Now that the film rights of : CONFESSIONS II: ” we have met the enemy… ” are finally being discussed legally behind closed doors… It would be a good time, as activists, to be asking ourselves the “question” about rights in general. This doesn’t just effect me, it effects us all. To begin, I would like to thank everyone for all of their Facebook comments, good and bad, pretty and ugly.
This is the point of our working together, this is the point of the environmental movement, heck, this is the point of democracy! Whatever your thoughts are, the important thing is getting the conversation going and moving it along so we can continue “fight the good fight.” This movement can only thrive when we all participate, question authority wherever it demands attention, and oppose censorship everywhere.
In the beginning we certainly stretched the truth a bit, but that was how TV worked in those days, and the reality was, we just gave the story spin in the modern day vernacular in order to get as much media attention and the attention of the public as possible. We were also an underfunded small group doing the work of what could have been a huge organization. In those days, “the others” were over-funded and big…so one has to make their way. After all, all was fair in love and war.
Someone “online” did say that I started “it”…. Started what? I have spent 35+ years of my life paying for my own time, and purchasing the material to cover a large number of SSCS campaigns. This is the truth. These are facts. This is not “fake news”! This was before cell phones, laptops, and smartphones, and TV network crews were few and far between. So yes, we all did what we could, we all did the thing or things that we were good at to help the movement grow, and I filmed our own news… all true. Maybe I did start it? But “started it” needs to be defined. What exactly did I start, other than making sure footage of vital environmental issues across the entire globe was seen by and motivated audiences who make up the entire globe. If this is the claim, I guess I am guilty as charged, but intelligent humans do evolve.
Back in the day, young activists did many very brave things under extremely harsh conditions. I know, I was there. With the help of the legendary George Schlatter and others, we made our issues appear on the “real news” programs of the day. This way they became the public’s issues. It was the film and video of these early actions, and the people who risked it all; that won the day and started a movement.
I filmed many of those early moving pictures and gave the images, rights and all to anyone who asked. I felt that the images forming the “new” eco movement belonged to all. Those I didn’t own personally, Paul Watson borrowed and we distributed anyhow. I’m just saying…
In the early 1980s Paul Watson was battling Greenpeace over the very BRANDING issue we are discussing 40 years later. 40 years later and are we back where we started? This was not my idea! They hated each other (Greenpeace and Sea Shepherd) and Paul took every chance he could to slam his old buddies in the press. Greenpeace pretty much ignored Watson and dismissed his claims. I tried to broker a peace once…it went bust the first week after the deal was made. You see, back then, just like now, it was all about money, which is something that needs to change. Money keeps organizations going but too much of it and too many chefs in the kitchen seem to always spoil the brew. I never tried again but I have always liked the Greenpeace activists I met on campaigns. We always worked together, even though our bosses frowned on such collaboration; ridiculous then, ridiculous now.
Collaboration by likeminded people to reach the same goal is one of the greatest gifts you can get. I always thought that if Paul Watson spent as much time fighting the bad guys, as he did hating Greenpeace, and visa-versa we’d have been a lot better off. By “we” I mean the oceans. The whales, the dolphins, and every other creature in harm’s way, remember them? And hey, if the whales and dolphins and the oceans die off…we are next.
This is not a rant and this is not meant to be funny. I’m talking about the lives of all of Mother Nature’s creatures on this planet. To win anything, we should all be working together, even if we disagree.
It is a fight for the oceans, not Brand loyalty. The public is losing faith in their leaders and institutions in general directly because of this. We were never meant to be bureaucratic, we were never meant to value money and branding over the lives of whales, dolphins, humans and so many amazing campaigns to do right here on planet earth. As far as I can see, this is all happening for good reason; it is time for all real activists to get back on the frontlines to protect our rights. Leaders absolutely have to quit hiding behind fancy propaganda videos, e-commerce websites, and fancy press releases. Most corporations never explore the real issues, they just show how “cool” this or that group is. Then they start marketing goods. When you risk it all…
Who owns those images? Can you imagine your picture selling tequila? Coca-Cola? Or god-forbid, Kobe beef? I CAN imagine it. The prospect is not a good one. Talk about key-messaging going horribly wrong. Environmental organizations were never meant to be CORPORATIONS, and if things continue in such a way, the faithful followers will drop off and start their own groups, which is a wonderful thing. At the same time, we MUST COME TOGETHER and utilize our individual gifts to continue to help the planet and her creatures heal and not just for us, but for every generation to come.
I hope others join me in in this age of “media” and DEMAND that eco IMAGERY should belong to the earth, not greedy corporations and personality sects. If I have my way, events will remain a part of human history not some asset on a corporate ledger sheet to be bought and sold at whim. It’s time to tackle the issues and put an end to these eco-corporation fights so everyone can get back to doing what they are supposed to be doing; helping our planet and her creatures heal, not utilizing efforts to making working together difficult and allowing our planet to remain victim to major environmental crimes that we have spent 40 years eradicating. It’s like having termites in your home; if you don’t stop the spread, you won’t have a home left to live in. Whatever we do now is what we’ll be remembered for and we are at the tipping point, so the time is now.