Sunday, January 5, 2014

The "Blackfish" Blowup

I hope you all have seen the documentary "Blackfish." A must-see, I have to say. Now, if you need to be convinced to see it, let me do the honors...This documentary, whether you agree with the controversy discussed or not, is highlighting a hot topic in the media right now. That would be the topic of the captivity of marine mammals, specifically the majestic killer whale, or orca whale. Yes, these black and white creatures of the seas are and have been in captivity for years now in marine parks. In the documentary, Sea World is targeted. The injuries, mutilations, and killings of trainers and other individuals by captive killer whales are the main conversation in this film. I'm telling you, people blew up about it. Celebrities such as Paris Hilton and Miley Cyrus even tweeted out to their fans to watch the film and see the cruelty. Musical guests backed out on performing at Sea World after seeing the film, such as Willie Nelson and the Barenaked Ladies. Big things are happening. People are talking. You need to see this film.
Russell Brand tweeting after watching "Blackfish."
I have to say after watching this film, I never ever wanted to go to Sea World, just like Russell Brand said in his tweet. Of course I have my own stance on it. It happens to be the popular stance: killer whales, rather any marine mammal period, should not be held in captivity. I don't know what you're thinking, but I'm pretty sure that the reason why these whales are killing and mutilating people is maybe because they are frustrated. They are probably extremely tired, or stressed, or angry at their circumstance. These whales have been separated from their families, sent off to different parts of the globe, and trained to do tricks all their lives. That doesn't sound like a lot of fun to me. And that also doesn't sound like the life that killer whales in the ocean have. Killer whales in their natural habitat are predators. They hunt in packs. They're ridiculously social, just like other whales and dolphins. They have highly developed brains, which means they're smarter than your average starfish. These are beautiful animals that travel far distances every day. But now they're locked up in a cage, a fraction of the space they're used to on a daily basis. Captivity for these intelligent creatures in wrong. Period. No question about it.
People have gone to court over this controversy. This isn't just about the whales anymore. This is about the people who care for them while in captivity. Are they in grave danger while in the water with them? Should they be allowed to swim with them, or just give commands at a distance? Should they be able to interact with these whales at all? Sea World doesn't have any plans to shut down their money-making water parks, believe me. They will fight to keep trainers in contact with the whales because they want to make money. It's a business to them. To me, and to a lot of others that have seen this movie, it's more than that. It's about giving these whales the right quality of life. We cannot play God with them. They live in the ocean; that's where they were when we found them, and that's where they should stay.
I hope you watch the film. It's worth the hour and 23 minutes of your precious time. And if you've seen "Blackfish," what do you think about it? Do you agree with Sea World's claims or not? Maybe this will open our eyes to the many monstrosities that happen that the public never knows about.

For more information on the "Blackfish" blowup, be sure to visit the Blackfish official website.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Earth's Boxing Ring

How beautiful is this world? How mysterious, how huge, how small, how ever-changing, how brilliant, how engaging, how full of wonder, how unfathomable, how gorgeous is this place we live in? I don't know about you, but that question pops into my mind all the time. It's funny, but I feel lucky and privileged to live on earth sometimes. Like it could've been worse. I don't get it myself. Don't you wonder sometimes how this place came to be? Like the detailed sequence of events and what that looked like. I can't even begin to imagine what it would be like to witness the beginning of the existence of the earth. 

"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty; darkness covered the surface of the watery depths, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters. Then God said, 'Let there be light,' and there was light." -Genesis 1:1-3

If you haven't already noticed, my absolute favorite Bible story is the story of creation. It hits home with me, I guess. I just love it! God creating this world and creating us to rule over the earth and its inhabitants. Maybe I love the story so much because I'm a biology nerd. But mostly I love the story because it speaks of my Lord who majestically made the heavens and the earth for His glory and praise. Every thing was made by God. 
You know, there's this huge question that has passed down generation to generation: what's the meaning of life? I know, cheesy and overrated. But, seriously! Come on, I know you've thought about it. Why am I here? And not anywhere else in the universe? We can't just be here accidentally. 

