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Whales on the run Whales on the run
by Thanos Kalamidas
2006-10-26 10:09:15
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Sometimes when I write an article I feel that suddenly all my thoughts on different things come together. However, it's just that I cannot put in the same article George W. Bush, Angela Merkel and the fin whales. I have often expressed in articles my worries over environmental issues, but there is something different with things that you can see and things that you can't see.

It is easy to ignore the dangers of nuclear power, the damage it does to humans and nature for thousands of years on the environment for the simple reason that you cannot see it. You know that cigarettes cause damage because you see the smoke and the yellow on your teeth and fingers, but you never see how nuclear energy affects your health.

ovi_whale01_400Furthermore, you don’t see how much damage humans do to the earth in the name of unexplained profit. I’m afraid that my daughter will only see some animals in photographs and that sounds like a real disaster. Imagine the day when a cow, or a cat or a dog will be nothing other than an animal that used to exist just like dinosaurs are today. The only difference is that it took thousands of years for the end of the dinosaurs, while it takes only a few decades for some animals we see often in films and documentaries.

The best example is the whales. There are species of whales where their population is counted in tens and there are some very small colonies that live in protected areas. Hundreds of documentaries and films, speeches from specialists and demonstrations from Alaska to Japan have fought for the destiny of whales, these gigantic mammals that have survived for thousands of years and it seems that they will meet their end because of humans in the 21st century.

Iceland is a very peculiar place. A place that thrives on natural beauty yet was one of the first countries to experience the damage of the ozone layer. In general, Iceland has been vocal on environmental issues and the preservation of natural heritage, which is why it comes as a surprise to hear the latest decision from the Icelandic fisheries ministry to break the 21-year international ban on commercial whaling by killing a fin whale – an endangered species.

Over the last few years the same question comes to mind again and again, why? Why can I see something that they don’t seem to see? Why do I worry if my daughter will ever see a tiger, a lion or even a cow alive, while they don’t care? Don’t they have kids? Haven’t they ever been kids themselves? Why Iceland?

Iceland is not the only one; their neighbor Norway ignores the treaty as well. They are another country with a rich environment and another country that will be affected immediately with the change of climate. Why don’t they worry? Japan says that they do it for scientific research!

The Icelandic fisheries ministry announced that whaling vessels will take nine fin whales and thirty minke whales each year, hoping that the number will remain within sustainable limits. Hoping? That reminds me the 'famous last words' joke. You build a future on hope, but you can only save the environment with actions and this action from the Icelandic government will have only catastrophic results.

The Icelandic excuses for unemployment and careful whaling sound very poor, however a rumor that they did that trying to stop the uncontrollable illegal whaling sounds more reasonable and they could have said it from the beginning. Instead of making whaling legal there are definitely other ways to prevent the illegality.

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Clint Wayne2006-10-25 18:12:00
Good on yer Thanos
Governments need to bring these countries back into line quickly. They would if it were oil.
On a recent trip to New Zealand we went whale watching and there is no better sight.
Apparently Japanese tourists do not go whale watching... maybe they should!!

Sand2006-10-25 18:54:36
Perhaps there is a scientific solution. If genetic engineering could infect whale meat with some kind of microbe deadly to humans but harmless to whales the whales might have a chance. Or perhaps it might be enough to start a rumor that the microbe exists and is deadly without the necessity of actually creating the disease.

Thanos2006-10-25 22:39:56
@ Clint Wayne

I've seen in Chille and the memory is still so strong. amazing animals!!!

@ Sand

Do you think that will stop them?

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