I’ve just returned from Japan, attending an international meeting to address the annual killing of thousands of dolphins there. Unbeknownst to most, this bloodbath is actually funded by the commercial trafficking of live dolphins, a few of which are shipped to holiday marine attractions and dolphin-swim parks around the world at exorbitant prices – while the rest are slaughtered as 'pests' and sold for their meat, which contains dangerous levels of toxic contaminants.
Predictably, this situation is enmeshed in a complex web of conflicting political and economic interests, while Japanese media often try to paint this issue as East clashing with West.
Dolphins – surely recognised as one of the most beautiful, joyous and inspiring of creatures, would seem a poignant representative of our troubled blue-green world. We know in our soul of souls that harming these creatures is surely wrong.
Yet with danger comes opportunity. The plight of the dolphins represents a great challenge, extended to the human race as a whole. Can we avoid the distraction of supposed cultural divides and instead connect through something far more ancient, universal and profound – our compassion, our very humanity?
Will we ignore the cries for help, or will we accept this challenge echoing across the seas and continents: to reach within ourselves and discover our archetypical inner hero, and stand up for all that is good and green in our world? Can we engage and inspire a critical mass of people to do the same?
We can. And we are. Courage, my love.
You can see two short dolphin music videos I created from my time in Japan:
or on my website: www.RekindlingTheWaters.com
Leah Lemieux is an author and lecturer who works on dolphin protection, education and conservation initiatives.