"He [Christ] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation; because by Him everything was created, in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and by Him all things hold together." -Colossians 1:15-17

I think that answers the most famous question of all time right there. How relieving! Who knew that the answer to the meaning of life was in a ~2,000 year old book? 
Anyway, why am I talking about the creation of earth and the meaning of life in a blog? It may seem super weird. Yeah, maybe it is weird, but that's okay. It's my blog, not yours. I don't know, I just like the thought of science, politics, and any other worldly things being fulfilled and answered by the Word of God. There's no separation of church and state, God and nature, Jesus and human. It all comes together for God and God alone. 

There seems to be a competition going on, though. This everlasting competition full of hard-hitting rivalry that pits neighbor against neighbor: God vs. science. I've heard the question before, "Do you believe in God or science?" Well, gosh, that's a hard question. Maybe it's just me, but I've struggled with this question that pops out at me every now and again in different circumstances. My answer to this question is another question: Can't I believe in both?
Now before everyone goes crazy and kicks me out of the church or kicks me out of the research building, let me say what I mean. I don't like the thought of restricting myself in science or restricting myself in the Christian faith. I think they actually compliment each other.
People who put their trust in science alone give themselves a hard task by leaving it up to themselves to solve all the world's questions, biological and universal. How did we get here? When did we get here? Why are we here? Can we answer these questions with science? That's quite a tough task ahead, to answer those by yourselves. We as humans don't understand everything that goes on around us, even though we've inhabited this exact same place for a solid amount of time. 
Believing in the Lord, our Creator, helps tremendously in this gap of the unknown. Knowing that the Lord has created all these organisms around us, but put us above them to rule them; knowing that He has given us spiritual gifts in this life;  knowing that we won't ever fully comprehend why things happen, but that we can trust God; knowing that this earth will someday clear away according to His will...all of Christianity, I think, verifies science. Actually, let's switch that around. Science verifies God. 

"How countless are Your works, Lord! In wisdom You have made them all; the earth is full of Your creatures. Here is the sea, vast and wide, teeming with creatures beyond number—living things both large and small...All of them wait for You to give them their food at the right time. When You give it to them, they gather it; when You open Your hand, they are satisfied with good things. When You hide Your face, they are terrified; when You take away their breath, they die and return to the dust. When You send Your breath, they are created, and You renew the face of the earth." -Psalm 104:24-30

Instead of keeping science and research on one corner of the earth's boxing ring and God on the other, we should try to put them together. I'm pretty sure they won't beat each other up. Actually, I think we are the idiotic ones who are trying to tear them apart and make them rival against one another. They go together; it's a package deal. God and nature. Humans and their Savior. The earth and its Creator. The more we ignore the reality that the earth and all that is in it is reflecting and magnifying its Creator, the more confused we will become.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Women in Christ

I identify myself as a woman in Christ. If you also put yourself in that category, this is for you:

“Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 4:6-7

I know as women, we tend to worry. We tend to over-think things that won’t matter down the road. I do it almost every day! These crazy little things will invade my mind and won’t let me go until I almost go mentally insane. This has always been one of my biggest problems in life, whether it has to do with school work, family, relationships, or whatever else enters my life. 

I can’t stress enough this passage in Philippians. It is such a reassuring text. God is here for us, seeing every little thought pass through our minds. If only we knew how much He loved us! I forget sometimes that I’m allowed to complain. I can just talk to my God about how this next chemistry test is going to be the death of me, so please help my, Lord, to slow down and get a few hours of sleep. God’s peace “surpasses every thought.” What a wonderful truth that we as worrisome women need to hear. 

“Your beauty should not consist of outward things like elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold ornaments or fine clothes; instead, it should consist of the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very valuable in God’s eyes.”
I Peter 3:3-4

How beautiful do you think you are? Do you label yourself as beautiful at all? I know that I definitely don’t jump to that conclusion when I think about my attributes. As women, we are living in a world filled with fake beauty. Beauty that is only skin deep, not penetrating into the soul. I’m here to say that if you have Jesus Christ in your heart, if you believe He is the way, the truth, and the life, you are most indeed beautiful. As Christians, we all have beautiful souls. In Romans it even says “How beautiful the feet of those who bring good news!”

