Seismic Testing to Begin in Atlantic Ocean in Push for Offshore Drilling

Seismic Testing to Begin in Atlantic Ocean in Push for Offshore Drilling

The Interior Department announced it is moving forward with seismic surveys in the Atlantic Ocean following President Donald Trump‘s executive order last month to aggressively expand offshore drilling in protected areas off the Arctic and Atlantic oceans.

Six permit applications by energy companies—ones that were rejected by the Obama administration—are being reviewed by the department.

The oil and gas industry has long pushed for seismic surveys used to search for oil and gas deposits deep below the ocean’s surface.

However, environmental groups warn that the surveys are an extremely loud and dangerous process.

“Seismic airguns create one of the loudest manmade sounds in the ocean, firing intense blasts of compressed air every 10 seconds, 24 hours a day, for weeks to months on end,” Dustin Cranor, Oceana‘s senior director of U.S. communications, told EcoWatch. “The noise from these blasts is so loud that it can be heard up to 2,500 miles from the source, which is approximately the distance from Washington, DC to Las Vegas.”

“These blasts are of special concern to marine life, including fish, turtles and whales, which depend on sound for communication and survival,” Cranor said. He noted that the government’s own estimates show that seismic airgun blasting in the Atlantic could injure as many as 138,000 marine mammals like dolphins and whales, while disturbing the vital activities of millions more.

Furthermore, Greenpeace said “pursuing this development stands at cross-purposes with the nation’s necessary and rapidly accelerating move away from fossil fuels, and with previous commitments to address global climate change.”

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society’s Capt. Paul Watson explained, “One of the major threats to the survival of cetaceans, is noise pollution. More seismic testing and military LFS testing will result in more strandings. This decision equates to a death sentence for thousands of whales and dolphins.”

Seismic data has not been gathered in the mid- and south-Atlantic regions, from northern Florida to Delaware, for at least 30 years.

The Interior Department said that the surveys are needed to update information about the Outer Continental Shelf that was gathered more than three decades ago, “when technology was not as advanced as today.”

The Associated Press reported that any new drilling activity is expected to be limited to the coasts of Virginia, North and South Carolina and Georgia.

Interior Sec. Ryan Zinke said that the surveys will help “a variety of federal and state partners better understand our nation’s offshore areas … and evaluate resources that belong to the American people.”

Industry groups applauded the department’s decision to review the permit applications. “There has been no documented scientific evidence of noise from these surveys adversely affecting marine animal populations or coastal communities,” Randall Luthi, president of the National Ocean Industries Association, said.

Trump’s executive order was aimed at rolling back President Obama’s permanent ban on new offshore oil and gas drilling in the Arctic and Atlantic oceans.

“Renewed offshore energy production will reduce the cost of energy, create countless new jobs, and make America more secure and far more energy independent,” Trump said before signing the document last month.

But Greenpeace said that Atlantic drilling would threaten the region’s vibrant fishing and tourism industry, warning that “a spill equivalent to the BP Gulf oil disaster could coat beaches stretching from Savannah to Boston.”

Additionally, Cranor pointed out that more than 120 East Coast municipalities, 1,200 elected officials, and an alliance representing 35,000 businesses and 500,000 fishing families have publicly opposed offshore drilling and/or seismic airgun blasting.

“These individuals and groups understand that nearly 1.4 million jobs and more than $95 billion in gross domestic product are at risk if dangerous offshore drilling activities occur in the Atlantic Ocean,” Cranor explained.

Conservation groups have filed a lawsuit against President Trump, challenging his decision to reverse President Obama’s ban.

200 Year Old Whale Killed–Enough is Enough!

Comment by Captain Paul Watson:

For 200 years this incredible whale has swum through the waters of the Arctic Ocean.

200 HUNDREDS YEARS!!

Two centuries ago it was 1817. This whale was alive before the American Civil War. This whale was alive before Thomas Jefferson died. This whale was alive before the ship ESSEX was sunk by a Sperm whale. This whale is older than the Mormon church!

When this whale was born, African Americans were just commodities to be bought and sold. When this whale was born, women had very few rights and Native Americans were being slaughtered. well, because of manifest destiny, killed because of White American culture.

And now some 16-year old kid is a frigging “hero” for snuffing out the life of this unique self aware, intelligent, social, sentient being, but hey, it’s okay because murdering whales is a part of his culture, part of his tradition.

He went out in his “traditional” metal boat, powered by a “traditional” outboard motor, armed with a “traditional” exploding harpoon and “traditional” high powered rifle and they all hauled the great grandmother of a whale into the shore with a “traditional power” winch.

I don’t give a damn for the bullshit politically correct attitude that certain groups of people have a “right” to murder a whale.

Their so called “right” is not as important as the right of the whales to live, survive and to thrive.

TWO HUNDRED GODDAMN YEARS and this little prick snuffs out her life just because because he legally can. I hope he chokes on the blubber.

People like the Yupik, the Faroese, the thugs in Taiji, the Orca killing scum in St. Vincent and the whaling gangsters of Iceland, Norway and Japan are despicable murderous bastards all justifying their cruel infliction of death in the name of this mother of all justifications – culture.

Am I angry? Damn right I am. Enough is enough. I don’t care what self righteous ethnic label anyone may want to pin on themselves, killing a whale can never be justified in the name of tradition or culture.

TWO HUNDRED GODDAMN YEARS!! WTF!!

And for those who demand that I respect anyone’s “right” to kill a whale or a dolphin, my answer is I have never, I do not and I will never respect the infliction of suffering and death to any cetacean.

And for those who say, well you eat meat? No I don’t, and I would no more respect this horrific murder of this incredible sentient being than I would of the culture of cannibalism.

And by the way I have been to Gambell in 1981 where I saw the Yupik shooting walrus with M-16 rifles just for the ivory. The number of stinking rotting Walrus bodies I saw that summer was obscene.

https://www.adn.com/…/a-teenager-on-a-gambell-whaling-crew-…

Sixteen-year-old Chris Apassingok struck the 57-foot-long bowhead.
ADN.COM

Top Ten Misconceptions About Sea Shepherd

  1.   http://www.maritime-executive.com/editorials/top-ten-misconceptions-about-sea-shepherd

    Sam SimonImages credit: Sea Shepherd

    By MarEx 2017-04-14 21:23:38

    MarEx spoke to Captain Paul Watson, Founder of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, to get his views on misconceptions about the organization.

    Is Sea Shepherd an eco-terrorist organization?

    No, none of us work for Monsanto. Seriously, since I established Sea Shepherd in 1977, we have not caused a single injury to a single person nor have we suffered a single injury to any of our crew. We don’t carry guns, and we operate within the boundaries of the law. None us have been convicted of a felony crime.

    We work in partnerships with government agencies like Mexico, Ecuador, Gabon, Italy and Liberia within their territorial waters. In International waters, we intervene against illegal activities in accordance with the United Nations World Charter for Nature that allows for intervention by NGO’s to uphold international conservation law.

    Is Sea Shepherd a protest organization?

    I established Sea Shepherd as an anti-poaching organization to intervene against illegal activities. We are not a protest organization. We investigate, document and directly intervene against illegal activities that exploit marine wildlife.

    Does Sea Shepherd comply with marine safety regulations?

    Sea Shepherd looks on marine safety as a priority in all our operations. We have an unblemished record for safety. Not one crewmember has been lost or seriously injured in 40 years. Every ship is equipped with more than adequate safety and fire fighting equipment and all crewmembers are subject to training and regular safety drills. On major campaigns like the Southern Ocean, the ships carry a medical officer with substantial medical resources.

    Sea Shepherd campaigns can be risky and I do insist that all crewmembers be aware of the risks that will be undertaken. When critics say we put our crew at risk, they are right, but our position is that risking our lives to defend endangered species or threatened habitat is an acceptable risk and far more noble than risking lives to defend oil wells, real estate, corporate interest and religion.

    Is Sea Shepherd a U.S. based organization?

    No, in fact Sea Shepherd is not actually an organization but rather a collective of numerous national entities, all registered independently within their own nations. Sea Shepherd is more of a movement with representation throughout Austral-Asia, North and South America, Europe and Africa.

