Thursday, May 31, 2007
  Japan and Whales
The latest reports are the Japan wants the International Whaling Commission to approve limited whaling of certain species by four coastal villages. On the surface, this would seem a reasonable request. Aboriginal populations are often allowed exemptions from rules pertaining to endangered species.

But... among the species Japan would like to start hunting is the humpback whale, which is considered a vulnerable species. Further, Japan already has a quota of 1000 whales a year. Critics contend that most of the meat of these whales, which are designated for scientific study, ends up in Japanese grocery stores and restaurants. And opening the door to larger quotas begs the question of where do you draw the line? If it is ok to take 50 humpback whales each year, what about 100? What about 500?

While I think moderation is the probably the best answer to the situation (allow some whaling of non-threatened species), it does raise questions about the depletion of the ocean's natural resources. Fish populations all over the world are down, particularly in areas that have seen heavy commercial fishing. Some estimates predict that by the middle of the century, wild fish stocks could be nearly non-existent, with catches nearly 90% smaller than the maximum catches seen in the heyday of commercial fishing. Already some 30% of species are showing major declines, including everything from lobsters and clams to tuna and cod.

The implications for the entire ocean food chain cannot be overestimated. Over consumption -- whether because of greed and waste, or because we simply have too many human beings eating fish -- is threatening the stability of the oceanic ecosystem.

My worst fear is that by the time we get the willpower to do something about it, the collapse will already be beyond the point of no return; that is, that we will not be able to reverse the damage we have done.

Of course, that isn't just for the oceans. In every area, our environmental policies are short sighted. I worry that we will really begin to tackle global warming only once the process has gotten beyond redemption. So too our dependence on fossil fuels.

I don't usually think of myself as a doom and gloom person, but these issues make me feel very helpless and hopeless indeed.
 
Comments:
Didn't anyone see Star Trek 3? What happens when the alien whale species comes looking for its lost children and doesn't find them?
 
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Progressive Muslim, feminist, mom, writer, mystic, lover of the universe and Doug Schmidt, cellist, theologian and imam.


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Cane River
An interesting exploration of the gradual whiting of a family through slavery to modern days.

To see an archive of all the books I've read (well the ones I've read and review since I started the blog) with comments, please click here

Causes Worth Supporting

This is just a short list -- a few of my favorites.

English Language Islamic Fiction. We need more of it. Lots more.
Pay a Teacher's Salary in Afghanistan. The Hunger site actually has a lot of worthwhile programs. You can find them all here .
Muslims for Progressive Values. My organization. We can always use donations, of time or money!
Human Rights Campaign for the glbt community
National Religious Campaign Against Torture
The ACLU I'm a card carrying member. Hope you'll become one too.
MoveOn.org. The organization that has done the most, as far as I can tell, to pull the countries progressive side together.
Network of Spiritual Progressives. Working to reclaim religion and morality for the religious left.

Blogs Worth Reading

Wanda Campbell also known as Nochipa A very gifted poet and a gentle, compassionate soul. Nochipa and I are on the same page on sooooo many things
Writeous Sister Aminah Hernandez, she's got some excellent latino pieces and always has good writing info on her blog.
Sister Scorpion aka Leila Montour - Leila is a fount of energy, quirky humor, and bad attitude. She's also a talented poet.
Muhajabah Very interesting commentary here. I don't always agree with her, but her pieces are always thought-provoking.
Georgie Dowdell Georgie is a great writer and a good friend.
Louise Marley Another great writer. I think Louise is one of the best sf writers exploring faith themes.
Ink in My Coffee Devon Ellington (who has numerous aliases) who is also the editor of Circadian Poems. A truly inspiring woman with a seemingly endless supply of energy.
Ethnically Incorrect With a name like that, isn't a given I'm going to enjoy this writer?
Freedom from the Mundane Colin Galbraith, another excellent writer, from Scotland.
The Scruffy Dog Review This is a new e-zine with an ecclectic mix of fiction, poetry, and non-fic, some really enjoyable pieces here.
Ramblings of a Suburban Soccer Mom Lara, another gentle soul, very thoughtful.
Circadian Poems A journal of poetry, new stuff up all the time.
Ye Olde Inkwell Michelle writes romance and is one of my writing buddies.
Muhammad Michael Knight The original punk Muslim writer. Like him or love him, Mike is always coming up with the unexpected.

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