It’s true, our beauty shouldn’t depend upon what we wear. But I want to get to the root of it all. Our beauty should also not be dependent upon others. Let’s face it, women usually depend on what people say about our looks. What we feel on the inside relies heavily upon what people in our circles of influence say about us. It makes me so mad, too! Whenever I stray from my God and His Word, I automatically replace it with what others say about me. Sometimes it isn’t even what people say to us; maybe it’s just how people act around us, or if they talk to us at all. I know I’m not alone in this. 

This is definitely true with members of the opposite sex. I’m as much guilty of this as the next girl, believe me. If a guy thinks of you as attractive, you feel a lot better about yourself! You may think, “Well, gosh, I didn’t know someone out there liked any of this!” It’s nice to hear words of affirmation, whether it be about your physical appearance or your personality. It could be just the way you carry yourself that attracts certain guys. Anyways, all I’m saying is this: We can’t depend upon guys to make us feel better about ourselves! Our beauty doesn’t rely on your next crush, your boyfriend, your fiance, your husband. We as women rooted in Christ have placed our hope, our thoughts, our lives in the hands of our Lord. Shouldn’t we also place our beauty in His hands as well?

“An unmarried woman or a virgin is concerned about the things of the Lord, so that she may be holy both in body and in spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the things of the world—how she may please her husband. Now I [Paul] am saying this is for your own benefit, not to put a restraint on you, but because of what is proper, and so that you may be devoted to the Lord without distraction.”
I Corinthians 7:34-35

I really wanted to put the whole passage of I Corinthians 7:25-40! I challenge you to read that; it’s so good. This is obviously for the single ladies out there, such as myself. In college, I’m seeing a lot of people going off and getting married. It’s ridiculous! I’m just like, “Slow down, y’all! It’s not a race to see who can have the most kids by 25!” Of course I get jealous of these beautiful girls who are getting proposed to during the summer on the beach and getting swept off their feet and all that romantic stuff. I can’t help but wonder when that will happen to me. But then I realize: I am not content in my walk with the Lord because of this.

As Christian women, we need to be “concerned about the things of the Lord,” as Paul says. Anything else is a distraction. Yes, this includes our guy problems. I like when Paul says that his words aren’t to put a restraint on us; it’s for our benefit that he says these encouraging and uplifting statements. Paul never got married. He is the perfect example of staying the course of single life. Expounding upon that, he is also in general a wonderful example of keeping rooted in Christ.

I know that younger single women like myself will sometimes say, “If only I could just find my husband already and marry him. Things would be so much simpler. I wouldn’t have to worry about trying to find him!” What if we changed this statement to, “If only I could just be content with what God has given me in my life.” This mindset would drastically change the way we live our lives as women. 

The only thing we need to depend on is God. For we know from Romans that “all things work together for the good of those who love God; those who are called according to His purpose.” All things. This include the little stuff we worry about. This includes the family problems we have. This includes all the petty boy problems we have. All things. It all works together for our good. Hallelujah, what a beautiful truth.

On my last note, I hope and pray that these words will be of encouragement to any and all women who love the Lord. We need to see our beauty through the eyes of our Creator, not through the eyes of His creation, which is surely passing away. Know that you are greatly loved by the King.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

A Sea of Mystery

So sorry that I haven't written anything in a while. Life's been quite hectic lately, to put it simply. A lot of people have been asking me lately what my views on Auburn are since I've applied there and such. Well, I don't know. I really just have no idea. Like no idea. I have hunches every now and then on what I should do, but never a pressing, undeniable, adamant, "Yes, I need to stay where I am," or, "I need to move on to Auburn." I'm going to keep praying about it. Thinking about it on my own is just going to make me go insane. I mean, more insane.
For those of you who don't know, the ocean is a mysterious and dangerous place. Let's face it. We might as well go ahead and call it another planet. This body of water is filled with all kinds of weird and alien-like organisms. The surface of the moon has been more traversed than the Earth's ocean floor. In short, we have no idea as humans what's going on down there in "our" seas. Hopefully I can illuminate as much as I can to the public what I already know/what I learn along my way. 
I will attempt to delight you with a few marine organisms you may have never learned about in detail, let alone heard of or seen. You may have heard of a certain organism before, but maybe never actually known about them. Let the education begin!

