Monday, September 14, 2009

The Bigger Picture

Daunting, moving, life-changing. These three words describe the time I had last night. Did I go sky-diving? Did I hear the Dalai Lama speak? No. I watched a movie.

Last night, comrades, I decided to test my emotional waters by watching The Cove, a documentary about the whaling and dolphin industry that keeps Japan's economy afloat. The sushi that I had for dinner was churning in my stomach due to the graphic nature of some of the footage.

Ric O'Barry, the man who trained the dolphins for the Flipper TV series, joined forces with Louie Psihoyos to expose the atrocities that occur in a little fishing town in Japan called Taiji. What I like about the movie is that the documentary explores every facet of dolphin exploitation. It goes from animal rights to mercury poisoning in humans to the corruption within the International Whaling Commission (IWC). The horror, the horror.

After the movie ended, it was hard to leave my seat. Here was a perfect piece of education that was not only informative, but also visually stunning. Apres school, I believe we all find it hard to keep learning. We may watch some documentaries or read something provocative. However, it feels as though the information goes in through one eye/ear and out the other. We have lost the spark of our youth that inspired us to absorb ideas and to create change. Formal exhaustion has already set in.

Therefore, if you decide to see this movie, do not hesitate to learn from it. You may not stop eating seafood, but make informed choices about what kind of seafood you eat. Which is the most contaminated? Which has the highest incidence of killing innocent dolphins? Do I really want to take my kids to SeaWorld?

Here is a chart, not unlike many all over the internet, that gives you a list of contaminated seafood.

The bigger picture is this: let's stop watching films, reading books, having active discussions and not do something about it. It's all well and good that now I know what the dolphin industry is like, now let me do my small part to make the change. I'm sick and tired, mostly due to my own guilt, of watching the spark die out. Get informed and stay informed. This is informal education so let's learn from it. Make even the smallest decisions that, like the wings of a butterfly, affect change thousands of miles away.

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