Let’s STOP messing with Mother Nature!

We have lost another orca, L41 from the Southern Resident pod. There are now 72 left. L41 was significant to the Southern Resident population because he and one other male, J1, fathered a majority of the whales born since 1990. J1 fathered 16 whales, and L41 fathered 20 whales, according to NOAA.

At the same moment in history, we humans are beginning to panic over the spread of a new corona virus. China has been shut down entire cities the size of Los Angeles, so the 900+ deaths we hear about need to be way under estimated. Something is scary when the imperial government that has, in the recent past, had no issue gunning down a 1000 dissenters at Tiananmen Square, now quarantines entire cities. Is this the pandemic some have warned us of? I certainly hope not.

As human population expands and wilderness contracts, nature suffers. The earth is a hugely complicated interdependent network that has for millions of years sustained itself. The earth is presently facing a mass extinction blamed not on a volcano or asteroids, but on us. Because we have chosen to dominate nature rather than live with it. Simple as that. There are fewer animals, bugs, bacteria, fugues, all that wonderful stuff that keeps nature in check. You know, like checking and controlling viruses… Think about it.

Would we pay more attention to our environment if 2% of all humans perished due to a disease run amuck in nature because of us?  It could happen, and obviously today’s governments are very worried about it. So what do we do? I say maybe pay attention to the whales…

The Sothern Resident Orcas have many issues. The first being: years ago when so many were captured and traumatized to load aquariums for our pleasure. Some say education…  I disagree. We  humans, at least some of us have learned that lesson and orca shows are now passé.  The toll human capture took in the 70s is now multiplied by other numerous issues. Lack of salmon needs to be addressed by dam removal ultimately, but I know it’s a difficult concept to grasp, but how about we stop taking so many? Do sport fishermen need to take thousands, or consumers eat so much? Maybe we start taking care of the rivers still left. Maybe even.. and I know this might be politically incorrect, but why not convince the Lummi to stop, or at least curtail their commercial takes. Hell, I have been told the Lummi believe they are related to orcas… as do I, so why is it a big stretch to stop starving grandma for a while? Mariners can drive their boats with the respect these waters deserve, and give these resident creatures at least the distances demanded by law. I have found the WSF people have been very interested their not being the problem. Let’s get them involved. Oh yeah, keep salmon farms out of the wild. Open pen salmon farming has no place in the wild oceans. I’m just saying….

We can all do these things, some of us might suffer financially, but local culture and island life will flourish. As much as we need to save the orcas, we need to save ourselves. The same way.

As those of us here in the San Juan Islands mourn yet another orca death, we must use this loss to motivate us all to start changing our ways. You know little steps do not hurt so much.

Remember, as the Southern Resident Orcas slip toward extinct, so go we.

No matter how cool your new pick up looks in the yard, or how well your IRA is doing take a minute and look around. We need a healthy environment with all kinds of plants and animals to survive. The three rules of nature are BIODIVERSITY, INTERDEPENDENCE, and FINITE RESOURCES. By wiping out one we wipe out the rest. We need to save what we still have and build from there.

To begin, we must save these damn whales and build from there. I know it is not a human trait, but we must really forget our petty differences and all do our part.  The one thing we can do right now, is stop boat harassment. The locals be they fishermen or whale watchers know the Southern Residents. Instead of zooming to bring hungry tourists close, go the other way. Show some respect and your concern for a future. What a concept?

Young people are speaking out like the young woman from Iceland. I believe we should listen. It is their future. My generation seems to have been ruled by interests alone… what happened to principles?

Young people deserve better and it is time for our voices to actually be heard. Conserve the earth, save the whales,  give us a chance survive and thrive. I personally don’t believe living on Mars is a solution.

The EARTH or Bust!

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!

“so do we give up?”

Having just celebrated Thanksgiving, a holiday that at least gets family and friends together to celebrate our good fortunes through gluttony… you have to love it.  I was in Texas with my family, or part of it and felt privileged to be there. We are very lucky in America to enjoy the luxuries we do.  I realize that I have become more mystical in my old age and have chosen a more frugal existence, but I am still able to travel freely and visit those who I love.

