Monday, June 14, 2010

Is Bethuene a Noble Warrior or a Liability?

As a diversion from the Gulf catastrophe, some interesting news from the anti-whaling front recently.

Sea Shepard has dropped its affiliation with anti-whaling activist Peter Bethuene because he allegedly boarded a Japanese whaling ship with bow and arrows, or brought bow and arrows on an anti-whaling campaign. This brings up a bigger question -- these are the guys who harrass the Japanese whaling fleet, you may have seen them on Whale Wars on TV.

What do we think about all of this?

Maybe Bethuene is a fringe element who undermines the efforts of environmentalists everywhere who are trying to develop dialogues, work within the system, use the tools of science and legislation to make real change, etc. They are doing good work. Credibility is damaged. Maybe now it's just as hard to be taken seriously if labeled a "whale lover" as it is with "tree hugger".  But that's the opposition who came up with those words.

Maybe Bethuene is on the front lines of environmental activism, and he was thinking they've got harpoons, so I'll bring my own. Maybe he wasn't thinking at all. He was just acting.

Maybe Bethuene knows that environmentalists seem to be losing the war and maybe he should be lauded for trying to win a battle. We can sign our petitions and write our blogs and have out protests (as long as we have the proper permits) but environmentalists may be too soft, too compliant. It can't always be pretty.

Sea Shepard has a policy of no weapons and that's the motivation for dropping Bethuene. So he broke policy. But aren't the rancid butter "bombs" and the ship itself weapons in the fight against illegal whaling?

But it's not really illegal because the Japanese have found a loophole in international law. The Japanese are culling these whales for research purposes. Really?

Whales are fantastic, charismatic creatures, and many of them are scarce and endangered. Can't we just leave them all alone?
Here is the news about it:

According to a ABC news online report: "The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has cut its links with anti-whaling activist Peter Bethune after he carried a bow and arrows during confrontations with Japanese whalers in the Southern Ocean.

The New Zealand-born activist and former Ady Gil skipper is currently on trial in Tokyo after being arrested when he forced his way on board a whaling vessel in Antarctic waters in February."

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