Saturday, June 20, 2009

Not good enough!


Yes, I'm talking about the Discovery Petition!

It was ticking along nicely, with about 100 new signatures a day. Then, it went mysteriously offline - and ever since, the daily signatures have slowed significantly, to not more than 20-30. Last time I looked, the total was 854: respectable but a far cry from the goal of 10,000.
In order to achieve that, the whole thing needs to go viral with "everybody" pitching in and above all, with the "big guns" signing on and then mobilizing their followers.

Having searched for "names" and having looked at the websites of the plethora of self-professed Shark lovers, savers and protectors out there, I'm starting to wonder: where are they? Why is it that I've failed to find a single major website posting a link to the petition?

Where are, to name but a few, the Funds, Allies & Alliances, Societies, Foundations, Initiatives, Conservancies, Institutes, Projects and Trusts, the Backbiters, Savers, Preservers, Spotters, Angels, Shepherds, Aiders, Stewards, Researchers and all of those other orgs that solicit donations from the public for safeguarding Sharks - and that incidentally, each run their very own, undoubtedly unique and original petition to stop Shark finning?
Where are all those prominent photographers and cameramen that draw their sustenance from taking images of Sharks?
Have the Shark diving operators and the Travel agents that book them bothered to mobilize their clients?
Where is the scientific community, especially those guys that always profess that their imput and research are being abused?

Does this mean that the majority of us Shark people agree with the way Discovery is depicting the animals we profess to love?
Or is this a reflection of how hopelessly unorganized, inefficient and fragmented we are, and of how our notorious infighting is ultimately condemning us to be pathetically irrelevant as a group?

Questions questions...

My very personal position is this.
I'm actually not a lover of "activism" and of petitions and I'm also rather skeptical about their ultimate effectiveness. Had I been asked, my call would have been to try and embark on a less confrontational route (and yes, I know this has been tried before with little success) that would have shown alternatives on top of condemning the status quo. And quite frankly, I cringe when I read some of the emotional tree-hugging posts on that website.

But this petition is a fact and because of that, I'm willing to support it, if only because I believe that one must show solidarity.
Also, it has been started by a group of people who have the important ethical advantage of doing it for one reason only, because they truly love Sharks - and not because of any other hidden agenda, commercial or otherwise.

To me, the petition is but one, albeit important element in how we should try and tackle the problem of Shark-related media. Some of the others are already on the table: dialogue, educating and holding the operators accountable, alternative media productions - and the list is by no means exhaustive.
Suggestions welcome!

But having said this: guys, c'mon, show the support!

2 comments:

Shark Diver said...

I might suggest the reason foundations and other shark conservation groups are sitting this one out is because this is an "industry thing".

We need to clean house first and have our industry stop enabling these productions.

That being said where ARE the professional photogs who make a living from shooting these animals?

Where ARE the other operators and filmmakers?

There was a lot of chatter at the Blue Oceans Film Festival about this and yes, DC is watching this closely.

What transpires in the next 10 weeks will determine the fate of this initiative.

DaShark said...

If so, it would be a misconception - and a pity, too!

The industry thing is only a small part of this convo, it's really about what Discovery are doing and what they could, and should do instead.

Well, we'll all have to think about what we can do to breathe some more life into this, won't we.