For 2019 to be a Happy New Year, We need to seriously consider Captain Paul Watson’s thoughts of Wisdom

“AMAZON PINK DOLPHIN” 26/12/2018

 

Introduction by Pieter Jan Brouwer

My relationship with Paul Watson has been one of flashes over time.

The first dates back to when we were students attending Simon Fraser University. Specifically to October/November 1971, when the the United States Atomic Energy Commission decided to test the W71 warhead and exploded 5 megatons of TNT on Amchitka island, Alaska, on November 6th, 1971.  This particular test was the largest underground explosion  detonated by the United States.

In order to counteract this criminal absurdity, we helped organize a series of concerts performed by environmentally conscious and politically active artists such as Joan Baez, Joni Mitchell, Phil Oaks, Bob Dylan, to mention a few.

From the proceeds, the first Rainbow Warrior  was purchased  and donated to Green Peace, co-founded by Paul Watson.  The idea was to sail the vessel to Alaska and hinder  the nuclear tests. The US navy towed the Rainbow Warrior out of Alaska waters and blew the island to kingdom come.

Cannikin warhead being lowered into test shaft

On July 10th, 1985 French President Mitterrand followed suit when  the Rainbow Warrior was on its way to  protest against a planned French nuclear test in Moruroa.  In an operation code named Opération Satanique the “action” branch of the French foreign intelligence services, the Direction générale de la sécurité extérieure (DGSE), sank the flagship of the Greenpeace fleet at the Port of Auckland in New Zealand . Fernando Pereira, a photographer, drowned on the sinking ship.

“France  denied responsibility, but two French agents were captured by New Zealand Police and charged with arson, conspiracy to commit arson, willful damage, and murder. As the truth came out, the scandal resulted in the resignation of the French Defence Minister Charles Hernu.”

Rainbow Warrior sunk in the Port of Auckland, New Zealand.

In 2007 our paths crossed again.  By then, Captain Watson had left Green Peace and founded Sea Shepherd. Mariana Almeida of SELVA-Vida Sin Fronteras, Captain Paul Watson on behalf of Sea Shepherd, Dr. Juan de Dios Parra as Secretary General of ALDHU and General Bolivar Cisneros as Commander of the Ecuadorian Environment police, signed an agreement to join efforts to counter the destruction of the Galapagos Marine Reserve by Chinese and Japanese fishing fleets; in particular the illegal trade in shark fins and sea cucumbers.

The initial results were spectacular. We carried out 7 operations during which a historical record was achieved including the decommission of 40,000+ shark fins and 93,000+ endemic sea cucumbers of the Galapagos Islands.

Shark Fins confiscated during Sea Shepherd-Environmental Police-SELVA-Vida Sin Fronteras operations in Manta

In June 2007, a house in Libertad was raided that was being used for illegally processing sea cucumbers. At least 40,000 sea cucumbers were seized and two men arrested. Later that month, the Ecuadorian Environmental Police, with our support, seized 18,673 shark fins and arrested four men.  This successful sting was the result of several months working covertly with the co-operation of General Bolivar Cisneros, Chief Commander of the Ecuadorian National Police, identifying the principal  exit and entry points in the illegal shark fin trade in the Galápagos and Ecuador.

Sean O’Hearn, Sea Shepherd Galapagos director & Environment police confiscating shark fins in Libertad

 

Paul Watson was awarded the Amazon Peace Prize for his and Sea Shepherd’s work on behalf of the environment and marine species in Latin America. The award was given in July 2007 by the Latin American Association for Human Rights, SELVA-Vida Sin Fronteras and the Ecuadorian vice-President. Captain Watson also signed two agreements at this time, one for Sea Shepherd’s involvement in the protection of the Amazon River Dolphin and the Amazonian manatee; the other with the Ecuadorian Police to work with them to detect and destroy illegal fishing boats.

 

Captain Watson awarded Amazon Peace Prize

However, in May 2007, the president of Ecuador, Rafael Correa, relaxed an International ban on shark finning by legalizing the sale of fins from sharks caught “accidentally”. In what was to be our final operation, we accompanied a police raid that found two tons of sharks fins caught before the Presidential decree. Fifteen people were arrested in the raid at Manta, including President Correa’s party representative in Manabi.  Correa ordered the prosecutor to have them released and the shark fins were returned to the mafias operating in Galapagos.

