I fell in love with the ocean at the age of 15. My dad and I had just finished our scuba diving certifications and traveled to Cozumel, Mexico to complete our first open water dive. Hours upon hours had been spent watching videos, taking quizzes, pouring over books, and bubbling in tests to prepare for this first breathe underwater. My tank was full. My tank was on. But there is no preparation for the beauty and humbling awe found in the marine world. Unlike the clash and chaos of urban society, each organism swayed along with the gentle waltz of the ocean tide. When crossing a turtle or fish’s path, the animal would slowly turn and glide off with grace. The experience is absolutely unreal. This was the first time the ocean taught me about respect, value, and our individual contributions to a functioning community.

My family and I return to Cozumel every year, but my scuba travels have yet to expand to other locations. However, the ocean and its inhabitants have not stopped educating me. Now it is my turn to take this knowledge and educate others. So here are the facts. Every year, thousands of dolphins and whales are killed. A large contribution to this number occurs in September, when hundreds of dolphins are herded into a cove in Taiji, Japan. A few attractive females are kept for captivity; the rest are slaughtered for meat.


So are dolphins the real “healthy snack that smiles back?”Although this is a practice that some cultures claim as part of their way of life and staple for their economy, dolphins contain dangerously high amounts of Mercury that is known to cause birth defects, retardation, and other genetic mutations. In Taiji, much of this dolphin meat is sold or given to the residents of Japan. Many of the recipients of this dolphin meat are unware of what they are eating, under the impression that is whale meat.In 2009, activist Ric O’Barry created a team of filmmakers, free divers, and activists to go to Taiji and expose the ecological and ethical issues surrounding dolphin slaughter to a wider audience. The result was The Cove, an award-winning documentary that struck the hearts, wallets, and voices of individuals around the world. See the trailer here:

The documentary has stirred quite a bit of controversy and awareness, but it is just one step in the quest to stop the perception of dolphins as an edible product for human beings.  “Ric O’Barry is an old man,” an interviewee explains in the documentary. “There needs to be a new generation to pick up where he leaves off.” This blog is created in the effort to recruit, supply, and educate this new generation. Why? Because it is my responsibility to do so. As a scuba diver, it is my responsibility to demand respect for the creatures that I share the ocean with. As a student, it is my responsibility to educate myself about the world, especially about issues that provoke debate and fervor. As a PR major, it is my responsibility to take a position and use my voice to express that position.  As a citizen, it is my responsibility to exercise my opinions and rights. But most importantly, as a human, it is my responsibility to take a stand when ethical boundaries are crossed, misdirected, or abused, such as the case with the massacre and distribution of Taiji dolphins.

To learn more about this issue and its surrounding controversy go to:

http://www.takepart.com/thecove

http://www.thecovemovie.com

http://www.savejapandolphins.org

or text DOLPHIN to 44144