Activists often have different views regarding how to achieve their goals. A variety of approaches can be effective and I enjoy dialogue with ocean activists who take a gentle approach as well as those who actively intervene in illegal activities. Although it might not be everyone’s primary approach, few could argue that education is crucial.
The adults who are alive today have done more to destroy the oceans than all other generations combined so it only makes sense that we should take responsibility to clean up and protect the oceans. There is only 10% of the life in the oceans that there was 50 years ago. Many species are extinct and others are under threat from unsustainable fishing methods, pollution, greed, and ignorance.
September 1st was International Dolphin Day and there were events held in over 40 cities around the world that drew attention to the plight of the dolphins that are ruthlessly slaughtered in Taiji, Japan. I have witnessed the slaughter and it is totally abominable that this sort of atrocity can happened in Japan in 2011.
It was great to see so many young people involved in rallies on September 1st. One such child was 12 year old Alexandra from New Zealand. Young people like Alexander have a heavy burden to carry. A great deal of damage has been done and those who have performed acts of ocean genocide are unlikely to be part of the solution. The children are our future and we need to encourage Alexandra because our only hope to save the dolphins and the oceans might our children.
Attending the event caused Alexandra to miss a day of school. I don’t wish to minimize the importance of formal education, but should not conservation be one of the most important subjects? Alexandra’s teacher told her that her absence could be considered truancy and this position was also supported by other teachers. Some children were allowed to mock Alexandra because she was doing that “dolphin stuff”.
When used as a noun the word “truant” can mean “a person who neglects his or her duties” or “a lazy, idle person”. Perhaps the teachers need educating because it is not Alexandra or her young peers who have neglected their duties, but rather it was the previous generation. Words are powerful and it is unfair to use a word that means “lazy” or “idle” when referring to one so young who is prepared to take a stand.
I can assure you that the only thing stupid about that “dolphin stuff’ is that on a daily basis, highly sentient dolphins who migrate past Taiji, Japan are forced into a cove and die a horrific and painful death. Those who are not killed are sold into a life of slavery at a theme park, but most end up on Japanese tables and become a toxic, mercury laden meal.
To the Alexandra’s of the world….thank you. Please don’t be discouraged by your ignorant elders, but also be patient with them because despite your age, you are the teacher, and those who call you a truant are your students.
For the Oceans,