    Sea Shepherd Global based in Amsterdam is the coordinating center for all Sea Shepherd entities except for Sea Shepherd USA, which is prohibited by the U.S. Federal Court from direct association with other Sea Shepherd entities that oppose illegal Japanese whaling in the Southern Ocean. The ships are registered in the Netherlands, the USA, Barbados and Australia.

    Why is Sea Shepherd so small compared to other organizations?

    After 40 years, we could have been a much larger organization like Greenpeace or Oceana. However, from the beginning we decided we would not be a fund raising bureaucracy. We do not spend large sums of donor money on fund-raising and promotion. We don’t hire people to stand on the streets to sign up members. We don’t spend money advertising.  We keep the administration to a minimum and the ships are 90 percent volunteers.

    Support comes from word of mouth, visits to the ships and from people watching Whale Wars or seeing our documentaries. We want people to know that when they donate to Sea Shepherd the money goes to ships and campaigns. Sea Shepherd believes that the passion of our volunteers accomplishes more than having an organization with a large bank account.

    Some members of the public believe we must have tens of millions of dollars to operate our ships and campaigns. The truth is we don’t. We operate 10 ships on a budget of less than five percent of the Greenpeace budget.

    Are Sea Shepherd ships manned with experienced and nautically trained professionals?

    Not in the traditional sense. Our ships are registered as yachts so we do not need to comply with strict manning regulations. Our crews are volunteers from all over the world from all walks of life. Back in 1911, Ernest Shackleton was criticized for not having a professional crew. He answered that he needed men of passion, not professionals.

    The fact is that I could not pay professionals enough to do what our volunteers do for little or no wages. We look for experienced deck and engine officers. If we can’t find an experienced engineer, we do hire one if need be. Our officers train the volunteers.

    We have had astrophysicists and math teachers serving as watch officers, we have had motorcycle and truck mechanics working in the engine room. We have had retired naval, coast guard and merchant officers.

    On major campaigns, we always carry a qualified medical doctor in addition to crew with EMT certification. It’s a balance between experienced and inexperienced crewmembers. All volunteers are vetted by a crewing director.

    Over forty years we have never lost a crewmember nor has any crewmember suffered a life-threatening injury. The ships hold monthly fire and safety drills or more if there is a change of crew.

    Is Sea Shepherd an animal rights organization?

    Some media describe Sea Shepherd as an animal rights organization. However, Sea Shepherd is not an animal rights organization. Sea Shepherd is a marine conservation organization specializing in anti-poaching activities. This misconception may be because all Sea Shepherd ships are 100 percent vegan vessels. They are vegan vessels for conservation and environmental reasons considering the ecological damage the meat and fishing industries are causing.

    Is Sea Shepherd a leftist movement, or is it a right-wing movement?

    The conservative call us liberal, the liberals call us conservatives. We are neither left nor right.  Sea Shepherd does not hold a political position on anything. We are not left nor right, we are in front. We are motivated only by conservation principles. Our clients are the marine species we defend.

    Does Sea Shepherd carry and use weapons?

    Despite accusations that we use firearms, we don’t. None of the ships have any guns onboard. Instead we the ships are armed with a far more powerful weapon – cameras.

    A favorite accusation from Sea Shepherd critics is that you are not qualified to be a Captain and therefore should not call myself a captain. Is that true?

    I find this accusation amusing, because it tends to come from week-end sailors or fishermen who rarely go out of sight of land. The truth is that I don’t hold a commercial ticket nor would I want to. Our ships are all registered as yachts, and I am qualified to be a yacht master.

    I was trained as a seaman with the Norwegian and Swedish Merchant marine, as a fireman with Canadian Pacific Steamships and I served in the Canadian Coast Guard on weather ships, buoy tenders and as a hovercraft rescue officer. I was first mate on all Greenpeace campaigns from 1971-1977.

    My qualifications have not been questioned or denied by any ports of call we have entered or cleared and my experience is deep-sea, ice navigation and trans-ocean including leading ten expeditions to the Southern Ocean and Antarctica. If I was not qualified I would not have been able to command our ships since 1978 until the present day.

    The opinions expressed herein are the author’s and not necessarily those of The Maritime Executive.

The Laws Of Ecology And The Survival Of The Human Species

08/05/2016 04:04 pm ET | Updated Aug 05, 2016

The Laws Of Ecology And The Survival Of The Human Species

I was raised in a small fishing village on the Passamaquoddy Bay in New Brunswick, Canada and I still vividly remember the way things were in the Fifties. The way things were then is not the way things are now.

I’m not talking about technological, industrial or scientific progress. I’m referring to the health and stability of eco-systems. What was once strong is now weak. What was once rich in diversity is now very much the poorer.

I have been blessed, or perhaps cursed, with the gift of near total recall. I see the images of the past as clearly as the days that were. As a result it has been difficult for me to adapt to diminishment. I see the shells on the beaches that are no longer there, the little crabs under the rocks, now gone, the schools of fishes, the pods of dolphins, the beaches free of plastic.

I began traveling the world in 1967 — hitch-hiking and riding the rails across Canada; joining the Norwegian merchant marine; crossing the Pacific and Indian Oceans; traveling through Japan, Iran, Mozambique and South Africa, working as a tour guide in Turkey and Syria, co-founding the Greenpeace Foundation in 1972 and, in 1977, founding the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.

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Sea Shepherd founder Paul Watson some forty years ago when he founded the non-profit.

Many things that I saw then no longer exist – or have been severely damaged, changed and diminished.

In the Sixties we did not buy water in plastic bottles. In the Sixties the word ‘sustainable ‘was never used in an ecological context, and except for Rachel Carson, there were very few with the vision to see into the future, where we were going, what we were doing.

But slowly, awareness crept into the psyche of more and more people. People began to understand what the word ecology meant. We saw the creation of Earth Day, and in 1972, the first global meeting on the environment in Stockholm, Sweden that I covered as a journalist.

Gradually, the insight into what were doing became more prevalent and to those who understood, the price to be paid was to be labeled radicals, militants, and a new word – eco-terrorist.

The real “crime” of eco-terrorism was not burning down a ski lodge, toppling a power line or spiking a tree. Such things are only outbursts of desperation and frustration. The real crime of eco-terrorism was having thought, perception, and imagination. In other words, the questioning of the modern economic, corporate and political paradigm.

The word eco-terrorism should be more accurately used for the destruction caused by progress like the Union Carbide disaster in Bhopal or the BP Deep Water Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

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Picture of an oil rig taken during Sea Shepherd’s Operation Toxic Gulf in 2014.

In the Seventies, the late Robert Hunter, along with Roberta Hunter, Dr. Patrick Moore, David Garrick, Rod Marining and myself observed and wrote down the three laws of ecology. What we realized was that these laws are the key to the survival of biodiversity on the planet and also the key to the survival of the human species. We realized that no species could survive outside of the three basic and imperative ecological laws.

The law of diversity: The strength of an eco-system is dependent upon the diversity of species within it.

The law of interdependence: All species are interdependent with each other.

The law of finite resources: There are limits to growth and limits to carrying capacity.

The increase of population in one species leads to the increase in consumption
of resources by that species. This leads to diminishment of diversity of other species, which in turn leads to diminishment of interdependence among species.

For example, increasing diminishment of phytoplankton populations in the sea is causing diminishment of many other species as well as a 40% diminishment in oxygen production since 1950. Diminishment of whale populations has contributed to the diminishment of phytoplankton populations because whale feces are a major source of nutrients (esp. iron and nitrogen) for phytoplankton.

The planet simply cannot tolerate 7.5 billion (and growing) primarily meat and fish eating necrovores. The killing of 65 billion domestic animals each year is contributing more greenhouse gases to the planet than the entire transportation industry. The industrial stripping of life from the sea is causing unprecedented biodiversity collapse in marine eco-systems.

Ecological systems globally are collapsing from coral reefs to rainforests because humanity is exploiting resources far beyond the capacity of eco-systems to create and renew natural resources.

Diminishment of eco-systems is also leading to the breakdown of human social structures causing global conflict in the form of wars and domestic violence. Terrorism is not the cause of society’s problems, it is merely a symptom.

Humans are compromised by medieval paradigms like territorial dominance, hierarchical desires and superstitious beliefs combined with primitive primate behavior like greed and fear.