Captain Watson diplomatically appealed to the Ecuadorian government:

“We are all appealing, Mr. President, to your sensibility on ecological matters and you should agree that “the shark is more valuable swimming freely in Galapagos than floating dead in the soup of the Chinese.” Nevertheless, Mr. President, I reaffirm the position taken by both Sean O’Hearn Gimenez and Pieter Brouwer, Spokesperson for Sea Shepherd in Ecuador, as published in El Universo on August 8th, 2007, stating that differences of opinion in democracies can best be resolved through dialogue and that unilateral actions which apparently abuse the due process of law should not be encouraged. Sea Shepherd is open to any invitation to discuss the events with you and your Minister of Government personally.”

The appeal fell on deaf ears.  We were betrayed by the Minister of Government, Gustavo Larrea, who jointly with Correa, sided with the Mafia and our Agreement to protect the Galapagos was discarded. Correa, never really original for any thought or concept,  referred to us as Eco-terrorists!  Coming from him, these words were merely praises ringing in our ears that keep us going forward.

 

President Correa , the authentic eco-terrorist, sides with Shark Fin Mafias.

 

In-between these activities, our last intervention on behalf of Sea Shepherd, was defending their right to fly the Dutch flag. The Japanese had placed a formal complaint to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but thanks to the intervention of Mr. Lourens de Groot, Chairman of SELVA NL, Willem van Maasdijk and I were successful in persuading the Dutch authorities that the Japanese position was unfounded and merely an attempt to prevent Sea Shepherd from continuing their high profile and extremely effective anti-whaling campaigns in Antarctica; Whale Wars had a huge international television audience.

A decade has past since I last saw and worked with Paul Watson. After almost 30 years immersed  in the protection of Nature, particularly in the Amazon, it is time for new and enthusiastic generations to take my place. Youth comes with new energies and improved visions and ideas. My time with SELVA-Vida Sin Fronteras in Ecuador has run its course, and I will be hoisting the anchor and raising sails towards a new destination; hopefully closer to my daughter and Grandchildren.

For the new generations, I would like to kindly ask you to carefully read the following thoughts of Wisdom by Paul Watson; Paul is brilliant and an excellent example to follow. Also please remind him of his commitment to protect the Amazon Pink fresh water dolphin, which is highly endangered, despite all our efforts to the contrary.

Sincerely, Pieter Jan Brouwer

 

 

The Laws of Ecology and the Survival of the Human Species
By Captain Paul Watson – Dec. 17, 2018

I was raised in a small fishing village on the Passamaquoddy Bay in New Brunswick, Canada and I still vividly remember the way things were in the Fifties. The way things were then is not the way things are now.

I’m not talking about technological, industrial or scientific progress. I’m referring to the health and stability of eco-systems. What was once strong is now weak. What was once rich in diversity is now very much the poorer.

I have been blessed or perhaps cursed with the gift of near total recall. I see the images of the past as clearly as the days that were. As a result it has been difficult for me to adapt to diminishment. I see the shells on the beaches that are no longer there, the little crabs under the rocks, now gone, the schools of fishes, the pods of dolphins, the beaches free of plastic.

I began travelling the world in 1967 – hitch-hiking and riding the rails across Canada; joining the Norwegian merchant marine; crossing the Pacific and Indian Oceans; travelling through Japan, Iran, Mozambique and South Africa, working as a tour guide in Turkey and Syria, co-founding the Greenpeace Foundation in 1972 and in 1977, founding the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.
Many things that I saw then, no longer exist – or have been severely damaged, changed and diminished.

In the Sixties we did not buy water in plastic bottles. In the Sixties the word sustainable was never used in an ecological context, and except for Rachel Carson there were very few with the vision to see into the future, where we were going, what we were doing.

But slowly, awareness crept into the psyche of more and more people. People began to understand what the word ecology meant. We saw the creation of Earth Day, and in 1972, the first global meeting on the environment in Stockholm, Sweden that I covered as a journalist.

Gradually, the insight into what we are doing became more prevalent and to those who understood, the price to be paid was to be labeled as radicals, militants, and a new word – eco-terrorists.
The real ‘crime’ of eco-terrorism was not burning down a ski lodge, toppling a power line or spiking a tree. Such things are only outbursts of desperation and frustration. The real crime is thought, perception, and imagination. In other words, the questioning of the modern economic, corporate and political paradigm.

The word eco-terrorism should be more accurately used for the destruction caused by progress like the Union Carbide disaster in Bhopal or the BP Deep Water Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico
In the Seventies the late Robert Hunter along with Roberta Hunter, Patrick Moore, David Garrick, Rod Marining and myself observed and wrote down the three laws of ecology. What we realized was that these laws are the key to the survival of biodiversity on the planet and also the key to the survival of the human species. We realized that no species could survive outside of the three basic and imperative ecological laws.

