When reading a blog I came across a snippet about a documentary called The Cove. It was highly recommended and hence I watched it. It is about the hunting of dolphins in Taiji, Japan. The Dolphins are either shipped off to various Parks which put up shows with them or they are slaughtered for their meat. It was an incredibly disturbing video and I wouldn’t recommend it to everyone.
I always worry a great deal when I see such videos. The power that technology has placed in the hands of man and how a even a few misguided people can wreak irreparable damage on nature is plainly horrifying. People who are in power are the one’s who want power. Adequate knowledge or commitment to the future is not a pre-requisite. In fact such an attitude can even be a liability. Irresponsible power combined with technology is a dangerous mix. The “modern” economic system where everything is measured in dollars and widespread poverty and the helplessness of people who have no option but to integrate into the economy to survive don’t make things easier. Worldwide, resources are being exploited at an exponentially growing rate. Everything from food grains to water to fishing grounds are being threatened due to unsustainable practices and blind greed.
When I talked about this to my uncle he told me that I should read up on Milton Freidman and how his theory that a completely free market is the solution to all problems. The book is extremely convincing and internally consistent. Then why is it resulting in so much destruction and pain worldwide? First of all, world trade is not completely “fair”. It never can be. The conditions and requirements of a flawless free market don’t exist now. Besides, people have a short lifespan. They are not bothered about future generations and the importance of leaving something behind for the future over the immediate needs. If everything was just perfect and the governments and the companies played fair then maybe it would work. But, so would socialism if everybody cared about others. The free-market is as much of an idealism as an equal society. Maybe they differ in degree. But thats all.
Speaking about dolphins, they are one of the most intelligent and lovable creatures in the wild. They demonstrate a strange attachment to humans and are known for their empathy and kindness towards humans in distress. There have been many documented cases where humans have been threatened by sharks and dolphins have rescued them. There have also been instances where people thrown into the sea have been taken safely to the shore by dolphins. They also communicate very effectively and there have been tonnes of experiments regarding possible 2 way communication with them. It is mentioned in the video that it is now possible to communicate with them using the American Sign language. Since dolphins don’t have hands they cannot communicate back. But despite this handicap they have been surprisingly good at picking up the anthropomorphic language.
Nowadays, a lot of money is being spent on trying to locate extra-terrestrial intelligence. We are destroying a kind of profound and deep wisdom on our own earth. The irony of it!!!
The waters stained by the blood of hundreds of dolphins. Japan has been consistently involved in whaling. It was banned by the IWC for a while and this allowed the cetacean population to bounce back. Now, they are using the cover of research and other pretenses to restart the ghastly business.
When I was young I remember seeing a movie about a dolphin and a boy. At the time I was touched by it. The strange and mysterious beauty of communicating with another species is one that has to be seen to be believed.
The even stranger thing that the documentary mentions is that dolphins caught from Taiji are contaminated with dangerous amounts of mercury. The dolphins are sold for around 60,000 dollars if it is for meat and for 150,000 dollars if they are for exhibition. But, apparently dolphin meat is not that highly valued. It is mostly passed of as other more exotic varieties of whale meat.
The dangers of mercury poisoning are also mentioned. Incidentally, Mercury poisoning was first reported from Minamata in Japan where a company had been dumping them in the local bay. Mercury causes damage to neurons and there are some clips about the Minamata disease(Mercury Toxicity). Babies are born with eyes that can’t see, ears that can’t hear and lolling heads(The Cove). The burning of fossil fuels results in mercury emissions into the atmosphere which eventually finds its way into the oceans and then into base of the food chain(algae). As we go up the food chain the concentrations increase until it reaches toxic levels.
The sight of kids affected by it is also very disturbing.
Sometimes, I wonder where all this is going. If things were at least improving that would have been cause for cheer. But problems are just growing more and more out of control. People in turn are becoming more and disconnected and resigned. It’s like we are on Auto-Pilot to the Final Destination.