I have been extremely lucky in my life to have a profession that allowed me extensive travel and experiences around the world. The TV profession allowed me time for my eco-hobbies, so I am very thankful for that. I am sure if we all reach deep inside, we all have things we are thankful for. I hope so!

While America appears in the middle of a great cultural divide, it is refreshing to see a young woman from Europe, Greta Thunberg is “human of the year”. Good on her!

Instead of us mature adults taking shots at her naivety, perhaps we should listen. Truth often comes from the mouths of youth. They are not stupid, and believe me, they pay attention. I learned recently from my grand-brats: watching Frozen 2… they are little girls… that I was deemed too ugly to be the handsome  prince. It was decide by all three and then confirmed later at school by friends, that I was in fact better suited as the silly snowman. Ouch! I’m just saying, from the mouths of children…

Anyhow, to date we… my generation, has not done too well when it comes to the environment. It is interesting that this seems to correspond with our “perceived happiness”. Instead of face it, we hide, or worse hope others will save us, and our children.  We have denied climate change by electing the present administration… oh it’s easy to say: ”don’t blame me”, but he won, get over it. No matter who is driving the bus, let’s come up with policies that work.

You know, policies like preserving the wilderness that we have left, rather than exploiting it. I know our economy is built on growth. More people, more consumers, and more consumption means more money, and the hungry snake eats it’s own tail. Although we hope we aren’t there, we are  We are doing it, how’s it taste? Maybe we need to listen to the kids.

I have been preaching public participation and the “hope” for years. I felt that it was happening; but as well-known philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche said: “ Hope in reality is the worst of all evils because it prolongs the torments of man.”

Think about it. Maybe it is the dashing of this hope that is driving the young people to shoot up schools, contemplate suicide, and maybe now they are “playing until the end”… like celebrating while the Titanic sank. Are we there? I do understand that there always appears to be no hope to some. The job is so big, no one can do it. Governments have failed and our schools still teach that we are a democracy… WE ARE A REPUBLIC, even Kenyan Taxi cab drivers know that. Sorry… my pet peeve.

Anyhow back to the subject… My suggestion for the New Year is: Let’s take a step or two from the cliff.

I am not that old, and I remember when everything wasn’t wrapped in plastic… sometimes double and triple wrapped! Did it kill us? I hear about more food issues now. Instead of hoping technology will save us, why not start saving ourselves? I know it is a revolutionary concept, but think about it for a minute.

Wrap meat in paper… take vegetables without plastic bags. Stop ingesting things you can’t pronounce… I mean, minor things really. Also more importantly as far as I’m concerned stop using all this anti-bacterial crap. Read a bit of Dr. Lynn Margulis and realize we are mostly bacteria. The earth is BACTERIA. Trillions of kinds, and all interdependent. We are attached to the earth and all her living things through bacteria. If you believe Dr. Margulis, and I do.

Bacterial DNA passes around like a “barroom slut… male , female, LGBTQ…  whatever. Let’s just say that bacterial DNA gets around. Maybe swapping of bacterial spit so to speak, has a purpose to our very existence?  Bacteria in our bodies outnumber human cells 10 to 1! We are in fact trillions of interconnected little bio-machines.  Why is it out of the question that through years of evolution, our bacteria doesn’t need what the earth gives? And visa versa? Maybe it recharges us?  Maybe it is why people feel recharged in the wilderness? To me it seems clear.

We need the wilderness. We, as humans , should get our tails out in nature, get in touch with it; rather than detaching from it. Wilderness is not something to be feared, but rejoiced. Maybe lie on the grass and check your phone?

Quit hoping others will fix things.  Like that young woman from Iceland, It is time to act not to hide. We are part of the earth. Do something every day to help preserve it, and bethankful it is there. Where wild things live.

 

 

 

Forget your designer shoes… an asteroid is on the way!