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Sea Shepherd’s 2010 Faeroe Islands Dolphin Defense Campaign: Operation Grindstop. Photo credit: Sea Shepherd /Sofia Jonsson

The fishing village that I lived in as a child is no longer a fishing village. The relative innocence of our lives as children of the Fifties and Sixties is no more. The African bush, the Arctic tundra, the marine reserve of the Galapagos Islands, the Great Barrier Reef, the Amazonian rainforests that I once traveled through are no longer what they recently were.

Humans have this amazing ability to adapt to diminishment. It’s a trait that was exceptionally useful when we lived as hunter-gatherers. We adapted to food shortages, to changes in the weather and to the world as it evolved around us. Today we are trying to adapt to the destruction brought on by ourselves and that adaption is taking the form of more and more control by governments and corporations and a blind reliance on corporate technologies.

We no longer have the empathy we once felt. I vividly remember the events of October 23rd, 1958. I was seven years old on the day of the Springhill Mine Disaster in Nova Scotia. 75 men died and 99 were rescue. I remember crying for the fate of people I did not know and feeling excited every time a miner was brought to the surface alive. I no longer have that capacity. Perhaps I lost it when I became an adult, or perhaps society no longer has room for such emotions.

Disaster happened and we grieved for people we did not know. A few weeks ago nearly 100 people were viciously murdered within a few kilometres of where I live when a deranged man mowed them down with a large truck in Nice, France. Last week, a priest was beheaded in France. Every week brings us more stories about mass killings in the Middle East, Africa, America etc. It’s a worldwide pain-fest of chaos and violence and yet it is met with complacency for the most part and a predictable Facebook posting of — “say a prayer for Paris, or Orlando, or Nice, or Beirut, or Istanbul” in a litany of self-indulgent adaptation to tragedy, before being quickly forgotten.

This is not the world of my childhood. We remembered the horrors of World War II with real emotion. I remember talking with both World War I and World War II veterans and feeling their pain. Today it’s just another short-term item on the news, in a world that seeks to escape through movies, celebrities, video games and increasingly more fanatical religious fervor.

Here is the reality. As human populations increase, the consumption of resources increases with it. But because resources are finite and the rate of renewables is overcome by demand, this can only lead to one result — the collapse of resource availability.

And because we are literally stealing resources from other species, this will lead to
diminishment of species and habitats, which will contribute to even more resource diminishment.

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Sea Shepherd’s 2008 Seal Defense Campaign photographs the murder and carcass dragging of a seal. Photo credit: Sea Shepherd / Greg Hager

At COP 21, I called for an end to worldwide government subsidies for industrialized fishing and at least a 50-year moratorium on commercial industrialized fishing. That solution was not given a moment’s thought at a conference that did not even take into account the imperative role of the Ocean in addressing climate change.

My opinion of COP 21 is that governments were not looking for solutions. They were looking for the appearance of solutions. They certainly did not want to hear about solutions from people like me. They want solutions that are accompanied by jobs and profit. The one thing they do not want is any form of economic sacrifice.

I also do not believe that the majority of humanity — certainly not the leadership — understand the true gravity of the situation. There are six viewpoints concerning climate change: 1. Denial 2. Acceptance, with the view of it being a positive development. 3. Acceptance with the belief that science and technology will save the day. 4. Acceptance, but refusal to fully appreciate the consequences. 5. Apathy. 6. Acceptance with the resolve to find real solutions.

Those who are in denial have vested self interests in doing so, motivated primarily by greed or ignorance. My old Greenpeace colleague Patrick Moore sees climate change as an opportunity for longer growing seasons and better weather. (He lives in Canada and I don’t think he’s really thought it through.) Others like Elon Musk see our salvation in science, in moving off-world or developing artificial eco-systems on Earth. Most responsible world leaders recognize the problem but are too politically-impotent to address it with realistic solutions because those solutions would not be politically popular. And as with everything, the majority of the world is apathetic and too self-absorbed with entertaining themselves (developed world) or surviving (underdeveloped world).

On this path we are on now, the future is somewhat predictable. More resource wars, more poverty, more accumulation of wealth by the minority of privileged people, more disease, more civil strife and with the collapse of biodiversity – global mass starvation, and pestilence.

The rich tapestry of all our cultures and all our achievements in science and the arts hangs by threads linked to biodiversity.

If the bees are diminished, our crops are diminished. If the forests are diminished, we are diminished. If phytoplankton dies, we die! If the grasses die, we die!

We exist because of the geo-engineering contributions of millions of diverse species that keep our life support systems running. From bacteria to whales, from algae to the redwoods. If we undermine the foundations of this planetary life-support system, all that we have ever created will fall. We will be no more.

We made the mistake of declaring war on nature, and because of our technologies it looks like we are going to win this war. But because we are a part of nature, we will destroy ourselves in the process. Our enemy is ourselves and we are slowly becoming aware of that indisputable fact. We are destroying ourselves in a fruitless effort to save the image of what we believe ourselves to be.

In this war, we are slaughtering — through direct or indirect exploitation — millions of species and reducing their numbers to dangerously low levels while at the same time increasing human numbers to dangerously high levels.

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Dolphin offal and intestines photographed during the 2011-12 Taiji Dolphin Defense Campaign. Photo credit: Sea Shepherd / Christoph Heylen

We are fighting this war against nature with chemicals, industrialized equipment, ever increasing extraction technologies (like fracking) and repression against any and all voices that rise up in dissent.

In our wake over the past two centuries we have left a trail of billions of bodies. We have tortured, slain, abused and wasted so many lives, obliterated entire species; and reduced rich diverse eco-systems to lifeless wastelands as we polluted the seas, the air and the soil with chemicals, heavy metals, plastic, radiation and industrialized farm sewage.

We were once horrified by the possibility of a Chernobyl or a Fukushima. But the accidents happened and we adapted and accepted. Now we are complacent.

In the process we are becoming sociopathic as a species. We are losing the ability to express empathy and compassion. We idolize soldiers, hunters, and resource developers without giving a thought to their victims. We revel in violent fantasies hailing two-dimensional fantasy killers as heroes. We have become increasingly more Darwinian in our outlook that the weak (other species) must perish so that the strong (ourselves) may survive. We forget that Darwinism recognizes the laws of ecology and we cannot pick and choose when it comes to the laws of nature. In the end nature controls us, we do not control nature.

The consequences of our actions are not going to happen centuries from now. They are going to happen within this century. Oceanic ecosystems are collapsing — now! The planet is getting warmer — now! Phytoplankton is being diminished — now!

To be blunt — the planet is dying now, and we are killing it!

From what I have experienced and from what I see there is only one thing that can prevent us from falling victim to the consequences of ignoring the laws of ecology.

We must shake off the anthropocentric mindset and embrace a biocentric understanding of the natural world. We can do this because we have wonderful teachers in indigenous communities worldwide who have lived biocentric lifestyles for thousands of years just as our species all once did. We need to learn to live in harmony with other species.

We need to establish a moratorium on industrialized fishing, logging and farming.

We need to stop producing goods that have no intrinsic value — all the useless plastic baubles for entertainment and self-indulgence. We need to stop mass-producing plastic that is choking our global seas. We need to stop injecting poisons into the soil and dumping toxins into the sea. We need to abolish cultural practices that destroy life for the sole purpose of entertaining ourselves.

Of course it won’t be easy but do we really want the epitaph for our species to be, “Well we needed the jobs?”

Without ecology there is no economy.

I am not a pessimist and I’ve never been prone to pessimistic thoughts. There are solutions. We see people of compassion, imagination and courage around us working to make this a better world — devoting themselves to protecting species and habitats; finding organic agricultural alternatives; and developing more eco-friendly forms of energy production. Innovators, thinkers, activists, artists, leaders and educators — these people are among us and their numbers are growing.

It is often said that the problems are overwhelming and the solutions are impossible. I don’t buy this. The solution to an impossible problem is to find an impossible solution.

It can be done. In 1972, the very idea that Nelson Mandela would one day be President of South Africa was unthinkable and impossible — yet the impossible became possible.

It’s never easy but it is possible and possibilities are achieved through courage, imagination, passion and love.

I learned from the Mohawks years ago that we must live our lives by taking into account the consequences of our every action on all future generations of all species.