The law of diversity: The strength of an eco-system is dependent upon the diversity of species within it.
The law of interdependence: All species are interdependent with each other.
The law of finite resources: There are limits to growth and limits to carrying capacity.
The increase of population in one species leads to the increase in consumption of resources by that species which leads to diminishment of diversity of other species which in turn leads to diminishment of interdependence among species.

For example, increasing diminishment of phytoplankton populations in the sea is causing diminishment of many other species and it has caused a 40% diminishment in oxygen production since 1950. Diminishment of whale populations has contributed to the diminishment of phytoplankton populations because whale feces are a major source of nutrients (esp. iron and nitrogen) for phytoplankton.
The planet simply cannot tolerate 7.5 billion (and growing) primarily meat and fish eating necrovores. The killing of 65 billion domestic animals each year is contributing more greenhouse gases to the planet than the entire transportation industry. The industrial stripping of life from the sea is causing unprecedented biodiversity collapse in marine eco-systems.
Ecological systems globally are collapsing from coral reefs to rainforests because humanity is exploiting resources far beyond the capacity of eco-systems to create and renew natural resources.

Diminishment of eco-systems is also leading to the breakdown of human social structures causing global conflict in the form of wars and domestic violence. Terrorism is not the cause of society’s problems, it is merely a symptom.

Humans are compromised by medieval paradigms like territorial dominance, hierarchical desires and superstitious beliefs combined with primitive primate behavior like greed and fear.
The fishing village that I lived in as a child is no longer a fishing village. The relative innocence of our lives as children of the Fifties and Sixties is no more. The African bush, the Arctic tundra, the marine reserve of the Galapagos Islands, the Great Barrier Reef, the Amazon rainforests that I once traveled through are no longer what they recently were.

Humans have this amazing ability to adapt to diminishment. It’s a trait that was exceptionally useful when we lived as hunter-gatherers. We adapted to food shortages, to changes in the weather and to the world as it evolved around us. Today we are trying to adapt to the destruction brought on by ourselves and that adaption is taking the form of more and more control by governments and corporations and a blind reliance on corporate technologies.

We no longer have the empathy we once felt. I vividly remember the events of October 23rd, 1958. I was seven years old on the day of the Springhill Mine Disaster in Nova Scotia. 75 men died and 99 were rescued and I remember crying for the fate of people I did not know and feeling excited every time a miner was brought to the surface alive. I no longer have that capacity. Perhaps I lost it when I became an adult, or perhaps society no longer has room for such emotions.

Disaster happened and we grieved for people we did not know. Three years ago nearly 100 people were viciously murdered within a few kilometers of where I lived when a deranged man mowed them down with a large truck in Nice, France. A few days later a priest was beheaded in France. Today, every week brings us more stories about mass killings in the Middle East, Africa, America etc. It’s a worldwide pain-fest of chaos and violence and yet it is met with complacency for the most part and a predictable Facebook posting of – ‘say a prayer for Paris, or Parkland, Las Vegas, Nice, Beirut, or Istanbul in a litany of self-indulgent adaptation to tragedy, before being quickly forgotten.

This is not the world of my childhood. We remembered the horrors of World War II with real emotion. I remember talking with both World War I and World War II veterans and feeling their pain. Today it’s just another short-term item on the news, in a world that seeks to escape through movies, celebrities, video games and increasingly more fanatical religious fervor.

Here is the reality. As human populations increase, the consumption of resources increases with it. But because resources are finite and the rate of renewables is overcome by demand, this can only lead to one result – the collapse of resource availability.

And because we are literally stealing resources from other species, this will lead to diminishment of species and habitats, which will contribute to even more resource diminishment.
At COP 21 in 2015, I called for an end to worldwide government subsidies for industrialized fishing and at least a 50-year moratorium on commercial industrialized fishing. That solution was not given a moments thought at a conference that did not even take into account the imperative role of the Ocean in addressing climate change.

My opinion of COP 21 is that governments were not looking for solutions. They were looking for the appearance of solutions. They certainly did not want to hear about solutions from people like me. They want solutions that are accompanied by jobs and profit. The one thing they do not want is any form of economic sacrifice.

I also do not believe that the majority of humanity – certainly not the leadership -understand the true gravity of the situation. There are six viewpoints concerning climate change: 1. Denial 2. Acceptance, with the view of it being a positive development. 3. Acceptance with the belief that science and technology will save the day. 4. Acceptance, but refusal to fully appreciate the consequences. 5. Apathy. And 6. Acceptance with the resolve to find real solutions.

