Posts Tagged ‘conservation’

Listen to this Green Air Minute:

Whale Warriors: The Sea Shepherd returns to port

by The Green A-Team

A battle is being waged on the frigid Antarctic seas in the name of whales.

An idea that’s drastically evolved from a gimmicky slogan for novelty t-shirts, saving the whales is a job the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society regards with absolutely selfless solidarity.

Since it’s maiden voyage in 1979, the Sea Shepherd has been patrolling international waters defending the destruction of protected marine habitats in attempt to thwart illegal hunting and prolong the survival of dwindling populations of seals, sharks, and most notably, whales.

Just back from his recent Antarctic anti-whaling campaign, Captain Paul Watson talks of his experience.

We have to be very cautious in these campaigns.  The Japanese whalers are just out of control.  They were hitting us with high-powered water cannons, nuts and bolts, and pieces of lead and strangely… golf balls.  We can’t even defend our own lives without being criticized by our governments for being too, so-called extremist.

Now a reality television series called Whale Wars, Captain Watson and his ecological pirate ship can be seen on Animal Planet.

For our full interview with Captain Watson, click here.

Have a look at some more eye-popping photos from aboard the Steve Irwin below.

Photos courtesy of Adam Lau/Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.

[Post to Twitter]   [Post to Digg]   [Post to Reddit]   [Post to StumbleUpon]
Make Current  

Captain Paul Watson, Founder of Sea Shepherd

by The Green A-Team

We are tremendously fortunate to have the chance to speak with a true environmental hero, selflessly active in the defense of international marine life, Captain Paul Watson.  He is the founder of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and co-founding director of the Greenpeace Foundation.  He’s just returned from his most recent Antarctic anti-whaling campaign and joins us now from dry land.  Captain Watson, thank you so much for joining us.

Q: Generally,how much planning and resources go into an anti-whaling campaign of your design?

A: Our campaign to Antartica which starts in early December and goes through to almost March or sometimes into March, well, we start planning as soon as we get back which is like right now but for the next season.

Q: Does that also include campaigns in support of seals and sharks and dolphins, etc.?

A: No, we have a full time campaign in the Galapagos and a full time director down there working on that because down there we’re managing a patrol boat, we have our own canine unit to sniff out shark fins at the airports.  They have a whole network of informants and we’re working in partnership with the national police and the rangers to stop poachers

Q: What were some of the most notable achievements during the most recent Operation Musashi?

A: We were able to chase the Japanese fleet for three weeks in December and January then we returned for fuel and came back and chased them again so altogether we stopped their whaling operations for about five and a half weeks which is gonna have a considerable impact on their quota and certainly their profits.  This year they tested our resolve, really, because we can’t catch the harpoon vessels but what we can do is block the processing vessel, the Nisshan Maru, we settle ourselves right in the stern so they can’t load any whales.  This year, for the first time, they killed five whales while we were there and tried to load them and we blocked them and that resulted in three different collisions with the harpoon vessels.  So certainly they tested us and when we didn’t back down, they didn’t try that again.

Q: Were the collisions with the Steve Irwin or with smaller vessels you had?

A: The collisions were with the Steve Irwin and two or three of the harpoon vessels.  The harpoon vessels are the same size as the Steve Irwin so it’s really collisions between thousand ton ships.

Q: Any sustaining damage to the Steve Irwin itself?

A: We had some tearing and denting of the hull which will be about $25,000 in welding repairs I think and there was damage to the other vessels too but nothing that was life threatening.  We have to be very very cautious in these campaigns and the problem this year was that the Japanese whalers are just out of control.  I had to get out of there because they were gonna kill somebody or get one of themselves killed and they’re just really demonstrating just how frustrated they were with the fact that we were able to prevent them from doing that.  They were hitting us with high-powered water cannons, throwing nuts and bolts and pieces of lead and strangely, golf balls.  And also, they were hitting us with this acoustic weapon called an alradder, a long range acoustical device and that was extremely disorienting and it was really irresponsible of them to actually aim it at our helicopter pilot on three occasions which could bring down an aircraft.  So they were acting very dangerously but the thing is, they can do anything, they could injure us, they could kill us and their government’s gonna justify and defend everything they do.  We can’t even defend our own lives without being criticized by our governments for being too, so-called, extremist.