As another summer season passes quietly on the water… No Southern Resident Orcas died, and thus none were mourned worldwide on TV. A good thing… The pod hangs on one more summer…, a success to some.  I simply look at it as “dodging a bullet” yet again. For now, the problem is out of sight, out of mind. Instead, the plight of the orca should be front and center in the world news. The survival of such an apex species is frankly of the utmost importance  to our species. I know, I know,  this sounds very dramatic, but it is true.

No matter how slow the impending disaster often appears after each small victory, the “wall of lava” is still creeping down the volcano… just ask Hawaiians facing this reality.

As Americans are involved in all our “first world” angst, fear, and blame passing, we really are getting a lesson in reaction as opposed to pro-action. Didn’t America know the moral and ethical fiber of the present president when they elected him? For the record, I judge my candidates by their environmental policies… so don’t blame me.

With the amount of media blitz we are exposed to each minute of each day we need to step back and focus on what is really important. Don’t listen to the “trend-setters”… get your noses out of your smart phones, and meet people. You’d be surprised how much even the most internet haters on both sides end up finding something in common if allowed to actually meet. Get together on a common love… the survival of us all! We all wants what’s best for us, but “us” sometimes takes our eye off the ball especially in today’s media world. None of this “first world” diversion matters on a dead planet.  I’m just saying…

Maybe it is because of my experience with travelling to some very poor areas of the world and observing real problems first hand, that I am presently so frustrated with the environmental movement in general, and “us” in particular.  So as the EPA is gutted, The Makah are trying to kill another grey whale in Neah Bay, people here debate while the Southern Resident Orcas go extinct. I can go on and on…  “Let’s have a meeting?”

Today with impeachment we are programmed by the media to sit all day feeling helpless that our politicians might be dishonest… Duh!!!!!!!

Now for something that really matters:

It is not time to retreat, and give up. The media does nothing to protect what is really important to us anyway. Give them up, it won’t matter, and you’ll be happier for it. We have been led to believe that the huge eco-corporations were taking care of our interests… NOT!  They proved no better than governments they protested against.

The wilderness, be it oceans or mountains, has been proven healthy to mankind. It lowers blood pressure, reduces stress, and hell it feels great… way better than any smart phone or TV can offer.  It belongs to all of us and the “spirit of the wild” cannot be duplicated by TV, video games, or anything. The wild belongs to all of us. We as individuals need to own it, and protect it like it is imperative for our survival. It is!

I am here, working with www.gaianetwork.net  in Friday Harbor, Washington trying to make a difference.  Human habitation in the islands goes way back with natives sharing the ample harvest of salmon. The whales on the other hand probably go back further. Their “rights” to be here must at least equal our “rights” to occupy the same space. Are they important to us? Hell yes they are. I will not lecture on the laws of nature here, but interdependence, and biodiversity are important to the biological health of the planet, and therefore our health. The whales are important to both.

I feel it important that we all try to look beyond the present monetary gains to be made by exploiting these residents of the San Juan Islands. We would not allow our land neighbors to be exploited as such. If buses flew around the island “observing” local characters with kids selling maps to “resident homes” on every street corner; this would freak us all out. Movie stars put up with this lack of privacy in Hollywood, and it is not fun.  I can at least imagine the whales feel the same.

Might I suggest that it would be best for the whales if we now put aside our petty “first world” differences and all agree to leave them alone. Perhaps make interaction with these beautiful creatures special and not guaranteed for the price of a ticket. In Africa to view mountain gorillas you might spend thousands of dollars to search through the bush for a week and go home with only a postcard. Because the film “Free Willie” shows actors exploiting whales (to save them, of course!), the public feels they deserve to do the same. Unfortunately for the public there are laws that deny them this privilege. They cannot harass whales for the same reason I can’t land a 747 on Hollywood Blvd… Movies are not reality, get over it.

I support no go areas for boats and strict enforcement of present federal regulations. We can all make law enforcement pay attention, and I would hope we make it a badge of courage for local land residents to protect their ocean neighbors, not to exploit them. Visit: www.gaianetwork.net if you want to donate to our cause; services or money. If not, do what you think best… just do something! Be pro-active. Remember, after extinction there is no going back. Then… the finger pointing will expose the dirty truths future generations will shun.

