

For a full account of the timeline of Rights of Nature, visit https://celdf.org/advancing-community-rights/rights-of-nature/rights-nature-timeline/.

david boyd bookI can also recommend The Rights of Nature, by David R. Boyd. This is an excellent book and clearly explains what this movement entails and is all about.

Basically, we’ve come to the conclusion that we need to do much more than fret about the beloved Southern Resident Pod and the Humpbacks dying around the globe. The planet itself is at stake. And yes, small efforts add up!

What can  YOU do to help this movement? Stay tuned. We’re going to get to that.

 

Score 1.5 for the Whales

Iceland has announced it will not slaughter whales this year!

Iceland has given up whaling in the past also, but always resumed after a year’s hiatus. Will they do so again? One year at a time, right?

Several reasons were offered for the whaling hiatus – one reason being the lucrative, booming whale watching business. Whale consumption is also down among Icelanders, and there was a suggestion about a permit not being applied for in time.

Unfortunately, this good news is offset by Japan’s resumption of commercial whaling starting. July 1.

Finally, Russia has made good and freed 2 orcas and 6 beluga whales that had been held in captivity in tiny holding tanks for months. Unfortunately, they didn’t ease the whales back to their environment by placing them in a sanctuary for a short time to help them readjust, but instead plunked them down into the ocean.

If the orcas cannot locate their original pod it’s possible they may die. Upon delivery one beluga looked to have been injured.

But the whales at least have a chance to survive in freedom – certainly better than a Russian jail enclosure, a Chinese marine park, or Sea World’s swimming pool.

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.

“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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Now available

Captivity Kills

download    Our attention to animal cruelty is often limited. We primarily focus on dogs and horses – maybe cats. We might stress over elephants being mercilessly slaughtered for their tusks, but that’s happening in Africa, too far away to really ensnare our deepest feelings.

PETA keeps us informed of vicious farm workers who brutalize cows, pigs, and chickens, causing some to become vegetarians for humanitarian reasons. But basically, in this country we are probably moved the most by the wrong done to dogs and horses. However, the number of people worldwide who are concerned about the brutality done to whales and dolphins is escalating dramatically.

Not everyone realizes that the killer whale (orca) is actually a very, very large dolphin. So when we fume over the slaughter of whales by the Japanese, the Icelanders, the Faroe Island whale hunters, we tend to forget about the merciless slaughter, sale, and captivity of dolphins primarily by the Japanese.

Shockingly, the Japanese look to be the most brutal killers of whales and dolphins. Regularly the fishermen go on roundups of dolphins, forcing them into Taiji Bay, the notorious killing pen featured in the film The Cove. Often youngsters are separated from their mothers. Some die from shock. Many are killed by the fishermen driving a metal pin into their necks. They slaughter so many the bay runs red with their blood. This is barbarism and animal cruelty at its worst. The dolphins who are not killed are sold – the going price is around $32,000. The world is horrified, and even many Japanese citizens strongly object to this roundup and slaughter.

Who entitled these people to capture an intelligent mammal and sell it? Where is that mammal’s right to exist in its environment, free from enslavement?

Phoenix, Arizona, is the home to Dolphinaris. This desert aquarium featuring dolphins opened several years ago, despite avid protest about the stupidity and cruelty of not only imprisoning dolphins, but in keeping them in the desert. Who could possibly be surprised that four of the dolphins have already died in captivity? Only the operators of Dolphinaris are bewildered.

The last two weeks have seen the death of a young orca held captive in Orlando’s Sea World and the death of another dolphin held captive in an aquarium in Phoenix, Arizona. But don’t worry: the Sea World organization still has 20 orcas to keep them in business for a spell. Recent word is that the company that leases dolphins have taken the remaining live dolphins back from Phoenix’s Dolphinaris. Likely they’ll just send these hapless, intelligent, friendly, caring mammals to be held captive in another tank in another city. And besides, the Japanese will capture many more if these die.

 

 

 

 

 

Our attention to animal cruelty is often limited. We primarily focus on dogs and horses – maybe cats. We might stress over elephants being mercilessly slaughtered for their tusks, but that’s happening in Africa, too far away to really ensnare our deepest feelings. PETA keeps us informed of vicious farm workers who brutalize cows, pigs, and chickens causing some to become vegetarians for humanitarian reasons. But basically, in this country we are probably moved the most by the wrong done to dogs and horses. However, the number of people worldwide who are concerned about whales and dolphins is escalating dramatically.