Those who are in denial have vested self interests in doing so, motivated primarily by greed or ignorance. My old Greenpeace colleague Patrick Moore sees climate change as an opportunity for longer growing seasons and better weather. (He lives in Canada and I don’t think he’s really thought it through.) Others like Elon Musk see our salvation in science, in moving off-world or developing artificial eco-systems on Earth. Most responsible world leaders recognize the problem but are too politically-impotent to address it with realistic solutions because those solutions would not be politically popular. And as with everything, the majority of the world is apathetic and too self absorbed with entertaining themselves (developed world) or surviving (underdeveloped world).

On this path we are on now, the future is somewhat predictable. More resource wars, more poverty, more accumulation of wealth by the minority of privileged people, more disease, more civil strife and with the collapse of biodiversity – global mass starvation, and pestilence.

The rich tapestry of all our cultures and all our achievements in science and the arts hangs by threads linked to biodiversity.

If the bees are diminished, our crops are diminished. If the forests are diminished, we are diminished. If phytoplankton dies, we die! If the grasses die, we die!

We exist because of the geo-engineering contributions of millions of diverse species that keep our life support systems running. From bacteria to whales, from algae to the redwoods. If we undermine the foundations of this planetary life-support system, all that we have ever created will fall. We will be no more.

We made the mistake of declaring war on nature, and because of our technologies it looks like we are going to win this war. But because we are a part of nature, we will destroy ourselves in the process. Our enemy is ourselves and we are slowly becoming aware of that indisputable fact. We are destroying ourselves in a fruitless effort to save the image of what we believe ourselves to be.
In this war, we are slaughtering through direct or indirect exploitation – millions of species and reducing their numbers to dangerously low levels while at the same time increasing human numbers to dangerously high levels.

We are fighting this war against nature with chemicals, industrialized equipment, ever increasing extraction technologies (like fracking) and repression against any and all voices that rise up in dissent.
In our wake over the past two centuries we have left a trail of hundreds of billions of bodies. We have tortured, slain, abused and wasted so many lives, obliterated entire species; and reduced rich diverse eco-systems to lifeless wastelands as we polluted the seas, the air and the soil – with chemicals, heavy metals, plastic, radiation and industrialized farm sewage.

We were once horrified by the possibility of a Chernobyl or a Fukushima. But the accidents happened and we adapted and accepted – now we are complacent.

At this very moment, the media ignores, the politicians deny and the public does not seem to care of the horrifying consequences of Fukushima unfolding before our tightly closed eyes. Fukushima is the greatest ecological horror we have ever unleashed in our entire history of ecological crimes. And yet… it is as if it never happened. In the process we are becoming sociopathic as a species. We are losing the ability to express empathy and compassion. We idolize soldiers, hunters, and resource developers without giving a thought to their victims. We revel in violent fantasies hailing two- dimensional fantasy killers as heroes. We have become increasingly more Darwinian in our outlook that the weak (other species) must perish so that the strong (ourselves) may survive. We forget that Darwinism recognizes the laws of ecology and we cannot pick and choose when it comes to the laws of nature because in the end nature controls us, we do not control nature.

The consequences of our actions are not going to happen centuries from now. They are going to happen within this century. Oceanic ecosystems are collapsing – now! The planet is getting warmer – now! Phytoplankton is being diminished now!

To be blunt – the planet is dying now, and we are killing it!

From what I have experienced and from what I see there is only one thing that can prevent us from falling victim to the consequences of ignoring the laws of ecology. We must shake off the anthropocentric mindset and embrace a bio centric understanding of the natural world. We can do this because we have wonderful teachers in indigenous communities worldwide who have lived bio centric lifestyles for thousands of years just as our species all once did. We need to learn to live in harmony with other species. We need to establish a moratorium on industrialized fishing, logging and farming. We need to stop producing goods that have no intrinsic value – all the useless plastic baubles for entertainment and self-indulgence. We need to stop mass-producing plastic that is choking our global seas. We need to stop injecting poisons into the soil and dumping toxins into the sea. We need to abolish cultural practices that destroy life for the sole purpose of entertaining ourselves.

Of course it won’t be easy but do we really want the epitaph for our species to be, “Well we needed the jobs?” Without ecology there is no economy.

