The planet is our home; we need to be more responsible. Here's what I do.
I wasn’t going to tackle headline topics when I started this blog but if one brings a tear to my eyes then maybe it’s the one to tackle.
Many years ago (when I was a lot younger)
Save the Whale
was a phrase that was bandied around quite light heartedly.
In 1946 a commission was set up to regulate whaling.
1946!!!!!!! nearly seventy years ago!
In recent years, whaling issues across the globe have taken headlines.
There are whales dicing with death in various places in various ways. Some face a ghastly end at the hand of humans while others mysteriously swim ashore alone or with their peers, drowning on the beach, unable to support their weight enough to breathe. Often unable to return to their water as their skins crisp and their energy levels fail.
The cetacean species is magical.
I’ve been privileged to see a minky whale in a Scottish harbour, it’s gleaming skin arching in and out of the grey gloom.
I’ve been amongst divers visited by a dolphin pod in the Red Sea. Us poised in wonder; them quizzical at our behaviour. What struck me then was who was watching and observing who?
A whale shark (fish not cetacean but subject to negative human attention all the same) glided past me in the Indian Ocean. Twelve metres of serious unadulterated thrust, power and spotted awe.
And that’s the thing.
I’m not a naive person. I’m not keen to save a creature simply because it’s cute.
But I am keen to respect animals that may be more precious than we realise.
People have such a strong tendency to put people first.
It’s assumed that a human requirement takes precedence over an animal one every single time.
Our zoo animals don’t draw the punters; let’s cull them.
Our science needs more info on whales; let’s cull them.
We want to eat; let’s cull them.
It’s part of our culture; let’s cull them.
God gave us the planet; let’s cull them.
In December I spent a week supporting a fragile endangered species that’s been pushed to the edge by additional pressure caused by human behaviour.
In the years to come there is no likelihood that fewer species will be in trouble.
Why is it the right of humanity to wipe out other species?
Dodos used to be the go-to-extinct animal of choice. No one seemed to mind that they’d never see one.
Today the East African black rhino species is gone in the wild.
Will the people of the future object to our lack of respect for such species?
Are we farmers or hunters?
Are we guardians or destroyers. There is no planet B.
Every food chain needs all it’s members to stay strong and healthy. We can’t just knock out a few participants and sustain balance.
I’m so glad that the whale hunt has been found to be illegal but I can’t help wondering how long, for this time?
a blog by a multilingual expat-since-birth, linguist, researcher, mum of three, living in the Netherlands and writing about bilingualism, multiculturalism, parenting abroad, international life...