If we love our children and grandchildren we must recognize that their world will not be our world. Their world will be greatly diminished and unrecognizable from the world of our childhoods. Each and every child born in the 21st Century is facing challenges that no human being has ever faced in the entire history of our species:

Emerging pathogens from the permafrost. (Just this summer, an anthrax virus from a recently thawed reindeer carcass broke out killing 1,500 reindeer and hospitalizing 13 people in Russia.) Eruptions of methane opening huge craters in the earth in Siberia, mass-accelerated extinction of plants and animals, pollution, wars and more wars, irrational violence in the form of individual, religious and state terrorism, the collapse of entire eco-systems.

This is not doom and gloom fear mongering. It is simply a realistic observation of the consequences of our deliberately ignoring of the laws of ecology. I call it the Cassandra Principle.

Cassandra was the prophetess of ancient Troy whose curse was the ability to see the future and to have everyone dismiss her prophecies. No one listened to her, instead they ridiculed her. Yet she was right. All that she predicted came to pass and Troy was destroyed.

Years ago I had a critic in the media label me as a doom and gloom Cassandra. I replied, “Maybe, but don’t forget one thing. Cassandra was right.”

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Sea Shepherd’s Galapagos Director Sean O’Hearn-Gimenez on a shark finning arrest operation om 2007.

And over the years I have made predictions (that were ridiculed and dismissed) that have come true. In 1982 I publicly predicted the collapse of the North Atlantic Cod fishery. It happened a decade later. In 1978 I predicted the destruction of one half of the African elephant population in Defenders magazine. I was wrong. Some two thirds of the population have been destroyed. In 1984, I predicted ecological destruction by salmon farms including the spreading of viruses to wild salmon populations. Every prediction was based on observation with reference to the laws of ecology and every prediction was dismissed.

Nothing has changed. Today I am predicting the death of worldwide coral reef eco-systems by 2025, the total collapse of worldwide commercial fishing operations by 2030; and the emergence of more virulent viral diseases in the coming decades. It does not take any exceptional foresight to predict that war will be the major business of the next half-century, as well as the rise of more authoritarian governments.

Recently my old friend Rod Marining, also a co-founder of Greenpeace, said to me: “The transformation of human consciousness on a mass scale can not happen, unless there are two factors. First, a huge mass visual death threat to survival of our species, and two, the threat of the loss of a people’s jobs or their values. Once theses two factors are in place humans begin to transform their thinking over night.”

I have seen the future written in the patterns of our behavior, and it is not a pleasant future, in fact it is not much of a future at all.

The four horses have arrived. As death sits astride the pale horse, the other three horses of pestilence, famine and war and terrorism are stampeding at full gallop toward us while our backs are turned away from them. And when they trample us, we may look up from our latest entertainment triviality to see ourselves in the dust of the ecological apocalypse.

I also see the possibility of salvation. By listening to the words and observing the actions of indigenous people. By looking into the eyes of our children. By stepping outside the circle of anthropocentrism. By understanding that we are part of the Continuum. By refusing to participate in the anthropocentric illusion. By embracing biocentrism and fully understanding the laws of ecology, and the fact that these laws cannot — must not — be ignored if we wish to survive.

We’re Still Asleep and We May Never Wake Up

Commentary by Captain Paul Watson

How many more wake-up calls do we need before the human race actually wakes up if we ever do?

A thousand kilometres of Australian coastal mangrove forests have died and once again we hear another expert say it’s a ‘wake-up call for humanity.’

“The Gulf dieback has been a wake-up call for action on shoreline monitoring,” says Dr. Norman Duke, head of the Mangrove Research hub at James Cook University.

The ice has disappeared from the Gulf of St. Lawrence – another wake-up call for humanity.

Fukushima, mass fish die-offs in Chile, whales dying with stomachs full of plastic, groundwater diminishment, major droughts, superstorms, a 40% diminishment in phytoplankton populations, on and on and on it goes, one bloody ‘wake-up’ call after another and yet we don’t wake up.

We’re wide awake if Kim what’s her name gets robbed in Paris. We’re wide awake when Angelina and Brad file for divorce. We’re wide awake when some celebrity has a ‘wardrobe malfunction’.

Yet when any news bulletin is issued about how our very life support systems are collapsing, we as a species are comatose.

What is it going to take? One more major nuclear meltdown, or two or three more? Or maybe another major fishery collapse? Perhaps a super, super storm?

Dr. Duke added, “The mangrove wipeout could have multiple impacts, including the loss of fisheries worth hundreds of millions of dollars, more coastal erosion because of the loss of forest protection, and poorer water quality given the filtering role the trees play”

Some attention will be given to that statement I’m sure the reaction being, “what a loss of hundreds of millions of dollars?” And the reaction will be, “let’s catch more fish soon before they’re all gone.”

I mean you can’t shut down progress but the rub is this, progress can shut down the human species.

If the Mangrove forests are diminished, we are diminished, if the Ocean dies, we die!

The hands of the Doomsday clock move closer to human extinction every year. It is now 2.5 minutes to midnight and it has not been this close for 64 years when the Soviet U.S. nuclear arms race and the cold war had the world in a grip of fear.

Today it seems nobody actually cares enough to be afraid,

The circuses keep pitching their tents electronically, keeping us happily distracted from a world that is sliding towards disaster.

Now we have conspiracy cameras in microwave units to distract us from a government that absolutely denies there is a climate change problem.

Religion, sports, fantasies, politics, non-reality TV, celebrities, petty scandals, and an endless stream of circuses to keep us from thinking, to keep us from caring, to keep us from acting and to keep us in our place as mindless consumers marching like lemmings towards a future that is rapidly fading into it’s never going to happen, the real ‘end of days,’ and the demise of the human race due to extreme ecological stupidity.

Really, a new Zombie apocalypse movie? Cool!

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The unprecedented death of Australia’s northern mangrove forests has been put down to a lack of water.
SMH.COM.AU|BY PETER HANNAM

Toronto filmmaker Rob Stewart was an aquatic guardian angel for the “demons” of the deep

 

by PAUL WATSON
Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Saturday, Feb. 04, 2017 6:17PM EST
Last updated Saturday, Feb. 04, 2017 6:44PM EST

At the age of 22, Robert Stewart was a young and energetic man who understood that the most powerful weapon in the world is the camera, and armed with a camera he set out in the year 2002 to change the world.

He succeeded.

With his award winning film Sharkwater he actually did change the world. He transformed fearsome monsters into beautifully awesome creatures, deserving of both respect and empathy.

Rob was a man passionate about sharks. He saw them as beautiful sentient beings whose existence contributes to a healthy oceanic eco-system. He set out to prove that his intuitive perception about the true nature of sharks was real, and he did just that.

When Rob boarded my Canadian flagged ship the Ocean Warrior we explored the once shark-abundant waters around Costa Rica’s Cocos Island and the enchanted islands of the Galapagos.

Despite the obstacles, together we found the sharks and together we found trouble with frequent confrontations with shark-finning poachers. Together we were arrested for our interventions for filming crimes in a nation where such crimes are ignored and even protected by the authorities and where a camera is considered as something subversive.

His images contrasted the beauty of sharks within their element against the ugly images of the horror of their living finless bodies tossed overboard, drifting helplessly to the bottom of the sea to die slowly, their shocked eyes open, allowing us, for a moment, to glimpse their pain as the spark of life was slowly extinguished.
Rob once told me that he understood that his work was dangerous but that the least of those dangers was being killed by a shark. He was literally a shark hugger and the image of him with his arms around a large shark, his hand affectionately stroking what most people considered a fearsome creature, was revolutionary and enlightening.

The man knew sharks. He understood their importance and his confidence with his views about sharks allowed him to approach and film some of the most amazing images ever captured about these spectacular apex predators.

In addition to being a marine biologist, Rob Stewart had the four most important virtues needed to be a world class expert on sharks and the reality of our relationship with the living diversity within oceanic eco-system.

These virtues are passion, empathy, courage and imagination. He had the courage to follow his passion with a remarkable empathy for his subject and the imagination to transform the focus of his work through the media of film in a way that changed the perception of sharks to tens of millions of people around the planet.

Rob died doing what he loved. He took chances. Three deep dives in one day using a rebreather was dangerous and he knew it was dangerous. These device,s even in the hands of a professional diver like Rob, are unpredictable. Some people have asked why he was using a rebreather. The answer is that it allowed him to stay down long and because it does not produce bubbles, allowing him to get closer to the sharks,, which are animals that are easily spooked by bubbles. It allowed him to be like one of his subjects rather than a suspicious invader from another world.