Do not be afraid to stand up for what is right: Armies fighting on many fronts under different tactics and strategies toward the same goal are hard to defeat. We need to only agree on one thing: these whales deserve our immediate concern. Now, do it! Convince your neighbors, and keep up the public outcry to stop any and all harassment of the Southern Resident Orcas.

 

 

Remember the Lorax!

It has been a very eye opening summer here in the Northwest working to protect orcas.  Elsewhere so much more is happening worldwide with climate change, mosquito borne viruses, salmon die-offs, droughts ….you name it. I am amazed there are still so many people denying the obvious. We humans need to step up our game in order to secure a future for our children and grandchildren on this planet.  Think of the LORAX.

The question I get all the time is: “what can I do?” I do believe Americans live in a bubble of media fantasy where our single focus is money. Hell, Donald Trump got elected on jobs, jobs, jobs.. Who cares about health care; even though the stress from these jobs is killing us all. Who cares about old age as we will all be rich and have servants to take care of us. NOT!

As my friend the late Doug Thompson used to say: “there are no jobs on a dead planet.” And he is absolutely correct. There will be no “us” on a dead planet either, and it is about time that we all pay attention. I realize it is difficult to grasp such large concepts… like sustaining life on the planet, but really; it’s easy. Biodiversity, Interdependence, Finite resources…. Pretty easy, huh? The next time someone explains to me that technology will save us, I will scream…  Just ask yourself: “How’s technology done so far?”

Stop blaming others… Now is the time to head to the mirror and ask ourselves, what am ”I” doing?  I know that everyone is busy trying to buy the latest fashions, newest cars, and keep up with the trend setters, BUT please stop and take a good look at yourself. What have you done to make this planet a better place? My wildest dream is that I will leave this planet a little better off than when I arrived…

This is a tough task so I have dedicated my life to it.  I was born in the early 50s so blame me.  It is my generation that has done most of the damage, and it is time for us to accept our responsibilities to actually do something to make this right. To those pessimists who think all is lost and prefer to party until the end: if there is a hell, I hope you will spend eternity there. For my fellow pagans who believe that we come from the , and ultimately go back there… I’d rather reside on a living planet into eternity rather than a chunk of charcoal lifelessly orbiting a fading sun.

There are solutions, and we need to begin yesterday or there will be a lifeless tomorrow. I’m just saying…

We at www.gaianetwork.net continue our efforts to help the Southern Resident Orcas avoid extinction. There are a number of things that have to come together for the orcas to actually have a future. I believe their future is our future… Dams need to be dealt with. Salmon farms need to be eliminated from the oceans. Urban waste and run off needs to be eliminated, and human harassment needs to be stopped. It is insanity to think we can tackle all these issues at once, but we can each take on a part… One at a time, and there are plenty of issues to go around. Get involved. My years of experience tell me that my little group we can tackle harassment… and we will try with our newly established Neighborhood Orca Watch.

This last summer when asked to help with the orcas, I felt it would be an easy job. I mean, who doesn’t love orcas? The public forced marine parks to eliminate shows and captures once and for all. The San Juan Islands are home to these magnificent creatures, and certainly share the guilt of their extinction by exploiting them to begin with. First the public allowed the capture of individuals to be turned into performers at public spectacles. Back then these “shows” were justified as educational. Today they are universally condemned. I like to think we’ve evolved. Evolution is a good thing.

I am hoping that the whale watching industry will begin to lead the way and become a part of the solution. They know the laws and they know the whales… why not make it a point to leave them alone and force others to leave them alone too. This summer we had individuals go out as tourists and ran cameras the whole time. I will not beat a dead horse here, but let’s say the laws that exist were not followed. It is hard to dispute video, and instead of placing past blame why can’t we evolve? I’d like to move forward and get everyone on board to try our absolute best to protect one of this islands oldest residents. The Orcas…  Let’s all prove how evolved we can become. Let’s all do what we can to give the southern residents a break.

