As the new year approaches, most of us will make New Year’s resolutions. Some won’t eat so much, and some will stop smoking or drinking… After spending the holidays with my grandchildren I cannot help but wondering why we all can’t ignore our petty differences and “resolve” to really buckle down and do something for the earth… other than bitch and point fingers that is. There certainly is a lot to bitch about god knows, but is it not really time to get things done? Our oceans are dying, is there any hope? Well I believe there is hope if we can all get together and force change.
Maybe it is finally time for something to be accomplished with the 390 Billion dollars raised annually to “save the earth”, one way or the other. 390 Billion, with a “B”, is a lot of money. Where does it go? Most goes to huge salaries for those who beg our donations, or perks for those who pretend to care. For example, I spent a few years working to save baby harp seals. For anyone who was there it was abundantly clear that our efforts quickly became a huge “tailgate” type party for bleeding heart liberals.. All the best restaurants were full, hotels, rental cars, and helicopters booked by the well-heeled eco-warriors bent on showing the heathens the right way to live. Expensive wine flowed as the towns, once empty during March, filled up bringing millions of eco-dollars to the local economies decimated by government mismanagement of the cod stocks…once the cash cow for local fishermen. I know, I know, fishermen are heathens to the holier than thou intellectuals, but did the activists do anything but bitch? Locals played the eco-activists and eco groups like Sea Shepherd, Greenpeace, and IFAW. In the beginning things got done, but once the money flowed in, most “leaders” pocketed the cash and left the arrested kids to twist in the wind. Passion often wins out, but dirty money makes it tougher.
The sealers, although brutal, learned to play the public to keep their new cash cow thriving. “Whack” a seal for the camera, and the dollars would flow. Even today you see baby harp seals being used to gain public sympathy… all for cash. Baby Seals haven’t been killed in years…. Get over it.
Do those of you who donate ever ask or demand results? Oh, environmental organizations have great PR, and spend bundles on slick films and bragging rights to this or that, but do they have any real success? My 40+ years of experience in this department says no. Many of you know that Sea Shepherd Society spent thousands suing me, their longest and most active volunteer for 40 years because I dared disagree with where their money went. It cost me thousands of my own money to defend myself while they freely spent donation money harassing me to shut me up. Our legal system has its good points, but to shut people up through harassment is not one of them. This is all money donated to save the oceans. Tax deductible money at that! Was this a good use of donor money? If you check out NGO IRS tax returns you will see they have budgeted millions of dollars over the years to defend their indiscretions; be they legit or not… just keep that money coming became the mantra of the once pure of heart. It is not so clear in their financials but payouts were made to a number of individuals and, of course , Mr. Watson even tried to “spin” the 2.5 million dollars that was paid to the whalers so that Mr. Watson and others could run and hide instead of continuing to pursue the whalers. Are they in the southern oceans today? Hell no, the last I saw Mr. Watson he was travelling the world in a 3 million dollar yacht accepting awards and acclamations for what? Ego? The crew, while probably cleaning toilets and caring for a sea sick cat, still got to wear the once proud colors to show their dedication. These were kids who wanted to make a difference. Kids recruited for their passion, co-opted to serve their mythical leader. Much like Captain Morgen the Caribbean pirate opting out of piracy to govern Porto Rico, Mr. Watson now finds himself head of a “cult-like” organization dedicated to his comfort.
Did Sea Shepherd save the vaquita dolphin in Mexico as they claim? This was the campaign I personally witnessed that finally brought home to me how hypocritical we have become. They made films about it, accepted awards, had a villa over looking the coast for R & R, but the dolphin still struggle. They made corporate and governmental alliances against the poor local fishermen… very lucrative for all concerned, except, of course the fishermen. Nothing really has changed … except those poor individuals caught in the middle. Poor fishermen villainized instead of co-opted to actually work on the problem. As a new year begins, it the time for a reassessment on all fronts. I say they accomplished little, except to polish the Mexican government’s image to look green. Why aren’t governments doing their job? After spending time with the opposition, I came to believe most eco groups are as corrupt as the governments they were set up to counter….so why bother?
We bother so future generations might have a real future. Many of my activist friends started during the time when the young people of the US banded together to stop the Viet Nam war. Of course, although we preached being against war in general, most were personally motivated so they would not have to fight. The war was wrong as history attests, and millions joined the fray against it despite their differences. For a time we all banded together, not for a noble ideal, but because we were individually threatened. That’s the truth. Be this as it may, millions rallied to the cause and change happened. Today we need the same dedication… no matter our differences the events of 2020 threaten us all. If individual motives are needed to get people to care, so be it. Today’s eco-war threatens us all, not just college students worried about their own hides. No matter the reason, it is time to take to the streets again; this time making the earth a priority. Change, even though motivated by the very selfish motives that drove us back then, is needed today.
Demand change that will secure a future for future generations no matter the sacrifice for us individually. There is no more room for our garbage. Our greed and consumption needs to end. It is not someone else’s problem… it is ours. Think generations down the road when we make our decisions. As we cart mountains of Amazon packing to the trash, and assess the millions of cheap plastic toys for our kids to break… think of the oceans. The world can come together to condemn Brazil for their exploitation of their natural resources… so why not think for a moment of how we destroyed our resources for our own greed, and try to clean up our act here and make a difference universally.
Have a happy and joyous New Year, and remember as my good friend Doug Thompson said: we are at a cliff. Do we, like lemmings, continue forward to our demise, or do we do a 180 degree turn and change. Change is not bad, and at this time for our civilization, it is necessary. Fear is our enemy, don’t be afraid to stand up and make a difference. Kick the ego driven eco-corporations to the curb, no one else will do it. It is up to each and every one of us to make a difference. As Nike says, just do it!