Sunday, April 6, 2014

Court Ends Japanese Whaling in the Antarctic

I have done several postings about the TV show, Whale Wars, that chronicle the ongoing struggle of the Sea Shepard Society to confront Japanese factory whaling in the Antarctic ocean.  Sea Shepard has been fighting this battle with Japanese whalers for about the last ten years.

The International Whaling Commission had imposed a moratorium on commercial whaling in the 1980s.  To get around that ban, Japan had been claiming that their whaling activities were based on research that required them to kill and slaughter hundreds of whales every year.  Of course, all of the whale meat taken this way has ended up in Japanese meat markets.

Australia and New Zealand went to the UN's International Court of Justice to challenge Japan's 'research' whaling.    This past week, a panel of judges ruled 12-4 that Japan's 'research' whaling was a sham. It ordered an immediate end to the practice. Though it has publicly regretted the court's decision, Japan agreed to comply.

This is a huge victory of the Sea Shepard Society and those of us who believe that whales should be protected from human exploitation.

Even with this very positive step, there is much that needs to be done to mend humanity's relationship with our oceans. Beyond our continued overexploitation of the ocean's fisheries, humans are responsible for billions of tons of plastic and other kinds of toxic materials being dumped into the oceans. Making this right will take a massive effort by humanity. Accepting responsibility for the mess we've made means new policies that prohibit  our waterways and oceans from being used as dumping grounds. We must also aggressively develop technologies that will allow us to clean up the mess we've already made.   Rather than seeing this as a financial burden, we should be looking at it as an important pathway to sustainability that will create jobs and improve the quality of life of all the world's people.

Time to get busy and take care of our planetary home.

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