Speaking with Rob and looking into his eyes revealed a deep sadness at what our species has done to the sharks. We slaughter tens of millions of them every year to the point that many shark species hover on the brink of extinction and that is why the film he had been working on is called Sharkwater Extinction.

Rob was an incredible educator in the spirit of Captain Jacques Cousteau. He brought the aquatic realm onto land and confronted us with the reality of the true nature of sharks. That in itself was heroic, even more so than his extraordinary feats of underwater documentation. It was heroic because he was championing a creature that has for centuries inspired fear and loathing. As a filmmaker, he was the antithesis of Stephen Spielberg and Sharkwater was the Anti Jaws.

It was my privilege to stand with Rob to present Sharkwater at the Toronto Film Festival. It was my privilege to dive with him in the Galapagos and at Cocos Island.

Rob pioneered a new and intimate approach to documenting sharks and I believe he inspired other courageous film makers like Michael Muller (White Mike) and Madison Stewart (Shark Girl). He laid the groundwork for both film makers and conservationists.

Most importantly he has left a legacy.

He will be greatly missed, by his family and friends, by his fellow Canadians and by caring and dedicated people around the world who will never forget his work, his courage, his talent, his resolve, his imagination and his awesome passion for life, beauty and truth.
Paul Watson is a marine wildlife conservationist, environmental activist and founder of the the anti-poaching proup the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.

With his award winning film Sharkwater he actually did change the world. He transformed fearsome…
THEGLOBEANDMAIL.COM

Why Fighting Donald Trump On Climate Change Is A Waste

MIKE SEGAR / REUTERS

Before everyone gets overly upset about Donald Trump and climate change consider this one thing: Donald Trump’s denial of climate change is irrelevant.

Climate change is a scientific reality and the denial of climate change as a problem does not make the threat go away. The reality cannot be changed by the personal beliefs of the President of the United States. This is akin to King Canute demanding that the tide cease to rise. When he failed to force the Ocean to his will, he proclaimed, “let all men know how empty and worthless is the power of kings.”

Presidents, like kings, have no authority over Nature.

And when you really think about, just what is the difference between a president that denies climate change and a Prime Minister who acknowledges it, yet acts as if he is denying it?

It is of course the politically correct thing to acknowledge climate change as a reality but none of these world leaders are actually doing the ecologically correct thing and doing something about it.

Greenpeace sent me, and thousands of others, a message yesterday. They see Trump as an opportunity to raise funds. This was the Greenpeace message:

This week, so many people have reached out about how they can help — and there are many ways you can get involved, but one of the most direct ways for us to prepare for the threats to our climate, communities, and planet is by making a donation to Greenpeace today. The road ahead will not be easy. Trump’s upcoming presidency poses a direct and real danger to our climate, our environment, and our democracy. But, Greenpeace is not going anywhere. We’re not giving up — and we are ready for this fight.

Today I received this message from the Environmental Defense Fund:

Everything that we’ve fought so hard to accomplish in the past eight years is under attack, and we must not waste any time fighting back. Join the fight to protect our environmental legacy by making your first online gift to EDF this weekend.

Also today, there was a message from the Sierra Club:

The next four years will be decided by how hard we fight right now. We are launching an emergency campaign to stop Trump’s efforts to derail everything we’ve achieved. Monthly giving is the best way to support our fight. Become a Wilderness Guardian today.

I’m not sure how making contributions to Greenpeace, the Sierra Club and EDF is going to stop Trump. Not much was accomplished over the last eight years outside of promises on paper and some nice speeches by some politicians.

What will people receive in return for their donations? Certainly not any influence over Trump or the Republican Congress.

My question is this. Just how is President-elect Donald Trump any different than Prime Minister Justin Trudeau?

There is this myth that Trudeau is doing something to address climate change. He’s not. His energy policies are not much different than former Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Trudeau has not stopped development and extraction in the Tar Sands, he’s pro-pipeline, pro West Coast tanker traffic and pretty much pro anything that is going to profit the energy corporations. He even denied that the devastating fires earlier this year in Alberta were linked to climate change and chastised Canadian Green Party leader Elizabeth May for suggesting that it was.

But at COP 21 he said he was going to take real action on climate change…. like someday — maybe, or maybe not.

What has the U.S. under Obama done? I mean really! Trump will not diminish the Obama, Bush and Clinton efforts. He would actually have to try hard to do less than they did.

I very vividly remember that it was Al Gore who refused to sign the Kyoto Accord and I also remember everyone in Canada and Australia giving the Americans hell for not signing that accord, yet the Canadians and the Australians were creating more greenhouse gas emissions per capita than the Americans at the time and continued to do so.

So it seems that signing a climate change agreement is more important than actually doing something about the problem and acknowledging climate change and doing nothing about it appears to be more significant than denying it and doing nothing about it.

Many people will now throw their energies into fighting Trump on this issue and this will make leaders like Turnbull in Australia and Trudeau in Canada look relatively good while they do nothing more substantial than Trump in reality.

We humans do love our illusions.

Fighting Trump on this issue will also serve to send a message to all those who voted for him that he’s their man. Making the Libs, the Greenies and the Lefties angry is something that will endear him even more in their minds. They want him to be seen as the climate change denying hero. Instead we need to ignore him because climate change deniers are irrelevant to reality. By challenging the deniers, we validate them, we engage them and thus they are taken even more seriously.

“Climate change deniers are irrelevant to reality.” – Captain Paul Watson

Donald Trump is not really a stupid man, although he plays the role quite well. He knows damn well that climate change is real but he needs to tell his base what they want to hear and challenging him on this helps him to send that message even stronger.

Trump is not a scientist and therefore does not need to score any points with science. He is a politician wooing people who he knew wanted to hear the message that climate change is a hoax and, as is his way, he embellished it with a silly explanation that the Chinese created it. Does he really believe that? Of course not, but he wanted the people who want to hear him deny climate change to think that he does. It’s called politics, also known as the ‘art of the possible’.

Confronting Trump on climate change achieves less traction than ignoring him. Saying he is a dunce with the science does not hurt him, in fact it only makes him stronger with his base and his base has demonstrated that science pulls very little weight when it comes to their self interested priorities.

What he and his climate change denying constituents will not be able to ignore is when Mother Nature continues to slap them in the face harder and harder than the year before. They can only ignore super-storms, floods, drought, rising sea levels, devastating fires, etc., for so long until the realization that something is not quite right sinks through their hard skulls into that area of their brain that can comprehend consequences

Trying to get a politician, any politician, to actually withdraw from energy addiction is akin to trying to get a hardcore junkie to lay off the needle.

The Greenpeace, Sierra Club and EDF message state that Trump poses a direct and real danger to our climate, our environment, and our democracy.

But does he? The threats to our climate, our environment and our democracy have been the same threats for decades, well before Trump. He did not just jump out of the bushes to scare us with these threats. Are the Native Americans at Standing Rock being pepper sprayed and beaten because of Trump? Did the Deepwater Horizon disaster happen because of Trump? And what could be a greater threat to our environment than BP’s disaster in the Gulf and the fact that they were never really punished. If I deliberately or even accidentally poured just one barrel of oil into the harbor I would be in jail. This double standard is not Trump’s creation.

I think the oligarchs would love nothing better than to scapegoat Donald Trump for their sins. He is, after all, a loose cannon in their eyes. They would much rather replace him and most likely they will. Mike Pence would be a better fit for them and they know it. Not as good as Hillary Clinton, but more manageable than Trump.

These COP conferences are accomplishing absolutely nothing but talk, talk, talk and more freaking talk. We’re up to COP 22 now with this recent meeting in Morocco and without the charisma and energy of a Nichola Hulot with COP 21, hardly anyone has even heard of COP 22.

How many COP’S will there be before anything substantial is actually done. COP 33? COP 57? These charades are simply cop-outs from action.

Not one of these COP gab-fests has shut down a single coal fired generating plant or a single pipeline. Not one.

The only thing that excites any government appears to be the possibility of imposing a tax. Politicians love taxes and carbon taxes are just another scam to secure tax dollars. Carbon trading is yet another scam.