Humboldt Squid

The very elusive Humboldt squid.
How can I begin to tell you about the Humboldt squid...What an interesting animal to learn about! They usually live in the ocean depths; however, they rise up to the surface of the water at night to feed and do other mysterious things. They are extremely violent and attack not only their prey, which could be each other, but also divers and even boats. Scientists also think they have complex forms of communication via chromatophores in their skin. These chromatophores are known to change colors very quickly. The squid flash from red to white back and forth like a strobe light. There are different sequences, probably filled with messages to one another pertaining to who knows what. Hunting? Their stance with each other, whether it be civil or evil? Mating intentions? It could be many things. In southern California and Mexico the local fishermen call the Humboldt squid the "diablo rojo" or "red devil." Not many scientists and cameramen are courageous or crazy enough to jump into the water with these guys. Think about it, you're in the ocean amidst multitudes of cannibalistic squid darting at 15 mph. Oh, and they're known for attacking humans on the drop of a hat for no reason. I'd consider the Humboldt more frightening than sharks if you ask me.

Mola Mola (Ocean Sunfish)

The mola mola sunfish.

The mola mola is one of 3 species of sunfish. I've personally never seen such a marine animal quite like it. They are called many different names; the French call them moon fish, the Germans the swimming head, and the Taiwanese even call it the toppled car fish. I like the swimming head name the best! The mola mola is considered the largest bony fish in the world, weighing up to over 2 tons. Its skin feels like sandpaper (like a ray or a shark), but covered in a layer of slimy mucus. The mola mola is actually the most common species of sunfish; its cousins are very rare and seldom seen by humans. Their skin can be completely white, to freckled, to strikingly spotted patterns. These fish become extremely infested with parasites as well. They will invite other smaller fish and even birds to come onto their skin and eat the parasites. Some people have even seen them breaching to shake the pests. Now that'd be a sight to see. Their diet consists of jellyfish, algae, and other small planktonic organisms. Obviously they swim extremely awkwardly. I mean, come on, just look at their appearance! I would definitely call these guys gentle giants. No attacks on humans have ever been recorded. They are more curious than anything, readily approaching divers. I would love to swim with one someday.

Flying Fish

A flying fish, well, flying.

We've all heard of them at least once in our lives. I didn't know that they actually existed until a few years ago; I thought it was all just stories. These fish don't literally fly, however. Sorry to burst your bubble! They glide over the water more than anything. They can get enough height and speed to regularly land on ship decks, though. Just imagine sailing on a yacht in the middle of the ocean and all of the sudden it starts raining fish. Now that's what I call a vacation. Anyway, these fish have diet of mainly plankton and other small organisms. There are about 40 different species of flying fish, and they aren't endangered or anything like that. To "fly," they will build up a lot of speed in the water (over 30 mph) right before they break through the water's surface. Once they break through, they sort of wiggle their tail back and forth to gain speed. The longest recorded "flight time" for a flying fish is just over 1,300 feet. What a distance!

The ocean is full of mystery and wonder. So many gorgeous and fascinating creatures cover this planet and fill its seas; we are so fortunate to have this much knowledge about our world. I believe we will never fully realize the extent of the ocean's diversity in my lifetime, or maybe even ever. 
God's creation, not only in the ocean but in general, is so interesting and telling of His power. It sounds weird, but learning about this earth and its biological contents can be a form of worship. Just sitting back and seeing how many wonderful things He has made really puts life into perspective. I must be a legitimate science nerd if I'm worshiping through it! 
Just think about it. Wouldn't it be something if we came to know the full extent of the living things in the seas of mystery? 

