We have all heard the adventure tales on the high seas of the whaling ships sailing away for months bringing home the whale meat and the oils and how the whales where almost hunted to destruction, many of us have read Herman Melville’s ‘Moby Dick’ and for those who have not read it, have seen the film, included in that is the 2015 film ‘In the heart of the Sea’ A recounting of a New England whaling ship's sinking by a giant whale in 1820, an experience that later inspired the great novel Moby-Dick So we have been given the idea of whale hunting as the brave men risking their lives and limbs to chase down the whale, to butcher, filling hundreds of wooden barrels with the precious oil. Today the majority of the countries on this planet have decided that whale hunting is to be banned but there are a few countries who don’t wish to stand up and be counted.
Japan launched its scientific whaling programme not long after the 1986 whaling ban came into effect by the International Whaling Commission (IWC) it was believed and widely recognised as a cover for its on-going commercial whaling operation. The whale meat that Japan kills are sold in supermarket or given away free which keep the need for whale meat. The Japanese fleet leave twice a year killing up to 200 Minkie whales; Japan was killing 3 times as more until the International Court of Justice ruled that this was illegal. Japan says that they hunt whales as species are suffering from noise pollution or chemical poisoning that research can be used to look for solutions in order to improve the ecosystem, however once the whales are captured their meat ends up being sold for a profit. The excuse that is often used for why their meat it sold is that after conducting research selling the whales meat is the easiest way to dispose of the corpse.
Norway which has always had a whale hunting tradition and stuck to the IWC's whaling ban until 1993 when they found a loop hole in the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling. Norway has set its own quotas for its whalers which is now increased to 1000 mostly female Minkie whales which is putting the survival of the Minkie whales in the North Atlantic in doubt, however the number being caught has been lowered.
Iceland, like Japan chose to withdraw from the IWC in 1992 and carry on hunting whales for scientific reasons which how every you read it, hunting and killing whales then selling the meat in the supermarket is not scientific. Iceland re-joined the IWC it had a clause entered that spoke out in objection to the whaling moratorium. Then in 2006 Iceland continued its pursuit of whales including the Minkie and the endangered Fin whales in 2010 they killed 148 of the Fin.
It has been the tradition of many countries and many races to eat whale meat as part of their diet and many people have changed their diets to other than whale meat, with the abundance of other means of getting food, whale meat is not needed for food it doesn’t have a unique substances that is needed just like it’s not needed in cosmetics, we no longer have to light our homes with lamps as for oil we get that from under our feet and it will light your lamp if you really need a lamp.
But what is the point of stopping whale hunting? Yes that’s a question
The reason I have asked that is because each and every one of you who are reading this now is helping to kill not just whales, but also Dolphins, Porpoises, Turtles, Seals, we are forcing them to beach, then lay on the beaches around not just our coast but coasts around the world, laying in agony while their skin dries and burns in the sun, it is our fault, we may not be hunting them and using their ‘products’ but we are to blame in their deaths.
Why is it our fault?
We use plastic, plastic wrapping, plastic bags, plastic trays, plastic forks, plastic sheets, plastic bottles, plastic, plastic, plastic we use so much and we cannot dispose of it correctly, much of it is not recycled, it’s not being reused and it ends up floating around Earth’s oceans like some deformed plastic duck that no one wanted. It is not just the carrier bag it’s a range of different plastics that are used for so many things, things you would not even think about for example micro-beads that keep your teeth nice and white, keep your face nice and fresh with your facial scrub these micro beads are about the size of a sugar grain, some smaller and they are in toothpaste to help remove stains from your teeth, the face wash that removes dead skin from your body, they all go down the plug hole, even glitter that your child use at school, its tiny bits of shiny plastic and even glitter takes 500 years or longer, many schools have now stopped the use of it. Also at home, the adult use it when they buy a Christmas card, trillions of these little silver and gold specs are too small to be filtered by the sewers so they like micro beads end up out to sea, these then end up in the stomach of the smallest of sea creature, the toxins leech into their stomach and into the flesh, they are eaten by bigger fish it ends into our food chain.
Plastic that is floating on the sea or semi submerged, look like a squid, which dolphins love, they look like jellyfish which turtles eat, they don’t know the difference, but when it’s not digested it lays in their stomachs, blocking any food the animal may eat and blocking their anus, imagine what it is like, you have eaten so much that your stomach swells to painful size and you cannot pass anything but you still eat because you know you need to eat, what you have eaten slowly poisons you, you lay on the kitchen floor, for days in agony, pain is so bad that you want to scream but you cannot as you have be poisoned and you have lost your voice, so you lay waiting to die. But we can go to the hospital, have an operation and survive to live your life, happy with your family but of course a dolphin or whale cannot do that, sometimes their family follow them and while the dolphin or whale is stranded on the beach, their family is in deeper water calling, but they lay on the beach too ill to move as they have no strength left in them, then die alone, confused and in agony, not nice is it
What can we do to help?
