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No Place For Whaling In Our Oceans

world animal protection whaling

After a lengthy four year court battle, Australia achieved victory against Japan’s controversial whaling program in March 2014. This court decision sent a clear message to other governments around the world that the exploitation of animals would no longer be accepted nor tolerated. However, this past November, the whole animal protection community was struck in awe when Japan announced they were continuing their Antarctic whaling come this summer.

world animal protection whalingJapan’s Whaling Program

Called Jarpa II, Japan’s whaling research program allows for the killing of whales for the purposes of scientific research. This “special permit whaling” also know as “scientific whaling” permits countries to kill whales for scientific purposes. Regulations surrounding this special permit stipulates that any country that practices lethal scientific sampling should report to the International Whaling Commission (IWC). Regulations also stipulate that the scientific information produced from the lethal sampling need to be presented at least annually to the IWC.

Japan’s whaling program is mostly conducted in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary, including its special permit whaling. According to special permits established by the IWC since 1994, all commercial whaling is prohibited in this sanctuary, regardless of the status of whale population stocks. Although Japan claims that all their yearly lethal catches are all for scientific purposes, Japan has been long criticized by other countries for increasing annual whale takes despite dwindling populations. Japan has additionally been criticized by the Australian government of using scientific whaling as a coverup for commercial whaling.

whaling in antartica Japan Banned From Whaling

In March 31, 2014 the courts agreed that Japan’s scientific whaling program did not meet the required ground for claiming a special permit, and banned Japan from killing any more whales under the Jarpa II agreement. The courts claimed that regardless of the whaling being performed in international waters or not, the exploitation of animals is simply unacceptable. Neither commercial nor scientific whaling have any place in the 21st century.

However, after a year’s ban on whaling, Japan set out for  the Antarctic this November, set on resuming whaling this summer. Although these actions by Japan to continue its whaling practices goes against the ruling made by the International Court of Justice in early 2014, Japan claims that it will continue it’s whaling for scientific purposes. Japan claims that their lethal research is done all in the name of science.

What Can You Do? 

The rest of the world has made it clear that there is no place for whaling in the 21st century. Scientific research needed to help conserve whales can now be done without any bloodshed. The very purpose of killing to help conserve sounds like a very retrograde idea. Governments around the world have already brought to light how ridiculous Japan’s claims to support whaling are.

Whaling is a cruel and inhumane practice, there is no reason why a whale needs to die at sea from an exploding harpoon. You can now help other organizations that are trying to condemn this barbaric practice, and make Japan respect the court ruling from 2014.

This new year, we are making World Animal Protection our highlighted group of the month for their efforts in helping end the barbaric practice of whaling. World Animal Protection has been campaigning for decades to bring an end to whale killing– and they want to get their voices heard. Help us by donating 51% of our profits this January to this amazing cause!

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Carnival Cruise Line Wants You To Save the Planet



Carnival Corp is a well-known mainstay of the cruise market. But tropical cruises are for old people, right? Carnival is looking to change this image.

Looking to appeal to the younger, socially conscious millennial bracket, they’ve come up with a more ethically appealing option in Fathom, catering to the volunteer vacation market.

Social impact travel, or ‘voluntourism’ has become a trendy way to combine a vacation with humane and environmental causes. Many companies offer similar programs, just pick your cause. There’s everything from caring for exotic animals, to building water wells and houses.

Fathom is based around NGO charities in the Dominican Republic, and (Cuba shortly after, the first American cruise line to do so.) Recently appointed brand president and global impact lead Tara Russell will launch Fathom in April 2016, with the dedicated 710 person flagship Adonia. Volunteers will spend several days working with Dominican and Cuban charities to improve the lives of their local communities.

Although this idea looks good on paper, and most certainly is a boon to the local charities, Carnival’s interest is surely not just charitable, as critics have pointed out. Of course, no one expects a company to do anything without a profit margin in mind; to overlook that would be bad business. Carnival is likely looking to improve their public image, long suffering from several PR disasters. The cruise industry is not known for their environmental savvy. I’m sure you remember the horrifying ‘Poop Cruise’ of 2013 where approximately 4000 people were trapped on a non-functional ship – with no plumbing, air conditioning and dwindling food supplies.

But can we blame Carnival for wanting to recover from that? Fathom is a great way to help out charities, all while doing what Carnival does best. They need to create new customers that will return year after year, and everyone comes out better for it in the process.

Fathom President Tara Russell previously ran an Idaho based non-profit job placement company, Create Common Good. Carnival’s CEO Arnold Donald approached her to discuss applying her skills to Carnival, creating new social enterprise projects. Out of this collaboration, the idea for Fathom was born.

Donald’s reasoning is that with the 78 million passengers Carnival attracted per year, a lot of good could be done. Directly applying even a small portion of this could help out Dominican and Cuban communities immensely. After surveying thousands of North Americans, Russell found that although a decent percentage had taken a cruise, a much bigger group had donated to charity or volunteered locally. The biggest positive response came from millennials, aged around 34. This group had a strong desire to make a social impact on the world.

So, Fathom is aimed squarely at the millennial generation. Of course, the thing that sets Fathom apart is the huge difference in how it’s structured. Before passengers even step foot on a ship, they’re emailed information about the area they’ll be serving, and the charities for whom they’ll be working. They’re educated about local culture and language, given the tools they need to succeed. Spanish lessons on holiday? You’re gonna need that. If you want to do more than order McDonalds, that is. Cultural lessons ensure nobody accidentally offends anyone, while learning something deeper about the place you’re helping. It’s all well and good to build water filters – we know what they do. But did you know that water filter could ensure that the village school kids have something to drink? Millennials want to know.

Carnival certainly isn’t the first to enter the charity arena. They won’t be the last. It will play into their business expansion across the area. But I think they could provide more exposure to good causes in the area than the local charities could ever manage financially. Although it may not be the ideal solution, it is definitely a good one.