Friday, October 19, 2012

But Him

I just went to an awesome poetry reading, so I'm feeling really artsy. And I usually don't feel that way. Odd. But, still, when these spurts of artsiness consume my brain, I have to get it out of my system. So I will do this. I will do this through a poem. 
I hate poetry, by the way. Just reading and talking about it in a classroom setting. But if I'm just hearing it or reading it leisurely (which almost never happens), I kind of enjoy it. Kind of.
This is my shot at some poetry writing. I wrote it because I love fall. And fall reminds me of different things. It reminds me of different things in life. I overanalyze, I know. Anyway, I hope you enjoy it.

"But Him"   

Falling down.
Falling dreams.
Falling love, falling hate.
Falling colors, red, yellow, brown.
Those leaves are falling,
My dreams are calling,
To me,
My dreams are screaming, falling.
I try to catch them.
They slip out through my fingers.
I am watching them fall to the ground.
They disintegrate,
They are gone.
I am screaming, dreaming, falling.
Alone I cry out.
I cry, for I am falling.
I am screaming,
I am falling.
Now I am but a dream, falling.
Falling down,
Calling out,
I stop.
My heart falls into my stomach,
My brain turns to mush,
My hands, they start trembling,
I am trembling.
But I am not falling.
A Man, a Light,
Looks into my eyes, my soul.
My soul looks at His soul,
His soul at mine.
I am not falling.
He keeps me in His hands,
His enormous, silky soft hands,
His warm, weird, wonderful hands.
His fingers wrap around my soul
As if it were but a wisp of hot air,
And He catches me.
He catches me.
He caught me.
He bought me.
He loved me.
He loves me.
I am not falling.
His eyes look into my eyes, my soul.
My soul looks at His soul,
His soul at mine.
I am captured.
No, I am enraptured.
My body may be fractured,
But my soul,
My soul is enraptured.
I am not falling.
For I was falling,
wasn't I?
I was falling, calling, screaming,
falling in the darkness,
calling for a witness,
screaming for…
I had seen my dreams falling,
they were falling.
They had fallen.
They fell.
BOOM. They had disintegrated.
My dreams.
MY dreams.
Those leaves,
colors of red, yellow, brown.
They had fallen down.
I had fallen down. 
I was falling into darkness,
I was screaming,
I was calling,
And falling,
But Him.

Monday, October 15, 2012

For Science!