Recycle? We do, many councils in the UK now have to hit recycle targets, but it’s has been noticed and mentioned that some recyclable material end up in landfill sites In 2016 Data from local councils shows they were unable to recycle around 338,000 tonnes of material placed in household recycling bins. Under pressure authorities claim they could not process the material because it was "contaminated" with other non-recyclable items or not recyclable. So if local authorities cannot hit targets or set an example how are we expected to do so?
An amazing campaign was run by pupils from Ullapool Primary School and Glasgow's Sunnyside Primary, who were on a field trip to the village of Ullapool, and along with help from the Scottish Wildlife Trust. The pupils launched a campaign due to concerns over the environmental impact of plastic straws.
Fourteen businesses in the Wester Ross village have either gone straw-free or are using alternatives to plastic, including paper straws. The two schools are now on a march to teach the whole of Scotland to stop using plastic straws, how about following their example more information can be found here
The humble plastic straw what can that do?
The straw is used no longer than 20 minutes and in the UK there are over 5 million straws a day and then discarded the main users of the plastic straws are McDonalds, KFC, Burger King and cartons with plastic straws attached mainly aimed at children. The plastic straw can lay in the ground for 500 years so when your children’s grandchildren great great great great great grandchildren are alive that straw you placed in the trash will still be around, think about that, that’s scary. The Straws also contain BPA, and can't be recycled, so if its placed in the ground it will stay there, if it’s not in the ground, it will be in the sea, where it’s being eaten by animals in the sea of being broken down by constant rubbing on the rocks and shells, then this break down which is smaller than a sugar grain is eaten by animals and into our food chain, or they injure the animal or kill the animal outright.
The following video (Be warned you may not like what you see. Sometimes the truth is not nice)
Scientists in Costa Rica came across an endangered species of sea turtle with what they thought was a parasitic worm blocking its airway. They realised it was actually a plastic straw. Hours from veterinary help, the scientists successfully dislodged the straw themselves and released the turtle back into the ocean. Click the arrows on the bottom right of the video to go full screen
That is just one story, there are stories of this every day around the world, it’s disgusting really isn’t it?
A diver off the coast of the US collected over 200 plastic straws in one 20 minute dive; she went back the next day and found the same amount again in the same place. You host in the summer walked along a Scottish beach and found over 50 plastic straws and 25 plastic bottles, there were trash bins not far from the start and finish of the walk, but people would rather contaminate a beautiful Scottish beach then put a straw in the bin or take it home, just stop it, how hard can it be, if you cannot keep it clean stay off the beach, you don’t deserve it.
So what can you do?
If you are a business owner who serves drinks then please change to paper straws, if you own a chip shop, change your straws to paper ones and even your plastic forks to wooden ones. If you are employed and you notice that your employer gives away plastic straws, ask them if they would consider changing to paper ones, companies such as Whole Sale Paper Straws UK will supply a whole range of paper straws with a wide range of designs.
If you are still at school how about following the example of the Glasgow and Ullapool schools and start a group to convince people in your town or city to change from plastic to paper straws, if you live beside a beach take a trash bag and collect straws, bottles, or anything plastic.
It’s up to everyone to take care of this planet, some people don’t care what happens but if you do then we have to work that little bit harder for those selfish people who would rather throw a plastic bottle and straws on the beach or into the sea, people may think, many think these things that don’t concern them, but it does, it REALLY does, it concerns every single person now and those to come in the future on this planet and we cannot leave it to the next person as the damage will have been done, imagine, close your eyes and think a world where there are no whales, not dolphins, no turtles, fish just straws, bottles, sheets of plastic, buckets, plastic oil drums floating on the sea, washed up on the beach, no more building sand castles or having fun on the beach because of the rotting bodies of whales and other sea animals. How about now more fish and chips, the fish is so contaminated that you cannot eat them because they are so poisoned with plastic chemicals that if you ate fish you would be very sick.
So write to your MSP’s & MP’s your local council, making sure they are doing their job, contact your local radio station and ask them if they would put out a request to all businesses to change to paper straws, it’s a small change but it’s a big step to saving our planet and the life on it, it doesn’t belong to us but we have the responsibility to make sure that we leave it nice and tidy for the next guests on planet earth.
The choice is yours, this planet and animal have no choice.