When I think about people killing whales, the first things that pops into my
mind is the Japanese whaling fleet. These bad actors kill thousands of
whales calling it research, and they call their whaling ships research
vessels. But I don't need to demonize the Japanese for their addiction
to whale flesh. Greenpeace does an admirable jobs of monitoring their
assault on Water World.
Let's talk about the lower profile whale killers. These are people who
throw garbage bags and plastic bags into the ocean while offshore.
When Whales ingest the plastic bags, it kills them just as dead as a
Japanese harpoon. That's what happened to this whale on the beach at
the Exumas Land and Sea Park. A plastic bag killed him.
Thirty years ago, I took a Caribbean cruise on a luxurious ocean liner.
We enjoyed an exciting day in Saint Thomas and as the sun set, we headed out
to sea. Around eleven pm, I was standing on deck and heard a strange
plopping sound coming from below. To my astonishment, I saw the cruise
ship crew throw dozens of large black garbage bags into the sea. They
left a lethal cookie crumb trail of whale killing plastic bags under the
cover of darkness. I always wondered where those plastic bags went.
Now I know; whales ate them.
Plastic bags are ubiquitous. I have seen them floating in the
Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian oceans; they are in every part of the world.
In Saudi Arabia, plastic bags blow endlessly across the desert sands.
They are non-biodegradable nomads that know the secrets of the farthest
reaches of the Empty Quarter.
During our circumnavigation of the world, hardly a day went by when I didn't
see plastic bags in the water. Even in the middle of the ocean they
are present because they drift with the current. Plastic bags can
travel twenty-five to one-hundred miles a day. It took me eleven years
to sail around the world, and a plastic bag can cover the same mileage in a
fraction of the time as they ride the ocean currents.
If I was a research chemist working in a plastic bag factory, I would
dedicate my life to creating a biodegradable plastic bag - one that
disintegrated in a few weeks when exposed to ultraviolet radiation from the
sun. The whales and sea turtles would nominate me for the Nobel prize
in chemistry, and I would become rich and famous.
Just because I'm not rich, famous, or a chemist, doesn't mean I can't help
protect the whales. First, I won't make the situation worse by
throwing plastic bags into the water, and second, I will use my website to
tell people to dispose of their plastic garbage in a responsible manner that
doesn't threaten whales and sea turtles.
God made a beautiful world, and populated it with awesome
creatures. Then He turned the world over to us, and we must protect it
from ourselves. We have met the enemy and he is us. That means
there is hope. After all, it's not aliens from outer space that are
destroying our world. We have the power to stop the downward spiral of
destruction. We can stop killing the whales and cutting the
rainforests. We can stop destroying habitat.
The biosphere is smaller than most people think. It goes only a few
feet beneath the soil and water surface, and a few hundred feet into the sky.
Although planet earth may be large, the biosphere is small and fragile, and
we are the only ones who can protect it.
The world still is a beautiful place, and life still is good. Let's
keep it that way.