 

 

It always takes longer than you think it will!

It is amazing that as one grows older it becomes more and more evident that our grandmothers were right on so many fronts. The older I become, the more I realize “old wives’ tales, more often than not,  ring true. Funny how that is.

This week we are having small victories on many fronts. Here in Friday Harbor our Neighborhood Orca Watch project is being set up and tested. Although way under-funded, a young student Christian Triana , and other locals have volunteered their time and efforts to get it together. Mike of Mike’s Café & Wine bar is, as always, there for the orcas. We will keep plugging away, and hope to gain volunteers aswe make it happen. We have run our tests and are presently seeking “observation” locations.

The citizens of Lopez Island have worked hard to get a protection bubble around the Southern Resident Orcas on the ballot. To date, they have succeeded against numerous obstacles. Although a lawsuit has even been filed to halt their efforts, I believe in democracy, and hope the good citizens of the San Juan Islands will soon be allowed to speak their minds and protect all local residents. VOTE… what an alien concept.

The Pacific Whale Watch Association appears to continue to survive and thrive although the Southern Residents have been scarce to date. I have not seen the southern residents this summer, but it is rumored that they returned in better shape than when they left. It won’t benefit the San Juans, but I hope these creatures have found a more calm environment to live, and more peaceful areas to forage. They deserve better neighbors… a lesson to all.

The tourists continue to crowd the Island to enjoy nature in all her wonderous glory. It is my  hope they leave with a new appreciation of the wild.  The plight of the Southern Resident Orcas; our fellow planetary citizens have energized so many things in so many ways. This is all good.

I will even give kudus to Lockey Maclean and Pamela Anderson for their efforts to end Salmon Farming in BC. They are both with the Sea Shepherd Society and it is my understanding that the M/V Martin Sheen is showing the flag in support of First Nation’s activism. I am pleased to see they were working with Jared Dick and Roger Dunlap. Both of these gentlemen are on the correct side fighting for the rights of the First Nations and wild salmon. Good on you all.

Even though our good President guts the EPA and other government regulatory organizations… maybe it is time for a citizen epiphany? Maybe it is time to finally figure out that we cannot rely on government to protect our well-being. I know it is governments that regulate our finances, the whole smoke and mirror charade that is the stock market… My question is : can we trust anyone who runs a trillion dollar deficit budget? How anyone can survive running that kind of debt is quite frankly beyond me… I will stick to protecting the oceans. That I understand.

I am asking others to join the mission for wild oceans if wild oceans are important to you. All great movements in history are led by individuals, and when last I looked we are all individuals. Each of us brings our own skills, passions, and talents to the table. Together we make families, clans, tribes, and nations. It is easy to look to others to lead, but we must now more than ever look to ourselves. Each one of us can and must make a difference.

Presently our bitching and basic neglect of what is important is getting us nowhere. Step up and speak up. Be it for humanity, the salmon, or the whales; step up. Now is the time to make a difference. While Mr. Trump manipulates the present day media, why not turn off the TV and look at what is really happening. Are your jobs more secure? How important is nature to my kids? Is the government really watching out for you? Is our consumer society making you happy? Do you really want to eat farmed salmon? Do I need everything wrapped in plastic? These are questions for each and every one of us, each and every day.

I don’t really care how you answer. What I do care about is our environment. OUR environment! I emphasize the word “our” because we need to own it, and take care of it.

Together we can make a huge difference.

Peter Jay Brown

http://www.gaianetwork.net

Keep it simple STUPID!

As orca protection gets debated and thrown around Friday Harbor, the orcas are still suffering.

It is my suggestion that we all stop throwing out excuses and reasons why it is someone else’s problem as the Southern Residents slowly disappear. Oh I am sure that everyone will blame someone else when they are gone, why not take another track?

