The other day I wrote about wildlife Ranger’s in Africa, Would you risk your life for an elephant? , and today I focus on those protecting the Ocean’s and our underwater friends that call it home. Did you know that over 1.4 billion pounds of trash per year enters the ocean? Now that is a lot of PUM! With this pollution and over fishing our oceans are dying quickly, between 970-2,700 billion fish are killed each year in the wild. (such a massive number that it is difficult to get a good estimation. according to http://www.fishcount.org.uk.)
The ocean’s are so vast and there is still a lot we don’t know about them but we continue to choke it with pollution and pull life from it without thinking of long-term effects. Much of this over fishing comes back to greed and companies just wanting to extract profits from the waters. Is money more important than a living being in the sea, or healthy eco-system’s we know very little about? I’ve made a list of some great organization’s that have been fighting for the ocean’s and all the being’s that call it home. I write this to show how far some men and woman will go in this fight for life and acknowledge their dedication. This is not to say that the fight is over, far from it, we all can influence change with our personal choices and consumption habits, more on that to come but for now I’d like to give credit to those fighting the good fight for the Ocean’s.
1. Sea Shepard Conservation Society
Founded in 1977 by Paul Watson, Starlet Lum, Ron Precious and Al Johnson, Sea Shepard’s mission is to end the destruction of habitat and slaughter of wildlife in the world’s oceans in order to conserve and protect ecosystems and species. They use innovative direct-action tactics to investigate, document and take action when necessary to expose and confront illegal activities on the high seas. Many have joined to make Sea Shepard’s what it is today and they are going beyond protest and taking physical action when necessary to create change. They have at times even gone as far to ram a whaling ship and put it out of commission to stop the slaughter of these beings. It is incredibly inspiring to see people this motivated to protect and serve life in the oceans!
2. Ocean Conservancy
Ocean Conservancy was founded in 1972 as a small organization called the Delta Conservancy, which was later renamed as the Center for Marine Conservation, which was later renamed as the Center for Environmental Education and the Center for Marine Conservation before finally changing to its current name. They have a simple vision of “fighting for a healthy ocean” with projects such as the International Coastal Cleanup, which enlists thousands of volunteers all over the U.S. each year to assist in clearing trash and other human debris from our beaches. At present, they are also running an online petition aimed at telling the oil giant BP to clean up its act and take full responsibility for the devastating 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, which killed eleven people and caused incalculable damage to the surrounding wildlife.
3. Ric O’Barry’s Dolphin Project
The Dolphin Project was founded by Ric O’Barry in 1982 as an offshoot of the Earth Island Institute. O’Barry, a former captive dolphin trainer, claims that his life was irrevocably changed when Kathy, one of the dolphins he had been working with on the set of the movie “Flipper,” died in his arms. This caused him to realize that “capturing dolphins and training them to perform silly tricks is simply wrong.”
Some of the Dolphin Project’s many oceanic conservation initiatives include campaigning against Japan’s cruel cetacean hunts and halting the Solomon Islands dolphin trade (largely composed of traumatized survivors of the Islands’ annual dolphin hunt.) As part of these campaigns, they are running an online petition to help stop the Taiji dolphin slaughter, and another one asking members of the public to pledge that they will never attend a dolphin show.
4. Whale and Dolphin Conservation
Whale and Dolphin Conservation is a worldwide organization devoted to the well-being of both wild and captive cetaceans. Their simple vision is to create “a world where every whale and dolphin is safe and free,” while their core belief is that “all dolphins and whales have the right to exist as nature intends, not as humans decide.”
WDC has been actively campaigning for an end to the trade in captive cetaceans. Their ongoing and disturbing report on the fate of captive orcas makes it abundantly clear that killer whales forced to live in concrete tanks suffer in innumerable ways – with lower life expectancies and captivity-specific health conditions being part of the report.
These are only 4 of many organizations fighting for change and we can all do our part too. If unable to volunteer or support organizations like these financially you can “vote with you dollar” whenever you make purchases. A friend of mine, Rae at www.plantpeacedaily.org put together a very helpful “Caring Consumer Wallet Card” reminding us to ask ourselves;
- Is this a want or a need?
- Will having this add meaning to my life?
- Is this purchase the best way to care for myself and the planet?
- What is the true cost of the item to : My own health? Other species? The environment? Other cultures?
- Is there something more worthwhile I could do with my money?
There are more companies doing business consciously today than ever, (but just as many doing the opposite) so use your money wisely. The more people who choose not to exploit the ocean’s or support those that do, the closer we will be to a healthy ocean. Choosing to not eat our ocean friends is a great place to start and will help the ocean begin healing from the catastrophic damage already inflicted. Today I am grateful for all of these hero’s fighting for life in our oceans.