Q: Well you’ve got the Australian and Japanese governments breathing down your neck about your actions, do you expect their military forces ever to become involved in one of your campaigns?

A: Well, that’s always possible that they can send their military down, it would be a violation of the Antarctic treaty, but the one great thing is that we have the support of the people, the overwhelming support of the people in Australia and New Zealand and the government can only hassle us so much.  I mean, they certainly wouldn’t dare arrest us or put us on trial for doing what they promised to do before they were elected.  This new Australian government, their new election process was put out by Peter Garrett who was the former singer for Midnight Oil who’s now the Environment Minister and he said that his government would take Japan to court, would take an aggressive stand against Japan, (to see that they) would stop whaling, and ever since he’s been elected, they’ve reneged on that promise and did actually nothing; they’ve done less than the government they’re criticizing.

Q: Doesn’t surprise me.  Now, the ship was raided by Australian police upon your return and I understand the video tapes from Animal Planet’s crew were among the most precious items confiscated.  What is to be the fate of this record?

A: Well, of course the people of Australia are outraged that the Australian police raided us and they met us when we arrived and they had a warrant to seize property.  They took our log book, 157 video tapes, plus hard drives on the computers and they said there were acting on the Japanese complaint and I said, well you know I put in a compliant about Japan assaulting our crew and I don’t see you acting on our complaint.  And they said, well we have an obligation under international law to uphold that which we are signatory to and I said, well then how come you’re not upholding the Antarctic Treaty, the regulations if the International Whaling Commission, and the Convention on International Trade and Endangered Species, why do you pick this one?  Of course, they didn’t have any answer for that.  But we don’t anticipate anything will actually develop about it.  There’s just no way they’re gonna arrest us in Australia for doing what everybody in Australia wants to see done but there’s a lot of pressure from Japan because Japan’s a big trading partner with Australia and with everybody else really, it’s a big economic bully and usually Japan gets what Japan wants and we’re simply not going to back down to them.

Q: You recently spoke at the University of Tasmania and alluded to the connections between the Japanese whaling industry and the Australian logging industry. Can you elaborate a little bit on how those two industries intertwine?

A: Twenty percent of all the paper that’s manufactured in Japan comes from Tasmanian forests and there’s a big environmental movement in Tasmania to stop the clear cutting of the old growth forests there and because 20% comes from Tasmania, that gives them a lot of economic leverage and so they’re able to put pressure on Australia to support their whaling by saying, well, we’re not gonna buy your wood chips if you’re not gonna take action against Sea Shepherd.  So it’s really put the Australians between a rock and a hard place, they’re trying to satisfy the will of their own people when at the same time, appease the Japanese economic interest so they don’t know which way to turn there.

Q: That’s a pickle. In regard to the earth’s ecosystems, you’re quoted as stating, “It’s a train that carries all the earth’s species as unwilling passengers with humans as the manically insane engineers unwilling to use the brake pedal.”  In what ways can your views on birth suppression and the “Holocenic hominid collective suicide event” be practically applied?

