Friday, January 4, 2008

The Dark Side of Humanity

(Artist Credit: Jim Warren)

Ya know, I try to be optimistic about our world and the people in it. I strive to remain hopeful and to focus on the good. But every now and then, I have days when I wonder if the dark side of humanity is winning over the light. And on those days, I feel helpless, hopeless, and very sad.

The sadness comes from deep inside where I've felt, from early childhood, an affinity for animals. Nothing brings tears to my eyes quicker than seeing an animal slaughtered senselessly and cruelly in the hands of a human being. Yet nothing brings me more joy when I witness the simple essence of our wildlife, who they are, how they interact with one another, and how they have the power to evoke a wide range of emotions in us.

I fear for the future of our non-human species, on the land and in the sea. There are far too many humans who are driven by greed, selfishness, and egoism. There are far too many who would choose a few bucks over the lives of whales, dolphins, walruses, polar bears, etc. Yet there are also a few who are doing everything in their power to prevent any further endangerment to our wildlife friends.

One man at the forefront of this is the well known Captain of Sea Shepherd, Paul Watson. Yesterday, he wrote a very passionate update on his site. There are many who find his views to be on the extreme side and others who feel that it's this very extreme passion that is necessary and what gives hope to the possibility that something positive might change.

Following is the heart of his update:

The Crocodile Hunter is now hunting pirate whalers and with a bone in her teeth, the Sea Shepherd ship Steve Irwin is presently cleaving the swells in a race to return to the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary where the blood of the whales is flowing freely amidst the heart -breaking screams of whales dying in horrific agony at the hands of black hearted cetacean serial killers.

We sail as shepherds in defense of some of the most incredibly awesome living beings on this planet - we sail to save lives and to oppose horrendous cruelty and we sail against a violent ruthless opposition - whalers from Japan, all members of a Yakuza controlled union, all crew members on one of the largest floating aquatic death platforms ever constructed. The Nisshin Maru is the Cetacean Death Star and the most evil ship sailing the high seas today. It must be destroyed if the whales are to live.

There are a thousand sentient, intelligent, socially complex, awesome citizens of this planet whose lives will be ruthlessly snuffed out by these vicious Japanese harpoons. In fact these whales are dying now, spilling their hot steaming blood into the frigid black waters of the Southern Oceans, slaughtered in an area designated as a Whale Sanctuary and killed for no other reason than to assuage Japanese national pride.

These are self aware beings who have caused humankind no wrong or distress. Instead they have given us their beauty and filled our hearts with wonderment and admiration. And there is much that they could teach us if we would only set aside our conceit and accept that these are beings of exceptional intelligence and perceptions. They are equal to us and deserve our respect and they deserve the right to live unmolested from the horror of human violence.

To read it in full, please click here: The Hunt for the Killers Resumes

To the very north of us, up in Alaska, the battle for oil drilling appears, at this time, to be won by the oil companies.

Despite the fight against allowing oil drilling in what is arguably the last pristine wilderness section of our planet, the United States government has agreed to open up a huge area off Alaska's northwest coast for oil drilling.

Justifiably, environmental groups are arguing that we are likely destroying what's left of the polar bear population and endangering the marine mammals of this area, by allowing this area to be drilled.

Despite the fact that (1) we're just days away from the polar bears being added to the list of endangered species (ironic timing, don't ya think?) and (2) President Bush signed into law, a new energy bill that is supposed to move us in the direction of alternative sources of power.

Seems as soon as a flicker of light appears, someone comes along and cruelly snuffs it out, laughing evilly while he envisions billions of dollars in his bank account, and to hell with wildlife and the people.

Of course, they argue that they can reasonably strike a balance between getting what they want while ensuring the protection of both the environment and the area's wildlife. Yet they fail to provide a contingency plan in the event of an oil spill. And everyone well knows that accidents not only can happen, they DO happen. We only have to look at recent history to prove it.

The Exxon Valdez spill from years ago, in Alaska no less. And the San Fransisco Bay area just a few weeks ago.

Full story here: Alaska Oil Drilling Plan Attacked

What exactly will it take to protect our planet? We can continue to fight the good fight and hope that good triumphs over evil. But we also are realistic in knowing that we can't win every battle. It won't be for lack of trying though, and I have to believe that intrinsically, our wildlife know and appreciate who their real friends are.



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