Sunday, January 2, 2011

New Years – A Time to Reflect

A video of a teenager beaten on the streets of Seattle aired again recently. It amazes me that no one stepped in to stop it including security people. When do we choose to do the right thing? Is it only when we know someone is watching? I’ve been handed too much change and in my younger, poorer days, struggled with it but now it’s easier to say, “You gave me too much” and return the extra. It might be a stretch to compare watching a beating to receiving extra change but the core is the same to me. It’s right or it’s wrong. Not everything is this clear and learning more about issues sometimes clouds things up. Often it’s easier not knowing. Like the bystanders watching beating in Seattle, sometimes people just look the other way.

I went to Taiji to witness the dolphin slaughter and I was forced to look at myself. This blog and Facebook have introduced me to animal advocates and a world I knew was there but chose to ignore. Now, when I make the choice of what to have for lunch, I have friends around the world who are ‘with’ me and influence my decisions. The dolphins, in my mind, are intelligent beings that need our protection and respect. For some Japanese, dolphins are food and pests who eat deteriorating fish stocks and need to be eliminated. The same thing happens here in Washington State with sea lions that eat salmon at the locks or dams. The state killed dozens of them and is considering killing more.

When you open up, new information comes flooding in. I think it’s important to research and weigh all sides. Whether you believe in global warming or not, anything we do to reduce climate change just makes the planet a cleaner, healthier place to live. So, I will work to reduce my carbon footprint. My challenge now is to figure out how much to take on without burning out. People are working on so many issues that it’s hard to keep up. I’ll keep following the dolphin hunt in Taiji and other issues but my focus will be local. Depending on the Bonneville sea lion decision, I may make a trip to photograph their fate.

For two weeks, no dolphins were killed in Taiji. It’s a small victory and probably a planned break for the fisherman. Yesterday, a small group of fishermen left the harbor and performed a ceremony. I assume it’s a sign that the killing will continue. I would love to be in Taiji when they have the ceremony ending the hunt. I would gladly spend my vacation dollars to see that. Until then, I’ll be writing letters, making phone calls and not looking the other way.

For the souls of the oceans

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