A: You know, if I had an answer to that, I’d get the Nobel Prize I’m sure but the fact is I’m just saying there’s a problem here and that problem is that we’re violating the laws of ecology, the law of diversity, the law of interdependence, the law of finite natural resources.  There’s simply not enough resources on the planet to support an ever-expanding human population and as a result of that, we’re stealing carrying capacity from other species and they’re going extinct and that means we’re living right now in the sixth major extinction event in the history of the planet and we’re responsible for that.  It’s even got a name, it’s called the Holocene, and we’ll lose more species of plants and animals between 1980 and 2045 in a 65 year period of time than we’ve lost in the last 65 million years and we’ve gotta stop that otherwise we’re gonna be on that list.  And so we’re gonna have to find some answers: we’re gonna have to reduce the amount of resources that we’re taking and the only way we’re going to do that is to reduce population.  Now every time I talk about that, the right wingers get on me that I wanna exterminate 5 or 6 billion people and that’s not the case.  I think that we have to take a responsible approach to this and cut down on our birth rates over the next two generations or else, nature will do it for us and nature won’t be very kind.

Photo by the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.

[Post to Twitter]   [Post to Digg]   [Post to Reddit]   [Post to StumbleUpon]
Make Current  

Sea Shepherd confronts Japanese illegal whalers in the Ross Sea

by The Green A-Team

Video by guano.

[Post to Twitter]   [Post to Digg]   [Post to Reddit]   [Post to StumbleUpon]
Make Current  

Listen to this Green Air Minute:

Cape Wind: Clean energy vs. conservation

by The Green A-Team

Conservation collides with clean energy in a calamatous climate kerfoffel on Cape Cod.

Cape Wind has become Cape Fear for some Massachusetts coastal residents, including some at the posh Kennedy compound, but for wind energy advocates, this is one US project that’s creating more fanfare than fright.

Slated to be the first offshore wind farm in the continental US, Cape Wind will provide 130 mammoth turbines in the middle of the Nantucket Sound.  These energy generating windmills will deliver 420 megawatts of clean power, enough to to supply 75% of the region’s energy needs.

While this excites islanders looking to clean up their energy consumption, this project does have it’s critics.  An organization called Save Our Sound claims there are significant wildlife and safety hazards like interference with the 400,000 flights that traverse that air space.

Cape Wind plans to address those concerns and suggests a radar upgrade could eliminate the hazard.  This maneuver and stimulus billions available to support the project may get the wind farm’s propellers going after all.

For the latest on the Cape Wind controversy, visit some of the following links:

Cape Wind proposal clears big obstacle (Boston Globe)

A day at the beach remains unspoiled (Springfield Republican)

Cape Wind will proceed in face of political hot air (Worcester Telegram)

Cape Wind foes spent $2 million on lobbying (National Journal - Under the Influence)

Photo by rich_awn.

[Post to Twitter]   [Post to Digg]   [Post to Reddit]   [Post to StumbleUpon]
Make Current  

Listen to this Green Air Minute:

Bush saves an ocean on his way out

by The Green A-Team

In like a lion and out like a lamb.  An unlikely green super-hero emerges to protect the fragile seas.

The Bush administration may not be remembered for it’s ground breaking conservation efforts but just before his departure from office, President Bush effectively protected a whopping 195,000 square miles of the central Pacific’s untouched ocean oasis.  With the stroke of a pen, the President set aside an area the size of his home state of Texas as the largest swath of protected ocean on the planet.

And Bush didn’t skimp on the protection either: these marine monuments are granted the highest level of conservation, prohibiting commercial fishing, mining, and drilling of this newly safeguarded underwater Yellowstone.  While the initial proposed ocean and island plot was over 700,000 square miles, Bush’s declaration went above and beyond expectations and is still a huge and important initiative.

Only recently have we come to discover the finite nature of our ocean as a natural resource and it’s efforts like this we hope will endure through our emerging administration.

For a look at the largest marine monument on earth, check out some of these images:

Photo by Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.

Slideshow by volcanojw.

[Post to Twitter]   [Post to Digg]   [Post to Reddit]   [Post to StumbleUpon]
Make Current  

Elephant poo paper cleans up

by Rich Awn

For no other reason than this kinda made me chuckle when I first caught wind of it on and then again when thepoopoopaper Twittered me, it seemed irresistibly interesting.  Turns out this elephant dung paper ain’t no joke but a potent little eco craze that’s helping keep these mammoth beasts thriving in the wild.

