The plight of whales under the harpoon gets people pretty het up sometimes. People leading otherwise normal lives find themselves compelled to do things they may not have otherwise considered.
Last week we received an email that caused quite a stir here in the Greenpeace NZ HQ. It went something like this:
My 7 year old Whale Defending daughter, Laura, has bullied me into driving her to Wellington, from Auckland, (7 hours) so she can stand outside the Japanese Embassy with a sign demanding that Whaling in the Southern Ocean stops. Her Granny is going to be standing next to her as well as her Mum and her big brother. It will be the smallest protest in history but the biggest in her life!!!!!!!!
We will be there from 1000 hours until 1100 hours on Saturday 16 February. If you have people in Wellington that you can email this to so they can join us I am sure Laura would appreciate it.
For the record I have been a redneck all my life that cared not for the whales until she changed my mind. Keep up the good work.
Unfortunately I didn't get the message in time to alert the Greenpeace supporters in Wellington but that didn't stop Laura. Their family protest went ahead anyway.
Here's a report from Laura's dad Mark:
Well the whole family drove down from Auckland to Granny's on Friday and at 1000 hours on Saturday we could all be found outside the Japanese Embassy listening to our rabid 7 year old lead the chanting of "Whaling is wrong".
The general feedback from passers by gave her more confidence and got Granny's militant juices flowing. Before long Granny, Mum, Aunty Jane, Cousin Izzy and Laura were doing their best to bring attention to what I now realise is a topic that most people feel strongly about. Bus drivers, truck drivers and a huge percentage of shoppers tooted their horns in support and I think in the smallest of ways awareness increased.
Before leaving we taped our signs to the windows of the Embassy and enjoyed baiting the (very friendly) security guard who tore the signs off with a dramatic flourish. The old redneck in me enjoyed this part the most and I can see the fun that must be had in the Southern Ocean annoying the gumboots off the Japanese fisherman.
In all seriousness it was a fantastic learning experience, a marvelous family bonding exercise and it is something I would definitely recommend to parents to do. It has opened up new dialogue around the dinner table about the morals and ethics of protesting per se, the responsibility of individuals in a collective environment and heaps of other cool things.
Enough respect. What an effort -- and what a family!
Laura has her own Whale Defender page on the Greenpeace website where she's already reached her fundraising goal of 150 Euros.
Laura's story is amazing but neither is it unprecedented. Just recently there's been a number of young people going to extraordinary lengths to have their voice heard in support of the whales.
Late last year there was Sophie Wyness in the UK who, along with her father, was arrested for chaining herself to the railings outside the Japanese Embassy in London.
Then there was young Harry Evans from Napier - an eleven year old 'wildlife nut' who after seeing the whaling feature in the Dominion Post took it upon himself to start a petition of his own.
He drew up a petition and took it to his Napier Central Primary School, encouraging his friends and their families to sign up. "All my mates were really helpful, which was awesome said Harry. Harry reckons there should be as many whales as there are humans in this world and if the Japanese go whaling again next year he's going to step up to the plate again to stop them.