In Lack’ech (The Source and End is You) – An Essay on Entertainment

Gladiator GsmrdThroughout the ages of time, men have sought the means to enrich and perfect their lives. Thinking only of themselves, they laid waste to the land. They searched for slaves to do the work, animals to entertain them, and money, money, and more money from the inferior. Great palaces were built in place of trees, the natural beauty of earth was smothered. Dressed in the finest of robes, they gathered into a building that stood in Rome. A great show was in store that night, lions and bears, oh my! But first, it was man versus man in the world famous Gladiator games. They charged at each other upon slaving horses, the crowd loudly roaring. Cheering on the death of the warrior now kneeling on his knees, they clapped and merrily screamed as they motioned downwards with their thumb.

The collector of the fares was safe outside collecting the gold while the blood of the fallen warrior formed a lake on the ground. Somehow, having the power to control the life and death of another gave the most enriching experience to the audience. Every day they gathered by the thousands to watch the warriors slice each other to death. They roared and applauded, never stopping, never opening their eyes.

Then one day, it suddenly all came to an end. Rome had fallen, the city now in cinders. It seemed the pride and physical strength of the glorious civilization had blinded them; the soldiers had lost the fight. But the same lust for entertainment would survive, more money and more lakes made.

The Gladiator Games were one of the first sources of full-scale entertainment, but they were certainly not the last. Whenever one injures another for the amusement of others, greed will be their ultimate downfall. Religious as they were, the people were so fearful of not going to heaven. Yet atrocities such as this, brutal wars, and slavery still existed? It seems to me that over time religion became an excuse for those in power to oppress those who were not. This statement applies most generously with circuses. Animals were believed to be the spawn of the devil, so naturally religion provided the perfect excuse to make the suffering of, say elephants (a species nearly as intelligent as us by the most commonly misused definition), acceptable. And acceptable it was. The “religious ways” of the older generation were passed to the new, embedding in their minds that a perfect world existed, nothing needed to change; their ways were okay. But it was all just an illusion, a trick to keep those from finding the truth and speaking up against it. Those who did stand up were ridiculed, beaten, whipped, and sentenced to death under the crime of heresy to infuse a fear that would prevent rebellion. That would prevent the master from obtaining that dang dime!!!

And boy did they succeed. The ways of entertainment still live on today. Television, zoos, aquariums. We just don’t get it. We believe the excuses the greedy make: “oh it’s educational, it’s good for the economy, it’s fun.” Well, tell me this: Would you find it fun if you let your own child suffer just so you could buy a new car with a sweet ride? Would you sell yourself, would you want to be a slave just so someone can profit off you because it’s fun? Just because something is acceptable in society does not mean that it’s ok!!! Slavery was accepted, and now we see that as unethical. And abusing sentient beings for entertainment is not? Stop believing the lies of those trying to make a quick buck!!!

So now in 617 words we have come full circle from the beginnings of selfish entertainment to its manifestation in present society. Selfishly venomous, mankind takes, cheers, takes more, and cheers again, poisoning the planet. Their vicious and vile ways will come back to haunt them, and their greed will be their downfall. They must open their eyes to the world around them. It is already happening – ozone depletion, global warming, the oceans are dying while overfilling the bathtub humans call “the perfect world.” The Mayan civilization predicted the world would end. Perhaps they will be right, not in the context of 2012, but in our own destruction of it. They have a saying, and I suggest you pay attention. It means that we must make every action count towards bringing love and peace back to Earth, because what goes around comes around. Please do not be another me (In Lack’ech).

The End

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Ocean: Utopia for Eons (The Saga of Ocean: Part 1)

There once was a place where everyone lived in harmony. Dancing in the effervescent waves of Ocean, predator and prey swam side by side. All energy borrowed by the hunters was given back to the hunted in the form of new life. The predators only borrowed enough energy to sustain them, and the prey gave only the energy the predators needed.

Ocean thrived in this balance, as the Circle of Life kept its waters full of majestic creations that continued to evolve. The hunters and the hunted respected one another, and lived their lives to the fullest. One with Ocean, the smallest of fish aided the most fearsome creatures of the deep to keep the seas booming with life. The predators that had borrowed energy from Ocean’s glorious creations returned that energy back as their spirits truly became one with the sea.