I have found how much I truly enjoy/hate every single hour away from school. The few hours I get at home are essential to my sanity, yet are saturated with thoughts consisting of, "When I get back to school, I need to..." and , "I wish I were back at school just because of..." 
Is that weird? I feel like it is, but it isn't at the same time. This paradoxical situation in my brain can be illustrated through the famous video game of Pong. Maybe I should be put in a mental institution of some sort so I can "get my life together" or at least agree with myself. I've talked to friends in the same scenario, and they've kind of admitted to this; however, I feel like I may be the only one in the extreme version of the mental state. Lord, may you keep me sane just until this semester ends!
I have yet another project in speech I feel obligated to inform you of. I unfortunately have to present a highly technical topic in an academic field and "dumb it down" so that a public audience of a high school education can understand it fully. That, I have learned through these past couple days, is easier said than done. I take this as a challenge to educate the masses of extremely complicated areas in marine biology. This won't be as awful and tortuous if I just think of this as a battle, me on the good side and masses of uneducated people on the other. I scream out as I run into the massacre, "For science!" (I won't, sadly, scream that out right before I present my technical topic in class this Thursday. I know you're disappointed.)
Phytoplankton bloom taken by NASA.
My technical topic is on oceanic iron fertilization. It sounds really interesting and boring at the same time. That's why I picked it! I learned about this through a professor in the chemistry department and became very intrigued by it. Pretty much, this guy named John Martin in the 80s and 90s hypothesized that if iron is added to the oceans, phytoplankton (like algae and diatoms) would grow like crazy and photosynthesize like crazy as well. The process of photosynthesis, if you don't know, takes in carbon dioxide as it produces oxygen. So, think about it. With more phytoplankton that photosynthesize, there would be more oxygen production and carbon dioxide absorption. Then the phytoplankton eventually die and sink to the bottom of the ocean, along with the carbon dioxide. Bam, there's the answer to the carbon dioxide problem for our atmosphere. Right? Is it really that easy of a fix?
Of course it isn't. Please don't tell me you've fallen for it! The ocean is a complicated place, so we can't just go out on a boat and hope to God that when we throw in 1,000 tons of iron, no one will get hurt and everything's as it should be. 
Let's look at this a little closer. Over the years there have been multiple research expeditions that have tested this whole idea. Some have been huge successes, like the pioneer expedition in 1994, and some have been complete busts, like one of the latest endeavors this century. I believe this has happened because the system in the experiments have been the ocean. The ocean is huge. And convoluted. And weird. And mysterious. And wild. Do you get where I'm going? No matter how many calculations and equations, the natural environment of our oceans will do whatever it wants. 
The successful expeditions have seen the following happen: the scientists carefully monitor a certain amount of dissolvable iron with chemicals and GPS systems injected into an area of the ocean once "iron-deficient." They observe an immediate phytoplankton bloom because of the iron, which dissipates after a short amount of time (like a few days). A large portion of carbon dioxide was absorbed in this time frame of the bloom.
The less-than-successful expeditions have seen something like this: the scientists throw in the iron. They watch the phytoplankton bloom as the others before them have seen. Zooplankton and copepods (predators that gorge themselves on phytoplankton) then eat all the phytoplankton from the bloom. Oops. That wasn't in the script. Just goes to show how the food chain and the forces of nature are above anything we do. 
Pseudo-nitschia, a producer of domoic acid.
Also, experts have come to observe another negative aspect in this tested hypothesis. One of the species of phytoplankton in the bloom has been the Pseudo-nitschia. Scary. These guys are known to produce a neurotoxin called domoic acid. This is toxic to other animals as well as humans. If the blooms produce huge amounts of toxic plankton, then maybe we should step back and think about the negative affects. Scientists don't even really know all the consequences of high levels of domoic acid in the ecosystem. Obviously many things will die, but how will that affect humans? Will it affect the overall toxicity of fish? Will we be swimming in a toxic ocean? Will the oceanic food chain become lop-sided? Who knows.
So, what do you think? Should experts be tossing iron into the ocean? What if they do it in the name of science? I told you that the ocean is complicated. The answers relating to situations in the ocean should be complicated as well. 
I really enjoyed learning about this subject. There's more information out there online if you want to look into it. Judge it for yourself. I know you're going to research it yourself for hours! You just can't wait to start learning, right? Nah, I know you better than that.
This subject is much more complicated than I just summarized. There are scholarly papers on iron fertilization that zoom right over my head in one sentence. Hopefully I can simplify this into something more fitting for a public audience. The ideal person I can present this to is my 80-something year old grandmother. Now that right there will be a make it or break it moment that tests how simple I have really made it. Wish me luck on my presentation! For science!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Whaling Down to a Science