“The threats to our climate, our environment and our democracy have been the same threats for decades, well before Trump.” – Captain Paul Watson

There is not a single nation that is undertaking the effort to realistically and effectively address climate change.

Is anyone shutting down fracking, drilling, open pit mining, deep water exploration? No. Is there a single nation cutting subsidies to energy companies or to the destructive fishing industries? No. Will we stop slaughtering 65 billion animals a year to reduce a carbon footprint that is even greater than that of transportation? Hell no, “I like my hamburger” is the answer.

Is there a single world leader ready to make economic sacrifices for the environment? Absolutely not.

“Oh but….,” say my critics, “there are great educational programs underway.” How’s that working? Not that great?

Some want us to waste our energies battling Trump The climate change Denier as if that’s going to accomplish anything. It won’t. When will we stop reacting to the circuses so we can actually focus on taking the initiative?

My point is that Donald Trump simply is no worse and no better than all the rest of these so-called leaders whose agenda is to serve the corporations and to enrich themselves.

He won’t do much but he will most likely do just as much meaning very little as Trudeau, Turnbull and May have done, or will do.

The North American Free Trade Deal happened under Clinton. The Trans-Pacific Trade Deal was an Obama goal. Trump is against it. Fracking was initiated and supported by Obama and Clinton. The embarrassment of the Dakota Access Pipeline is happening under the Obama administration.

Would Hillary Clinton have stopped it if elected? Would she actually do a damn thing to address climate change if she had won? The evidence indicates that she would have done everything to maintain the status quo which has brought all these problems to us and will present much greater problems in the near future.

I did not vote for Trump but I’m not going to pretend that on this issue, i.e. climate change, anyone else would mean anything different.

I can see fighting Trump on women’s issues, LGBT+ issues, immigration issues and many more important social issues. I will support any such efforts with both passion and action BUT I have no intention of fighting Trump on climate change. To do so would simply be a distraction away from the fact that not one goddamn world leader is actually doing anything at all to address the problem. I have no intention of contributing to making them all look good compared to Trump.

Because when it comes to climate change Trump is on par with Trudeau, Turnbull, May, Hollande, Abe, Putin, and the leaders of China, Brazil, Mexico and everyone else meaning that they all are pursuing agendas that are contrary to the reality of climate change.

So where do we look for answers?

People of passion, of imagination, courage and commitment. People like Elon Musk, Gildo Pastor, Leonardo DiCaprio, James Cameron, Ethan Brown, Cyrill Gutch, John Paul DiJoria, Chief Raoni, Dale Vince, Naomi Klein, Jasmine Thomas, Wangari Maathai and so many others.

Individual passion. Individual imagination. Individual initiative. Individual courage. These are the keys to our survival.

Depending on a politician to solve any of these problems is like depending on an oil executive to promote solar energy. It is simply not in their interest or as Bill Clinton once put it, “It’s the economy stupid.”

That is a fact. Politicians serve the economy. They do not serve the Environment. It’s like asking a high school history teacher to teach advanced math. They won’t do it because they can’t do it.

We need to look beyond the limited horizons of elected officials because the answers are to be found well beyond their restricted and blinkered worldview.

To paraphrase Matthew in Matthew 22:21 “Render to the Donald the things that are the Donald’s.”

Climate change is not one of his things and never will be. It is our thing, those of us who understand the consequences and thus it is our responsibility to explore and invent alternatives and to fight the technologies, not the hired mouthpieces of these destructive technologies.

A Tale of Two Ridiculously Unpopular Candidates

by Paul Watson

Hillary Clinton does not understand the political systems in Scandinavian countries. She was quoted saying the following about Bernie Sanders supporters.

“They think they can have free college, free healthcare, that what we’ve done hasn’t gone far enough, and that we just need to, you know, go as far as, you know, Scandinavia, whatever that means, and half the people don’t know what that means, but it’s something that they deeply feel.”

Perhaps a trip to some Scandinavian nations may enlighten her as to how this system that she does not understand, actually works.

A nation that invests in education is a nation that benefits from education. A nation that provides healthcare is a humane nation. Scandinavian countries have a higher level of education, better health and less crime than the United States.

The U.S. invests in war and empire building.

Why is it okay for the Pentagon to have an unlimited expense account but kids with the abilities cannot receive a proper education. For the money the United States gives to Israel each year every young American could get a good education. Hillary supports hand-outs to Israel to benefit the Israeli army, Israeli schools and hospitals but does not support students and hospital patients in our own country.

One of the reasons that Trump is so popular can be attributed to the the low level of general education in America. He is against funding NATO and the military forces of foreign countries.

Scandinavian nations like most European nations are more democratic. They give more than two choices and people can actually vote for people who represent their own political and social views. Of course there are negatives like barbaric Norwegian and Danish whaling but we can’t have everything I suppose.

I do not believe that a vote for a third party is a vote for Trump. I vote for the person who best represents my values and my political position. That ain’t Trump nor is it Clinton.

I asked myself, would I vote for fracking? Would I vote for Monsanto? Would I vote for war? Would I vote for Big Oil, Big Pharma, Big Banks etc? Would I vote for someone who does not support indigenous rights, does not support veterans, who only pays lip service to conservation, to climate change and to environmental issues?

No, I would not vote for any of these things so why would I vote by proxy for any of them, in fact for all of them, by voting for Hillary Clinton?

I do not vote for the lesser of two evils. I’m a historian. The lesser of two evils is still evil. Hitler was actually the lesser of two evils. It would have been much more dangerous and much worst if Ernest Röhm had prevailed over Hitler. So I suppose that in that case there is something to be said for the lesser of two evils although of little comfort to the millions who died because of Hitler.

Trump has not killed anyone yet that we know of. Clinton has contributed to the death of hundreds of thousands of innocent people.

I voted for and contributed funds to Bernie Sanders but I will not vote for who Bernie Sanders tells me to vote for and especially for the woman who cheated him of his rightful victory.

The only reason Hillary Clinton even has a shot at winning the Presidency is because of Trump. The Republicans could have run Romney or even Jeb Bush and they would have beaten her.

I am not a millenial. I have lived and spent time in Scandinavian countries and therefore I know exactly how the system works in Scandinavia and it sure as hell works better than in America. Why would I vote for a politician who claims to not understand what Scandinavian socialism is all about.

Yes Trump is a liar but most politicians are liars. Clinton is also a liar. Trump’s support comes from a mass disenchantment with the American political establishment. He has already succeeded in destroying the Republican Party and Hillary Clinton with her logo of an arrow pointing to the right has taken over the Republican establishment. Even George W. Bush is going to vote for her. The Democrats no longer exist in the traditional sense – they have morphed to the far right and the Republicans have morphed towards the insanely far right.

Perhaps Washington deserves Donald Trump. He’s one big slap in the arrogant face of the establishment politicians. His supporters may not have any idea what he represents or what he wants to do (even he does not know what he actually stands for) but what they do know is he will shake up a system that needs shaking up. He certainly won’t make good on all his ridiculous promises. There won’t be a wall and he won’t be allowed to remove the 1st amendment. I’m sure he will make such an ass of himself that he may be quickly impeached. He won’t go to war with Russia but Hillary may do so and that makes her the most dangerous of the two.

I won’t be voting for either one of these candidates. That’s like having to choose between cholera and yellow fever. Not that it matters. I live in Vermont although I have been surprised at the number of Trump lawn signs I’ve seen in both Vermont and New Hampshire which is somewhat alarming.

Come November I will go to the voting station to “throw away” my vote to a third party candidate with the knowledge that if everyone had the courage to vote for what they actually believed in, we could actually have a decent President.

Voting for a third party takes not only courage but also imagination and vision. Unfortunately most American have capitulated to the undemocratic two party system and that does nothing but entrench the oligarchs where they wish to be and obligates the majority to actually vote against their principles and their conscience.

So when people say that if Trump wins it will be because I did not vote for Clinton, I can just as easily say that a Trump win would also be because they did not vote for a third party candidate.

Defending Wild Salmon from Greed and Ecological Ignorance

From Captain Paul Watson:

Sea Shepherd’s Operation Virus Hunter is focusing international attention on the health of wild salmon populations on the West coast of Canada and the threat of viruses and parasites from domestic salmon farms.