And so for eons, Ocean remained a glorious realm of beauty and peace. Life basked in the light of the sun, which warmly embraced Ocean, lighting up the darkest of depths with its brilliant shine. Not a single molecule of the azure waters was left untouched by the magnanimous sun, as it gave life the energy and light it needed to thrive.

Ocean and Sun continued to dance to the same song for what seemed like an eternity, until life gave Land the gift of its presence. Then, a new story began. One that would not be about midnight, moon, and sun.

To be continued…

Conservationists Slam Dolphin by-catch from Trawling

When the trawl nets are brought on board, dolphins can be found trapped inside.

from http://www.dolphin-way.com/2011/10/conservationists-slam-dolphin-by-catch/

The number of dolphins being killed during commercial trawling in Western Australia’s North West has prompted new calls for measures to reduce the by-catch.

Skippers operating off the Pilbara coast reported 17 bottlenose dolphins being caught in fishing nets last financial year.

Thirteen of the mammals died.

The figures are contained in the Department of Fisheries’ “State of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Report”.

The Conservation Council’s Tim Nicol says the current by-catch is unacceptable.

“We need to manage the oceans not just for the species that we eat but also for all the other species that live out there,” Mr Nicol said.

“This report does not deal with those issues around protecting the range of marine life that lives in our oceans.”

Researchers are frustrated that the by-catch has not been reduced, despite recommendations on how this could be achieved.

Neil Loneragan from the Centre for Fish and Fisheries Research at Murdoch University says top-opening escape hatches in fishing nets that allow dolphins to escape are being considered.

But he believes a review of fisheries research funding is causing delays to a promised six-month trial of the hatches.

“This is very important for air-breathing animals, such as dolphins, to allow them to move up, rather than down in the net,” Professor Loneragan said.

“It would be good to see that progress and those escape hatches introduced.”

Professor Loneragan believes the actual number of dolphins becoming trapped in trawl nets could be one-and-a-half to two-times higher than the data being reported by skippers in the State of Fisheries report.

He says, in the past, discrepancies have been found between the numbers recorded by skippers and the toll recorded by independent observers.

“The skipper reporting tends to be lower than that for the observers and it is probably because they are focussed very much on the fishing operation,” Professor Loneragan said.

The Pilbara trawl fishery stretches across almost 15,000 square nautical miles from south of Point Samson to north of Port Hedland.

The industry produces about 1,500 tonnes of demersal scalefish a year worth between $5 million and $6 million dollars. The catch is mostly sold in the Perth market.

A much bigger fishery off South Australia was recently closed due to the scale of the dolphin by-catch.

The Australian Fisheries Management Authority closed about 27,000 square kilometres to gill net fishing because of a significant increase in the number of what it calls “interactions” with dolphins.

The Fisheries Minister, Norman Moore, says the Western Australian Government is doing all it can.

“Remember of course that those fisheries provide most of the fish that goes onto tables of people across Western Australia and across Australia,” Mr Moore said.

“There are very few parts of Western Australia that have any trawling at all. In fact, about 90 per cent of the state’s fisheries don’t allow trawling at all.”

“Obviously with any trawling there are some by-catch issues but I’m confident that this fishery is being managed in a way that is acceptable,” he said.

“We are making sure that those few trawl fisheries we have in the state are doing minimal damage to the environment.”

https://stopcetaceancaptivitynow.wordpress.com/2011/10/22/dd-spotlight/

Sea Shepherd :: Bluefin Standoff in Hong Kong

Sea Shepherd :: Bluefin Standoff in Hong Kong.

Bluefin Standoff in Hong Kong

Commentary by Gary Stokes – Sea Shepherd Hong Kong Coordinator

Yashima Shoji Co., Ltd stall serving bluefin at the Hong Kong Food Expo. Photo: Alex HoffordYashima Shoji Co., Ltd stall serving bluefin at the Hong Kong Food Expo. Photo: Alex HoffordThe annual Hong Kong Food Expo, organized by the Hong Kong Trade & Development Council (HKTDC) is one of the largest food expos of its kind in all of Asia. After receiving a tip from a fellow photojournalist, I raced down to pay the expo a visit. Upon arrival, we found a stall operated by representatives from the Yashima Shoji Co., Ltd. who were not only promoting Atlantic bluefin tuna sales, but were also offering free samples to wholesale trade buyers at the expo.

