Re: protecting blue whales

From: Howard Garrett (howard@orcanetwork.org)
Date: Mon Nov 29 2004 - 00:26:11 EST

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         Why is it important to continue protecting blue whales with laws? What
    would the problems be if the were to become extinct, and do the play an
    important role to our environment, society, and economy?

         thank you for your help - Kristen

    Thank you for the challenging question. You put it right where it needs to
    go, at the heart of the question of values. The scary thing is that we can
    choose to value, or not value, anything we want, individually and as a
    society. Those values have consequences, though, especially when it's about
    how we regard and act toward the natural world, from whence we sprang. Or
    maybe that's the question, did we spring from nature, or are we a
    supernatural force, given this earth and all its creatures and answerable
    to a higher power that can be interpreted in any way we want. I tend to
    think we sprang from nature. That doesn't rule out a higher power, but it
    means we'll never be closer to the higher power than when we're communing
    with nature. So for that reason I have high respect for blue whales as
    another expression of nature, incredibly mysterious and beyond our present
    abilities to truly appreciate. To know if blue whales are good for our
    environment, society or economy, we'd have to be sure we understand all the
    forces of nature, to know what the consequences would be of wiping them
    out, and we hardly have a clue. So I'm thinking that if we wipe out all the
    blue whales, all future generations would have to just wonder what it was
    like to have blue whales in the ocean, and they wouldn't have a chance to
    understand them better. If we apply such a valuation to blue whales, then
    other species of whales, and every other species or habitat that gets in
    the way of building plans or produces short term revenues can be sacrificed
    on the simple challenge to prove they are useful.
    It's a question of values and morals, like we keep hearing the last
    election was about. If the world decides to value the natural world and
    wakes up to the rapid pace of desecration and degradation of the natural
    world that is going on all over the planet, then we'll figure out how to
    change our behavior and slow the crushing wave of humanity until the
    healing can gain on the damage done. Your questions may be just a prod to
    get a real answer, or they may be an expression of your values, but I think
    they are questions that need to be addressed head-on, and the only answer
    is, in a way, faith-based, because there is no way to prove that nature is
    valuable, as is, and not after we're done exploiting all we can get and
    wasting nature. It's not impossible that it could be too late already. It's
    a global dilemma, and a complex one, so speaking up for whales, although it
    doesn't address the thousands of other cuts nature is suffering at our
    hands, seems like a no-brainer that anyone can understand. It can be a
    start for a new ethic and value system. Come on aboard. If you start liking
    whales, pretty soon you may be hugging trees.

    Howard Garrett
    Orca Network
    Greenbank WA
    (360) 678-3451
    www.orcanetwork.org
    howard@orcanetwork.org



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