If the wild salmon disappear, the Orcas will not survive. If the wild salmon disappear, the culture of West Coast First Nations will be seriously damaged. If the wild salmon disappear, bears and eagles and many other species will also disappear.

What the Norwegian salmon farm industry has done is to introduce and exotic non-native species – the Atlantic salmon into an eco-system it does not belong. They then concentrated these fish in captive pens where they breed parasites and develop viral infections. The industry counters this with antibiotics but the viruses persist and the wild salmon have no defenses against viruses or parasites.

Salmon should not be confined to concentration camps. Wild fish populations should not be wiped out to feed the captive inmates. The diseases and parasites from the captive inmates should not be allowed to infect wild salmon populations.

DFO should be doing their job and not allowing the salmon farms to police themselves.

Sea Shepherd stands behind Dr. Alexandra Morton and the majority of the First Nations on the West Coast in opposing the ecological destructions being caused by these floating virus and fish fecal factories.

B.C.-based biologist Alexandra Morton was elbow-to-elbow with Pamela Anderson of Baywatch fame and environmentalist and broadcaster David Suzuki for the…
vancouversun.com

The Laws Of Ecology And The Survival Of The Human Species

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/paul-watson/the-laws-of-ecology-and-t_b_11324490.html

08/05/2016

by Captain Paul Watson Founder of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

I was raised in a small fishing village on the Passamaquoddy Bay in New Brunswick, Canada and I still vividly remember the way things were in the Fifties. The way things were then is not the way things are now.

I’m not talking about technological, industrial or scientific progress. I’m referring to the health and stability of eco-systems. What was once strong is now weak. What was once rich in diversity is now very much the poorer.

I have been blessed, or perhaps cursed, with the gift of near total recall. I see the images of the past as clearly as the days that were. As a result it has been difficult for me to adapt to diminishment. I see the shells on the beaches that are no longer there, the little crabs under the rocks, now gone, the schools of fishes, the pods of dolphins, the beaches free of plastic.

I began traveling the world in 1967 — hitch-hiking and riding the rails across Canada; joining the Norwegian merchant marine; crossing the Pacific and Indian Oceans; traveling through Japan, Iran, Mozambique and South Africa, working as a tour guide in Turkey and Syria, co-founding the Greenpeace Foundation in 1972 and, in 1977, founding the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.

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Sea Shepherd founder Paul Watson some forty years ago when he founded the non-profit.

Many things that I saw then no longer exist – or have been severely damaged, changed and diminished.

In the Sixties we did not buy water in plastic bottles. In the Sixties the word ‘sustainable ‘was never used in an ecological context, and except for Rachel Carson, there were very few with the vision to see into the future, where we were going, what we were doing.

But slowly, awareness crept into the psyche of more and more people. People began to understand what the word ecology meant. We saw the creation of Earth Day, and in 1972, the first global meeting on the environment in Stockholm, Sweden that I covered as a journalist.

Gradually, the insight into what were doing became more prevalent and to those who understood, the price to be paid was to be labeled radicals, militants, and a new word – eco-terrorist.

The real “crime” of eco-terrorism was not burning down a ski lodge, toppling a power line or spiking a tree. Such things are only outbursts of desperation and frustration. The real crime of eco-terrorism was having thought, perception, and imagination. In other words, the questioning of the modern economic, corporate and political paradigm.

The word eco-terrorism should be more accurately used for the destruction caused by progress like the Union Carbide disaster in Bhopal or the BP Deep Water Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

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Picture of an oil rig taken during Sea Shepherd’s Operation Toxic Gulf in 2014.

In the Seventies, the late Robert Hunter, along with Roberta Hunter, Dr. Patrick Moore, David Garrick, Rod Marining and myself observed and wrote down the three laws of ecology. What we realized was that these laws are the key to the survival of biodiversity on the planet and also the key to the survival of the human species. We realized that no species could survive outside of the three basic and imperative ecological laws.

The law of diversity: The strength of an eco-system is dependent upon the diversity of species within it.

The law of interdependence: All species are interdependent with each other.

The law of finite resources: There are limits to growth and limits to carrying capacity.

The increase of population in one species leads to the increase in consumption
of resources by that species. This leads to diminishment of diversity of other species, which in turn leads to diminishment of interdependence among species.

For example, increasing diminishment of phytoplankton populations in the sea is causing diminishment of many other species as well as a 40% diminishment in oxygen production since 1950. Diminishment of whale populations has contributed to the diminishment of phytoplankton populations because whale feces are a major source of nutrients (esp. iron and nitrogen) for phytoplankton.

The planet simply cannot tolerate 7.5 billion (and growing) primarily meat and fish eating necrovores. The killing of 65 billion domestic animals each year is contributing more greenhouse gases to the planet than the entire transportation industry. The industrial stripping of life from the sea is causing unprecedented biodiversity collapse in marine eco-systems.

Ecological systems globally are collapsing from coral reefs to rainforests because humanity is exploiting resources far beyond the capacity of eco-systems to create and renew natural resources.

Diminishment of eco-systems is also leading to the breakdown of human social structures causing global conflict in the form of wars and domestic violence. Terrorism is not the cause of society’s problems, it is merely a symptom.

Humans are compromised by medieval paradigms like territorial dominance, hierarchical desires and superstitious beliefs combined with primitive primate behavior like greed and fear.

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Sea Shepherd’s 2010 Faeroe Islands Dolphin Defense Campaign: Operation Grindstop. Photo credit: Sea Shepherd /Sofia Jonsson

The fishing village that I lived in as a child is no longer a fishing village. The relative innocence of our lives as children of the Fifties and Sixties is no more. The African bush, the Arctic tundra, the marine reserve of the Galapagos Islands, the Great Barrier Reef, the Amazonian rainforests that I once traveled through are no longer what they recently were.

Humans have this amazing ability to adapt to diminishment. It’s a trait that was exceptionally useful when we lived as hunter-gatherers. We adapted to food shortages, to changes in the weather and to the world as it evolved around us. Today we are trying to adapt to the destruction brought on by ourselves and that adaption is taking the form of more and more control by governments and corporations and a blind reliance on corporate technologies.

We no longer have the empathy we once felt. I vividly remember the events of October 23rd, 1958. I was seven years old on the day of the Springhill Mine Disaster in Nova Scotia. 75 men died and 99 were rescue. I remember crying for the fate of people I did not know and feeling excited every time a miner was brought to the surface alive. I no longer have that capacity. Perhaps I lost it when I became an adult, or perhaps society no longer has room for such emotions.

Disaster happened and we grieved for people we did not know. A few weeks ago nearly 100 people were viciously murdered within a few kilometres of where I live when a deranged man mowed them down with a large truck in Nice, France. Last week, a priest was beheaded in France. Every week brings us more stories about mass killings in the Middle East, Africa, America etc. It’s a worldwide pain-fest of chaos and violence and yet it is met with complacency for the most part and a predictable Facebook posting of — “say a prayer for Paris, or Orlando, or Nice, or Beirut, or Istanbul” in a litany of self-indulgent adaptation to tragedy, before being quickly forgotten.

This is not the world of my childhood. We remembered the horrors of World War II with real emotion. I remember talking with both World War I and World War II veterans and feeling their pain. Today it’s just another short-term item on the news, in a world that seeks to escape through movies, celebrities, video games and increasingly more fanatical religious fervor.

Here is the reality. As human populations increase, the consumption of resources increases with it. But because resources are finite and the rate of renewables is overcome by demand, this can only lead to one result — the collapse of resource availability.

And because we are literally stealing resources from other species, this will lead to
diminishment of species and habitats, which will contribute to even more resource diminishment.

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Sea Shepherd’s 2008 Seal Defense Campaign photographs the murder and carcass dragging of a seal. Photo credit: Sea Shepherd / Greg Hager

At COP 21, I called for an end to worldwide government subsidies for industrialized fishing and at least a 50-year moratorium on commercial industrialized fishing. That solution was not given a moment’s thought at a conference that did not even take into account the imperative role of the Ocean in addressing climate change.

My opinion of COP 21 is that governments were not looking for solutions. They were looking for the appearance of solutions. They certainly did not want to hear about solutions from people like me. They want solutions that are accompanied by jobs and profit. The one thing they do not want is any form of economic sacrifice.