Not everyone realizes that the killer whale (orca) is actually a very, very large dolphin. So when we fume over the slaughter of whales by the Japanese, the Icelanders, the Faroe Island whale hunters, we tend to forget about the merciless slaughter, sale, and captivity of dolphins primarily by the Japanese.

The Japanese look to be the most brutal killers of whales and dolphins. Regularly the fishermen go on roundups of dolphins, forcing them into Taiji Bay, the notorious killing pen featured in the film The Cove. Often youngsters are separated from their mothers. Some die from shock. Many are killed by the fishermen driving a metal pin into their necks. They slaughter so many the bay runs red with their blood. This is barbarism and animal cruelty at its worst. The dolphins who are not killed are sold – the going price is around $32,000.

Who entitled these people to capture an intelligent mammal and sell it? Where is that mammal’s right to exist in its environment, free from enslavement?

Phoenix, Arizona, is the home to Dolphinaris. This desert aquarium featuring dolphins opened several years ago, despite avid protest about the stupidity and cruelty of not only imprisoning dolphins in a tank, but in keeping them in the desert. Who could possibly be surprised that four of the dolphins have already died in captivity? Only the operators of Dolphinaris are bewildered.

The last two weeks have seen the death of a young orca held captive in a tank in Orlando’s Sea World and the death of another dolphin held captive in an aquarium in Phoenix, Arizona. But don’t worry: the Sea World organization still has 20 orcas to keep them in business for a spell. Recent word is that the company that leases dolphins have taken the remaining live dolphins back from Phoenix’s Dolphinaris. Likely they’ll just send these hapless, intelligent, friendly, caring mammals to be held captive in another tank in another city. And besides, the Japanese will capture many more if these die.

 

 

 

 

 

How Many More Must Die?

How many more must die?

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SeaWorld recently announced the death of Kayla, a 30-year-old orca, who apparently died of “unknown causes” after handlers noticed her not feeling well for two days. Orcas can live to be 90 or better if left in the wild. A necropsy will be performed to see what made Kayla fall ill and die. Perhaps if someone with a bit of sensitivity and half-witted intelligence at SeaWorld recognized that these creatures are  not meant to be imprisoned in tanks and forced into performing for crowds unaware of orcas’ keen intelligence and sensitivity, Kayla would still be alive.

There are still 20 whales in captivity remaining in SeaWorld parks. Five are held captive in Orlando, five in San Antonio, and ten are in San Diego. Likely they will all die unnatural deaths too.

An organization with even half a heart would release these orcas to a sanctuary where they could be rehabilitated back to the environment they’ve been denied. At worst they’d remain in a natural sanctuary, not a tank. But that’s not the way the do busine$$.  How many more must die? (Information from http://www.10TV.com/article/30-year-old-orca-dies-seaworld-orlando-park)

Even more appalling, however, is the captivity of 11 orcas and 87 beluga whales in Russia’s remote  eastern area. These animals are in danger of freezing to death when their pens ice over and temperatures drop to subarctic levels. Once the orcas start developing frost bite they will die. If an orca’s dorsal fin (which regulates its temperature) freezes, the mammal can easily succumb to the cold.

These animals were captured last summer with the plan of selling them to China for their dolphinariums/aquariums. The whales are being cruelly held in a tiny area. China has plans for over 60 “aquariums” and is buying dolphins from the Japanese and apparently whales from Russia.

According to the Independent, a British publication, activists have been lobbying Vladimire Putin for the animals’ release. They have seen one of the orcas whose fin is “peeling off in large, flapping chunks.” This whale and others have already developed frostbite.

The observed sick whale is “…completely inactive, looks sick and floating motionless for long periods. His breathing is very slow and ‘gentle,’ which can be a sign of pneumonia or other diseases of internal organs.” Other orcas have skin lesions that are likely due to fungal diseases from being kept in such small, confined pens.

There is no doubt that the orcas are also suffering extreme stress due to the heavy equipment and noise around the area.

The capture and torment of such intelligent, sensitive, social mammals absolutely must be stopped. It’s difficult to believe that a leader such as Vladimir Putin, who supposedly regards wildlife very highly, would allow this kind of abuse to take place.

SeaWorld has 20 orcas still in captivity. Russia holds 11 orcas and 87 beluga whales captive. Japan is commencing the commercial slaughter of whales in July despite world-wide protest and condemnation.

How many more must die?

(Information from https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/killer-whales-orcas-belugas-captive-russia-china-okhotsk-vladivostok-a8748066.html)