I approached them and asked why they were serving an International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) red-listed critically endangered species? After receiving no response, they quickly realized that I was with Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (perhaps it was the black shirt with Sea Shepherd’s Jolly Roger that gave it away). The question I asked prompted a chain of events that we watched in utter disbelief. They all got on their phones and within moments, a team of event security staff arrived accompanied by the event organizers. One of the event organizers asked what was my “problem?” I explained that all I asked was a simple question, and that I am merely waiting quietly until I get an answer.

Some dialogue went back and forth between them before I asked them why they, as the event organizer, were allowing a vendor to bring in an endangered species to the expo and their official response for the record.

Tensions were rising for both the Chinese event staff and the Japanese sales representatives. Moments later, the Japanese staff began to remove all the bluefin samples from the display as well as all the signage, and they weren’t happy. Unsure quite what to do next, the event staff and security turned around and simply walked away.

I hadn’t planned on this reaction at all, but here I was standing next to the only bluefin tuna stall at the expo that was now completely bare, except for some posters on the wall and nine staff members all standing and staring at me. What could I do? If I left, they would simply setup the bluefin sampling once again. So I decided that I must stay until the end of the day to ensure that wouldn’t happen.

Event personnel try to stop Sea Shepherd from documenting the sampling. Photo: Alex HoffordEvent personnel try to stop Sea Shepherd from documenting the sampling.
Photo: Alex Hofford
A large group gathers to sample the endangered bluefin tuna. Photo: Alex HoffordA large group gathers to sample the endangered bluefin tuna.
Photo: Alex Hofford

In the afternoon, the South China Morning Post newspaper came down to speak with me to find out what was going on. After several hours of waiting, the Japanese staff decided that they would start trying to give out their free samples again to see how I would respond. At first, it was absolutely gut wrenching watching the ignorant hordes of people come charging on this mass. As another tray of meat disappeared and I began feeling somewhat deflated, I felt compelled to do something. I pulled out my camera and started taking a photo of every person who tried to sample the meat from the endangered species. This strategy proved to be an instant crowd disperser and before long, it was just my new so-called friends and I alone together again at the booth.

Six o’clock finally came around and the expo came to a close. I bid the Japanese sales team farewell and told them I’d see them in the morning, their expressions alone were worth a photo themselves!

Click to read articleClick to read articleI awoke on Sunday morning to find a front-page article in the August 13th edition of the South China Morning Post (requires subscription). Upon arriving at the expo, I found no one at yesterday’s stand handing out bluefin tuna samples. I waited and waited, when finally, one of the staff turned up, saw me, and made a prompt call. Then, I waited and waited some more but no one came to open up shop! I remained at the expo all day until I was certain this stall did not open, pretty much the only stall not to open at the entire expo while everyone else was doing a roaring trade.

By taking the initiative to investigate the expo and asking one simple question, while standing my ground and wearing a well-known conservation organization’s black shirt, I had just in fact removed bluefin from one of the largest food expos in Asia. Despite the fact that this is only one expo and one instance, it is a win for the species nonetheless and an ex

Bluefin Standoff in Hong Kong

Commentary by Gary Stokes – Sea Shepherd Hong Kong Coordinator

Yashima Shoji Co., Ltd stall serving bluefin at the Hong Kong Food Expo. Photo: Alex Hofford The annual Hong Kong Food Expo, organized by the Hong Kong Trade & Development Council (HKTDC) is one of the largest food expos of its kind in all of Asia. After receiving a tip from a fellow photojournalist, I raced down to pay the expo a visit. Upon arrival, we found a stall operated by representatives from the Yashima Shoji Co., Ltd. who were not only promoting Atlantic bluefin tuna sales, but were also offering free samples to wholesale trade buyers at the expo.

I approached them and asked why they were serving an International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) red-listed critically endangered species? After receiving no response, they quickly realized that I was with Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (perhaps it was the black shirt with Sea Shepherd’s Jolly Roger that gave it away). The question I asked prompted a chain of events that we watched in utter disbelief. They all got on their phones and within moments, a team of event security staff arrived accompanied by the event organizers. One of the event organizers asked what was my “problem?” I explained that all I asked was a simple question, and that I am merely waiting quietly until I get an answer.