I also do not believe that the majority of humanity — certainly not the leadership — understand the true gravity of the situation. There are six viewpoints concerning climate change: 1. Denial 2. Acceptance, with the view of it being a positive development. 3. Acceptance with the belief that science and technology will save the day. 4. Acceptance, but refusal to fully appreciate the consequences. 5. Apathy. 6. Acceptance with the resolve to find real solutions.

Those who are in denial have vested self interests in doing so, motivated primarily by greed or ignorance. My old Greenpeace colleague Patrick Moore sees climate change as an opportunity for longer growing seasons and better weather. (He lives in Canada and I don’t think he’s really thought it through.) Others like Elon Musk see our salvation in science, in moving off-world or developing artificial eco-systems on Earth. Most responsible world leaders recognize the problem but are too politically-impotent to address it with realistic solutions because those solutions would not be politically popular. And as with everything, the majority of the world is apathetic and too self-absorbed with entertaining themselves (developed world) or surviving (underdeveloped world).

On this path we are on now, the future is somewhat predictable. More resource wars, more poverty, more accumulation of wealth by the minority of privileged people, more disease, more civil strife and with the collapse of biodiversity – global mass starvation, and pestilence.

The rich tapestry of all our cultures and all our achievements in science and the arts hangs by threads linked to biodiversity.

If the bees are diminished, our crops are diminished. If the forests are diminished, we are diminished. If phytoplankton dies, we die! If the grasses die, we die!

We exist because of the geo-engineering contributions of millions of diverse species that keep our life support systems running. From bacteria to whales, from algae to the redwoods. If we undermine the foundations of this planetary life-support system, all that we have ever created will fall. We will be no more.

We made the mistake of declaring war on nature, and because of our technologies it looks like we are going to win this war. But because we are a part of nature, we will destroy ourselves in the process. Our enemy is ourselves and we are slowly becoming aware of that indisputable fact. We are destroying ourselves in a fruitless effort to save the image of what we believe ourselves to be.

In this war, we are slaughtering — through direct or indirect exploitation — millions of species and reducing their numbers to dangerously low levels while at the same time increasing human numbers to dangerously high levels.

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Dolphin offal and intestines photographed during the 2011-12 Taiji Dolphin Defense Campaign. Photo credit: Sea Shepherd / Christoph Heylen

We are fighting this war against nature with chemicals, industrialized equipment, ever increasing extraction technologies (like fracking) and repression against any and all voices that rise up in dissent.

In our wake over the past two centuries we have left a trail of billions of bodies. We have tortured, slain, abused and wasted so many lives, obliterated entire species; and reduced rich diverse eco-systems to lifeless wastelands as we polluted the seas, the air and the soil with chemicals, heavy metals, plastic, radiation and industrialized farm sewage.

We were once horrified by the possibility of a Chernobyl or a Fukushima. But the accidents happened and we adapted and accepted. Now we are complacent.

In the process we are becoming sociopathic as a species. We are losing the ability to express empathy and compassion. We idolize soldiers, hunters, and resource developers without giving a thought to their victims. We revel in violent fantasies hailing two-dimensional fantasy killers as heroes. We have become increasingly more Darwinian in our outlook that the weak (other species) must perish so that the strong (ourselves) may survive. We forget that Darwinism recognizes the laws of ecology and we cannot pick and choose when it comes to the laws of nature. In the end nature controls us, we do not control nature.

The consequences of our actions are not going to happen centuries from now. They are going to happen within this century. Oceanic ecosystems are collapsing — now! The planet is getting warmer — now! Phytoplankton is being diminished — now!

To be blunt — the planet is dying now, and we are killing it!

From what I have experienced and from what I see there is only one thing that can prevent us from falling victim to the consequences of ignoring the laws of ecology.

We must shake off the anthropocentric mindset and embrace a biocentric understanding of the natural world. We can do this because we have wonderful teachers in indigenous communities worldwide who have lived biocentric lifestyles for thousands of years just as our species all once did. We need to learn to live in harmony with other species.

We need to establish a moratorium on industrialized fishing, logging and farming.

We need to stop producing goods that have no intrinsic value — all the useless plastic baubles for entertainment and self-indulgence. We need to stop mass-producing plastic that is choking our global seas. We need to stop injecting poisons into the soil and dumping toxins into the sea. We need to abolish cultural practices that destroy life for the sole purpose of entertaining ourselves.

Of course it won’t be easy but do we really want the epitaph for our species to be, “Well we needed the jobs?”

Without ecology there is no economy.

I am not a pessimist and I’ve never been prone to pessimistic thoughts. There are solutions. We see people of compassion, imagination and courage around us working to make this a better world — devoting themselves to protecting species and habitats; finding organic agricultural alternatives; and developing more eco-friendly forms of energy production. Innovators, thinkers, activists, artists, leaders and educators — these people are among us and their numbers are growing.

It is often said that the problems are overwhelming and the solutions are impossible. I don’t buy this. The solution to an impossible problem is to find an impossible solution.

It can be done. In 1972, the very idea that Nelson Mandela would one day be President of South Africa was unthinkable and impossible — yet the impossible became possible.

It’s never easy but it is possible and possibilities are achieved through courage, imagination, passion and love.

I learned from the Mohawks years ago that we must live our lives by taking into account the consequences of our every action on all future generations of all species.

If we love our children and grandchildren we must recognize that their world will not be our world. Their world will be greatly diminished and unrecognizable from the world of our childhoods. Each and every child born in the 21st Century is facing challenges that no human being has ever faced in the entire history of our species:

Emerging pathogens from the permafrost. (Just this summer, an anthrax virus from a recently thawed reindeer carcass broke out killing 1,500 reindeer and hospitalizing 13 people in Russia.) Eruptions of methane opening huge craters in the earth in Siberia, mass-accelerated extinction of plants and animals, pollution, wars and more wars, irrational violence in the form of individual, religious and state terrorism, the collapse of entire eco-systems.

This is not doom and gloom fear mongering. It is simply a realistic observation of the consequences of our deliberately ignoring of the laws of ecology. I call it the Cassandra Principle.

Cassandra was the prophetess of ancient Troy whose curse was the ability to see the future and to have everyone dismiss her prophecies. No one listened to her, instead they ridiculed her. Yet she was right. All that she predicted came to pass and Troy was destroyed.

Years ago I had a critic in the media label me as a doom and gloom Cassandra. I replied, “Maybe, but don’t forget one thing. Cassandra was right.”

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Sea Shepherd’s Galapagos Director Sean O’Hearn-Gimenez on a shark finning arrest operation om 2007.

And over the years I have made predictions (that were ridiculed and dismissed) that have come true. In 1982 I publicly predicted the collapse of the North Atlantic Cod fishery. It happened a decade later. In 1978 I predicted the destruction of one half of the African elephant population in Defenders magazine. I was wrong. Some two thirds of the population have been destroyed. In 1984, I predicted ecological destruction by salmon farms including the spreading of viruses to wild salmon populations. Every prediction was based on observation with reference to the laws of ecology and every prediction was dismissed.

Nothing has changed. Today I am predicting the death of worldwide coral reef eco-systems by 2025, the total collapse of worldwide commercial fishing operations by 2030; and the emergence of more virulent viral diseases in the coming decades. It does not take any exceptional foresight to predict that war will be the major business of the next half-century, as well as the rise of more authoritarian governments.

Recently my old friend Rod Marining, also a co-founder of Greenpeace, said to me: “The transformation of human consciousness on a mass scale can not happen, unless there are two factors. First, a huge mass visual death threat to survival of our species, and two, the threat of the loss of a people’s jobs or their values. Once theses two factors are in place humans begin to transform their thinking over night.”

I have seen the future written in the patterns of our behavior, and it is not a pleasant future, in fact it is not much of a future at all.

The four horses have arrived. As death sits astride the pale horse, the other three horses of pestilence, famine and war and terrorism are stampeding at full gallop toward us while our backs are turned away from them. And when they trample us, we may look up from our latest entertainment triviality to see ourselves in the dust of the ecological apocalypse.

I also see the possibility of salvation. By listening to the words and observing the actions of indigenous people. By looking into the eyes of our children. By stepping outside the circle of anthropocentrism. By understanding that we are part of the Continuum. By refusing to participate in the anthropocentric illusion. By embracing biocentrism and fully understanding the laws of ecology, and the fact that these laws cannot — must not — be ignored if we wish to survive.