The diet of an elephant consists mainly of fruits, fibrous grasses and bamboo.  These plants can be used to make paper on their own but requires a rather toxic process to achieve what an elephant’s digestive system does on its own.  What’s left behind is the undigested plant matter that is first washed, combined with some other plant fibers, molded into “cakes” or “wafers”, left out in the sun to dry, and then peeled off it’s tray to make poop paper products!

The process is as brilliant as it is beneficial.  The dung used is collected from conservation parks creating a clean environment for the animals while the whole process from elephant grazing to paper raising creates jobs down the entire line.  The Elephant Poo Paper Company, Ltd. even goes so far as to donate a portion of your purchase from their “Poo-tique” to elephant conservation services worldwide.

Who knew poo could be so cool?  Hooray!

[Post to Twitter]   [Post to Digg]   [Post to Reddit]   [Post to StumbleUpon]
Make Current  

Listen to this Green Air Minute:

Birds killed by windmills: Fact or foul?

by The Green A-Team

Birds killed by windmills.

Should construction on new wind farms be stopped?

As we race to live the dream of clean energy we are confronted with obstacles on every front, whether it be inefficient technology, flawed design, or in the case of wind energy, bird life.

James Castle is a Lecturer in the Department of Environmental Studies at San Jose State University and an expert in a bird kill study at Altamont Pass, known to be one of the most notorious sites for avian mortality.

The industry itself is actually helping out.  They are shutting down wind turbines in the winter when the largest amount of birds are passing through.  They also have improved some of the new designs so that they reduced the impact on birds.

As windmill design has improved with larger, slower moving blades easily dodged by flying birds, the hazard to these animals has begun to diminish.  Wind energy remains one of our greatest hopes of achieving clean energy independence and the risk to wildlife has certainly been taken into consideration as we progress.

For more on wind energy and the birds at risk, try out some of the following links:

Santa Cruz Predatory Bird Research Group

Altamont Pass, California (The Encyclopedia of the Earth)

The Deadly Toll of Wind Power (San Francisco Chronicle)

Putting Wind Power’s Effect on Birds in Perspective (AWEA)

Photo by Charlene Burge.

[Post to Twitter]   [Post to Digg]   [Post to Reddit]   [Post to StumbleUpon]
Make Current  

Do Environmentalists Dream of Green Sheep?

by Christine Zhuang

Full Guardian article here.

A few months ago, one of the biggest news stories of the year hit the press. Photos of a “lost tribe” were circulated and piqued the interests of everyone from anthropologists to tinfoil-hat conspiracy theorists. Accompanying the photos of men in red paint huddled outside their straw huts were accounts of savagery that included shooting arrows at helicopters. This was a fantastical story that had people salivating.

But that was exactly the case. It was all a fantasy. This is not to say that the tribe really consisted of out-of-work actors on a back lot in Hollywood. However, the lost tribe was not exactly lost. Photographer José Carlos Meirelles admitted that he only sold the photos as an attempt to bring awareness to deforestation; not exactly the typical reason for creating media hoaxes.

This event reveals a new aspect to the plight of the environmentalist and several questions beg to be asked. Is sensationalism the only way to get us to pay attention? How far will other environmentalists go for their agenda to see light? And are we really so apathetic to issues regarding the Earth that we will act only to pretend-play Indiana Jones?

It is a bit pathetic to think that we need shock tactics for us to come to realizations with what we are doing as a population and the effects these actions have. Maybe it is our mundane (as well as hectic) lifestyles that push seemingly frivolous environmental agendas to the back of our minds. Or maybe, we simply don’t care. And in that case, José Carlos Meirelles has started a new wave of environmental activism that can actually make us sit up and take notice.

Photo courtesy of Harcourt Books.

[Post to Twitter]   [Post to Digg]   [Post to Reddit]   [Post to StumbleUpon]
Make Current