Some dialogue went back and forth between them before I asked them why they, as the event organizer, were allowing a vendor to bring in an endangered species to the expo and their official response for the record.

Tensions were rising for both the Chinese event staff and the Japanese sales representatives. Moments later, the Japanese staff began to remove all the bluefin samples from the display as well as all the signage, and they weren’t happy. Unsure quite what to do next, the event staff and security turned around and simply walked away.

I hadn’t planned on this reaction at all, but here I was standing next to the only bluefin tuna stall at the expo that was now completely bare, except for some posters on the wall and nine staff members all standing and staring at me. What could I do? If I left, they would simply setup the bluefin sampling once again. So I decided that I must stay until the end of the day to ensure that wouldn’t happen.

Event personnel try to stop Sea Shepherd from documenting the sampling. Photo: Alex HoffordEvent personnel try to stop Sea Shepherd from documenting the sampling.
Photo: Alex Hofford
A large group gathers to sample the endangered bluefin tuna. Photo: Alex HoffordA large group gathers to sample the endangered bluefin tuna.
Photo: Alex Hofford

 

In the afternoon, the South China Morning Post newspaper came down to speak with me to find out what was going on. After several hours of waiting, the Japanese staff decided that they would start trying to give out their free samples again to see how I would respond. At first, it was absolutely gut wrenching watching the ignorant hordes of people come charging on this mass. As another tray of meat disappeared and I began feeling somewhat deflated, I felt compelled to do something. I pulled out my camera and started taking a photo of every person who tried to sample the meat from the endangered species. This strategy proved to be an instant crowd disperser and before long, it was just my new so-called friends and I alone together again at the booth.

Six o’clock finally came around and the expo came to a close. I bid the Japanese sales team farewell and told them I’d see them in the morning, their expressions alone were worth a photo themselves!

Click to read articleClick to read articleI awoke on Sunday morning to find a front-page article in the August 13th edition of the South China Morning Post (requires subscription). Upon arriving at the expo, I found no one at yesterday’s stand handing out bluefin tuna samples. I waited and waited, when finally, one of the staff turned up, saw me, and made a prompt call. Then, I waited and waited some more but no one came to open up shop! I remained at the expo all day until I was certain this stall did not open, pretty much the only stall not to open at the entire expo while everyone else was doing a roaring trade.

By taking the initiative to investigate the expo and asking one simple question, while standing my ground and wearing a well-known conservation organization’s black shirt, I had just in fact removed bluefin from one of the largest food expos in Asia. Despite the fact that this is only one expo and one instance, it is a win for the species nonetheless and an example of what can and should be done around the world. It has been a good weekend indeed!

Speaking With the Fishes

There seems to be the idea out there that fish are something along the lines of mindless, swimming robots with three-second memories and no ability to feel pain. The Discovery Channel show Mythbusters disproved that myth about their memories (as did Dr. Kevin Warburton, a researcher from Charles Sturt University). Not long ago, I addressed the myth that fish cannot feel pain.

Already a great deal has come to light that shows fish are a lot more complex than we thought. But fish are not yet finished having their say. The next area to address? Language.

It has long been accepted that whales communicate with each other through calls that resemble song. This may be such an easily acceptable fact not only because we can hear them, but because we know that whales are, like us, mammals. Yet new research indicates that whales are not the only sea creatures with fins who communicate with sound.

Through vibration of a muscle called the “swim bladder,” some species of fish are capable of making a range of sounds, from chirps to grunts. These noises are used to send important signals to others of their kind, perhaps while seeking a mate, or even to frighten away predators. The noises and reasons for them can be very specific, according to University of Auckland scientist Shahriman Ghazali. Cod, for instance, only “speak” while spawning, to make sure they time things properly to fertilize the eggs.

This new development must make us reconsider the assumption that fish are “dumb” animals, by any meaning of the word. The ability to communicate demonstrates a level of intelligence that is sure to shock many. I know that I am excited by this new finding and the potential it implies. I can’t wait to see what we’ll find out next. Because the more we learn about any creature, the more we are able to relate to it, and can no longer see it as some mindless thing with which we can do as we please. The more we learn, the closer we come to a day when these creatures are shown the respect they deserve.

Photo credit: Public Domain