The Lopez group have accumulated enough signatures to put their orca protection initiative on the November ballot despite litigation being leveled against them to stop. I am not a lawyer, and I don’t even pretend to be one, but what is up with a lawsuit to prevent residents from voting? When I last looked the San Juans were American, so let the residents decide through the ballot box without fear of ending up in court. Our American legal system is such that anyone can file a lawsuit for any reason they want. A large group or corporation with unlimited funds can tie up individuals forever. It costs thousands of dollars to defend yourself, even when you are right. In this case no matter the money spent on either side, it is the whales who will ultimately pay.

The governor’s task force and the recent moves by Canada support giving the orcas a break, but with business interests threatened… lobbyists worked hard behind the scenes to get their way.

While whale watching interests and others will tell you that new law proposals are too broad and unenforceable with no money being committed for enforcement… is this really any reason to drop the efforts? I believe no, it is time to redouble our efforts. A 650 yard bubble around the Southern Residents will make up-close whale watching illegal for now, but maybe… just maybe there will be whales to watch in the future. The humans on Lopez are finally looking forward. What a positive concept!

The “unenforceable” issue always comes up when the public votes for change. It came up when states attempted to outlaw smoking in businesses and even on beaches in California. These laws were deemed unenforceable by law enforcement organizations everywhere. Was this a reason to not have the laws? As it turned out smoking stopped without storm troopers or extra cops. Smoking stopped because the public agreed that eating in smoke polluted restaurants, and drinking in smoke filled bars was something we could all do without.  Peer pressure did the rest. We, the public, can and will enforce regulations by the very fact that they are right. Protecting these whales is simply the right thing to do, and we can do it.

We at gaianetwork.net are presently working with individuals and groups toward “peer” enforcement to end whale harassment. Of course although common sense and much science proves engine noise affects orca communication and inhibits their abilities to live, forage, and reproduce, there are those demanding we all continue to swim against the stream. We, as humans, have the right to exploit nature for education and, of course money… enough said. I disagree.

.We do not propose exemptions for film or even research. There is plenty of “up-close and personal” films and thousands of photos for sale, do we need more? How much more research is really necessary? Yesterday I was accused of harassing whale watchers with drones, and driving around drinking wine and harassing the whale watchers at high speed. THIS WAS NOT US!

We are presently working on a shore based operation called NEIGHBORHOOD ORCA WATCH (N.O.W.) with shore based cameras watching the orca’s feeding areas.  We will not become part of the problem to feather our own nest. Once set up, I am sure there will be criticism no doubt, but we will continue to test our concept and hope to get others to help. By just watching and allowing others to watch through LIVE STREAMING, it is my belief that peer pressure will allow the orcas to survive. It is not the solution, but it is a start. Victoria is finally working at cleaning up their act and treating their sewage with a proposed sewage treatment plant. Maybe we can stop consuming so much plastic, dumping used Prozac and other drugs down the drain, and thinking about what pesticides and poisons we use on our properties. Maybe we can limit our take of chinook salmon both commercially and individually and allow the species to come back. I know dams are an issue, as are other abuses, but all of the above are a start. As Buddha said: all great journeys begin with one step. NOW IS THE TIME to take these baby steps no matter what nay-sayers profess. Locally one must only look at the jet ski ban.

We will all change when the orcas are gone as good reactionary humans, but we need to take proactive measures now. Let’s decide to all stop blaming others and take the little steps we can to make a difference. This is how change begins and how change is sustained.

We will continue to try to keep positive and invite all others to join us. The whale watch industry did not go broke the months the Southern Residents were “missing”. This in a way proves they don’t need to “watch” the Southern Residents, no one does. Take a walk at Lime Kiln park and view  the whales from shore. Instead of being driven to view from high speed boats, take a leisurely walk and view nature as it is meant to be viewed. If you want to get close, watch one of the many films that exist. There is beautiful footage available. Watch it and let the “real” animals survive while they still have a chance. In the end when the orcas are gone, it is this film archive that will be all future generations have. I , for one, do not want this extinction on my watch. Film is not nature…not even close.

Think about our footprint on this planet and we will all be better off for it. Be a part of the solution.

Peter Brown www.gaianetwork.net