I want to issue a challenge. Not to the whalers, but to all the organizations such as Friends of the Earth that fought so hard to achieve the moratorium on commercial whaling to revisit that victory and see what the current challenge to the moratorium means for the environmental movement.
I once interviewed a senior bureaucrat in the Japanese Far Sea's Fisheries Department about his role and Japan's addiction to whaling. What struck me was that whilst he personally was a vocal representative of the Japanese Government on whaling, often being interviewed and actually outspoken in his opinions, when I switched off the interview tape and asked him his personal views, he sighed and told me he thought that the whole things was the biggest waste of time for Japan.
He explained that he thought that there were lots of issues that he felt
Japan had a real right to fight over, but whaling – well, it just
wasn’t one of those issues.
So why would Japan fight so hard for something that was not important, I
environment as a whole. It was about the principle that nothing was out
of reach. That nothing was beyond human ability to consume and utilize.
The threat to the moratorium is therefore a threat to the whole
principle of the environmental movement. At a time when some would argue
that climate change will be solved by technology or that it's not
even a real problem, I pose a challenge to the whole of the
maybe greatest victory to date, to the history books. If the whalers
win this battle, it will be a shot in the arm for those who believe they
can overturn anything in the environmental debate.
The whales were the symbol of an emergent environmental movement. Lets
make sure they are not its epitaph too .