Ahh, what a relief to be back home! Relaxation at its finest, people. I can actually go a couple minutes without thinking about my next calculus test or literature paper. Now that's saying something. Of course, all good things must come to an end. This good thing will come to an end in the next 24 hours, sadly. Then back to school for another couple of weeks. Oh, the life of a college student.
Currently I'm in a communications class and I'm working on a small speech due this upcoming week. I get the amazing chance to talk about something I care about! Guess what it is? Whales! And how whales are being negatively affected by humans! Yeah, bleak. It truly is a sad story of decline and ruin in the whale populations. Let me tell you about what I'm going to say! This could be good practice for me, even though I'm not standing in front of all of you and speaking it aloud. Just imagine it. I'm supposed to talk for a maximum of 2 minutes; I don't think my teacher understands the magnitude of fascination I have with this subject. He may have to give me like 20 minutes to talk about it, at least! 
Diver and Humpback whale.
Whales. We all have come to know them as the biggest mammals in the world. This is correct. Actually, the biggest animal in the history of the world is the blue whale, which still roams the planet's seas today. Most people don't know more than that about them, though. Hopefully I can help change that today. 
These amazing animals are extremely intelligent. In fact, the sperm whale is known to have the largest brain in the animal kingdom. They have a beautiful, other-worldly form of communication that can echo through the ocean deep for literally hundreds of miles. People comment that their audible communication sounds lyrical or like that of singing a song. They don't only communicate verbally; they can also communicate through gestures such as tail-slapping or breaching. Socially, their ways of hunting and migrating are incredibly complex. Some species hunt alone, like sperm whales, but many will hunt in groups called pods. It is essential that they communicate with each other to obtain food for themselves. Also, touching on their intelligence, they can learn very quickly. Their "cousins," shall I say, the smaller cetaceans such as dolphins and porpoises, have been known to learn and be easily trained for entertainment purposes for the masses. As humans, we don't have a clue how truly intelligent these marine mammals are.
Throughout history, whales have been hunted. They have been hunted by many different people groups for many different reasons. Some hunted for whale blubber or oil. Others hunted for the bones or just purely the meat itself. They would use these whale parts for oil in lamps, clothing, food, and tools and other crafts. So, why have whales been in decline just recently if they have been hunted for centuries? It all comes down to traditional whaling technique versus commercial.
Killing pilot whales is tradition in the Faroe Islands. (1981)
Traditionally, small groups of people would go out on a small boat and wrangle in a whale to beach itself. Some hunters even learned how to use certain weapons, like handmade harpoons and knives, against the mammals while in the sea to successfully kill them. Obviously through these types of whale slaughter, the populations of whales species didn't drastically decline.
Commercial whaling is a much different and wilder mutation of traditional whaling. Technological advances over the years have pushed the envelope. Pretty much, the act of killing is put down to a science. Quotas are estimated. Ways of killing are perfected. Mass killing by sending out fleets of ships is formulated. Over the recent decades, certain countries have developed their killing methods to perfection, so much so that the whales are on the brink of endangerment and extinction. Ecological damage is much more prevalent with modern-day whaling compared to traditional.
The IWC, or International Whaling Commission, has been in existence since the 1940s. This organization brings countries together to meetings based on the subject of preserving whale populations. In 1986, the IWC made a moratorium (temporary prohibiting of something) on commercial whaling. Here's the catch: if the whale hunting is used for research purposes, then it is permissible. That's the "loop hole" that certain countries took advantage of, specifically Iceland, Norway, and Japan.
Japan is now the big name in whaling. It's been getting huge amounts of press on the subject lately. They still have a government funded operation that sends a fleet of ships down to the Southern Ocean to hunt whales annually. Usually their quota is about 900 to 1,000 whales, just recently including 50 of the endangered humpback whales. They claim this is for scientific research. They are taking blood samples. They are checking their stomach contents. However, they're packing up and shipping off the whale meat to be sold in Japanese markets for profit. How does that make any sense?
Packaged whale meat in Japan.
Anyway, no one should be eating whale meat in the first place. It's toxic. Yeah, it's toxic. Whales and other big marine predators of the ocean, like sharks and tuna, have large amounts of mercury in their bodies. This is because of the smaller creatures they eat that contain mercury as well. The amount of mercury will get larger and larger as the animal is a bigger predator. So, if you eat whale meat, just remember that you're deliberately putting toxic levels of mercury in your body.
Thankfully there are activists and organizations out there that say enough is enough. These intelligent creatures are being murdered and eaten, and for who to benefit? Certainly not them. And certainly not us as consumers because of their meat's toxicity. 
Be sure to check out the Causes tab and learn about the some organizations that combat issues like these. Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and GreenPeace are the big ones. Thanks for letting me practice my whole speech on you guys! I have a feeling this will need to be trimmed down a lot for my 2 minute boundary...

Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More

Powered by Blogger