I am not a pessimist and I’ve never been prone to pessimistic thoughts. There are solutions, and we see people of compassion, imagination and courage around us working to make this a better world – devoting themselves to protecting species and habitats; finding organic agricultural alternatives; and developing more eco-friendly forms of energy production. Innovators, thinkers, activists, artists, leaders and educators – these people are amongst us and their numbers are growing.

It is often said that the problems are overwhelming and the solutions are impossible. I don’t buy this. The solution to an impossible problem is to find an impossible solution. It can be done. In 1972, the very idea that Nelson Mandela would one day be President of South Africa was unthinkable and impossible – yet the impossible became possible. It’s never easy but it is possible and possibilities are achieved through courage, imagination, passion and love.

I learned from the Mohawks years ago that we must live our lives by taking into account the consequences of our every action on all future generations of all species. If we love our children and grandchildren we must recognize that their world will not be our world. Their world will be greatly diminished and unrecognizable from the world of our childhoods. Each and every child born in the 21st Century is facing challenges that no human being has ever faced in the entire history of our species:

Emerging pathogens from the permafrost, (Three years ago an anthrax virus from a recently thawed reindeer carcass broke out killing 1,500 reindeer and hospitalizing 13 people in Russia.) Eruptions of methane opening huge craters in the earth in Siberia, mass-accelerated extinction of plants and animals, pollution, wars and more wars, irrational violence in the form of individual, religious and state terrorism, the collapse of entire eco-systems.

This is not doom and gloom fear mongering. It is simply a realistic observation of the consequences of our deliberately ignoring of the laws of ecology. I call it the Cassandra Principle. Cassandra was the prophetess of ancient Troy whose curse was the ability to see the future and to have everyone dismiss her prophecies. No one listened to her, instead they ridiculed her. Yet she was right. All that she predicted came to pass and Troy was destroyed. Years ago I had a critic in the media label me as a doom and gloom Cassandra. I replied, “Maybe, but don’t forget that one thing. Cassandra was right.”

And over the years I have made predictions (that were ridiculed and dismissed) that have come true. In 1982 I publicly predicted the collapse of the North Atlantic Cod fishery. It happened a decade later. In 1978 I predicted the destruction of one half of the African elephant population in Defenders magazine. I was wrong. Some two thirds of the population have been destroyed. In 1984, I predicted ecological destruction by salmon farms including the spreading of viruses to wild salmon populations. Every prediction was based on observation with reference to the laws of ecology and every prediction was dismissed and each prediction became reality.

Nothing has changed. Today I am predicting the death of worldwide coral reef eco-systems by 2025, the total collapse of worldwide commercial fishing operations by 2030; and the emergence of more virulent viral diseases in the coming decades. It does not take any exceptional foresight to predict that war will be the major business of the next half- century, as well as the rise of more authoritarian governments.
Recently my old friend Rod Marining also a co-founder of Greenpeace said to me: “The transformation of human consciousness on a mass scale can not happen, unless there are two factors, first, a huge mass visual death threat to survival of our species and two, the threat of the loss of a people’s jobs or their values. Once theses two factors are in place humans begin to transform their thinking over night.”
I have seen the future written in the patterns of our behavior, and it is not a pleasant future, in fact it is not much of a future at all.

The four horses have arrived. As death sits astride the pale horse, the four horses of pestilence, famine, war and terrorism are stampeding at full gallop toward us while our backs are turned away from them. And when they trample us, we may look up from our latest entertainment triviality to see ourselves in the dust of the ecological apocalypse.

I also see the possibility of salvation. By listening to the words and observing the actions of many indigenous people. By looking into the eyes of our children. By stepping outside the circle of anthropocentrism. By understanding that we are part of the Continuum. By refusing to participate in the anthropocentric illusion. By embracing biocentrism and fully understanding the laws of ecology, and the fact that these laws cannot – must not – be ignored if we wish to survive.

WISHING YOU A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS 2018-2019

Paul Watson.

 

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EDITORIAL COMMITTEE:

 

Arno Ambrosius

Mariana Almeida

David Dunham

Gustavo López Ospina

Gertjan Storm

Editor: Pieter Jan Brouwer

 

“Amazon Pink Dolphin” is the official blog of SELVA-Vida Sin Fronteras. The intention of the blog is to generate debate on environmental issues; the Amazon Rain forest in particular. Contributions and support are done on a voluntary basis and do not imply institutional affiliation.  Similarly opinions expressed in this blog do not necessarily represent the official position of SVSF.

 

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All Title photographs of the Amazon Pink fresh water Dolphin are the creation of Kevin Schafer.

 

~ by SELVA-Vida Sin Fronteras on 26 December, 2018.

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