Marine mammals unite in beaching against Bush

Feature story - 31 July, 2002
Marine mammals are fed up with Bush’s inaction on climate change, and his latest announcement that he will not attend the Earth Summit in Johannesburg has prompted protest on both coasts.

We're called Southern RIGHT whales because we're always right. We call him George Wrong Bush.

Whale and manatee populations on the US east coast have beached themselves in protest as ocean temperatures rise and Bush opts out of global treaties to stop climate change.

Off the coast of Cape Cod, 55 pilot whales have stranded themselves on a mud flat and are suffering from sunburn and sunstroke. Some of them were in shock, probably because when they are out of the water, their own weight can crush internal organs. Twenty of the whales have already died and rescue workers expected they would have euthanized another 28 Tuesday evening because they were too exhausted to swim back to open sea.

One rescue worker overcome with emotion at the sight of the dying whales said it was desperation that drove the whales to beach themselves. "When will Bush see that he is responsible for destroying not just life ON Earth, but under the seas as well?" said the heartbroken rescue worker.

Six endangered manatees beached themselves in Florida on Tuesday in an attempt to appeal to Florida Governor Jeb Bush to talk some sense into his brother President Bush and tell him to attend the Earth Summit meeting which will take place in less than a month in South Africa.

Jim Huffstodt, an officer with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission says the manatees are exhausted from mating. "These poor girls, the only way they can escape the attention of the males, who are very persistent, is to ground themselves or go up on the beach." But several spectators swear they heard the manatees moaning "Baaaad Bush" in unison.

These protests on the east coast follow a massive squid protest on the coast of California last week.

Hundreds of jumbo flying squid washed up along the San Diego coast which are normally found in the eastern Pacific ocean. Some believe the arrival of the squid is related to the El Nino climate phenomenon which sends warm tropical waters farther north than usual. Although it was climate that brought them to the shore of California, their mission was sending a powerful message to the US government to adopt clean renewable energy and stop the assault on the planet.

A local fisherman who ensnared one of the squid close to shore said "With its dying breath the squid said: 'People think I'm just a dumb squid, but I'm smarter than George Bush when it comes to climate change'."

Yet Bush is not alone in the dirty energy camp. Australia also announced that they would not ratify the Kyoto Protocol on climate change and aquatic life in the Pacific have not taken the news well.

Southern Right whales have maintained a high-spirited protest in Sydney harbour for the past two days. The three adult whales are maintaining a vigil in sight of the Sydney opera house and are attempting to restrict boat traffic in the harbour. They want the Australia government to take a new route at the Earth Summit and support plans to bring clean, green energy to developing nations - a solution to climate change that all mammals can appreciate.

Just last week there was another massive protest on a beach near Albany, Australia where 58 false killer whales beached themselves in protest to Prime Minister John Howard's statement in Parliament that it would not be in Australia's interest to ratify the Kyoto Protocol.

Although the marine mammals have caught on to the protest tactics quickly, the squid are leading the way.

A giant squid, 18 metres long and weighing as much as 250 kilograms, washed up on a Tasmanian beach last week protesting Australia hiding behind the US policy on energy and climate change.

Reports are also coming in from Canada, another Bush backing country at international negotiations on climate and environment.

Although a small group of politicians in the Canadian parliament are pushing their leader to adopt the Kyoto Protocol, the Prime Minister is stalling and slow to take up any action to prevent climate change. The news is out and we have received some reports of a pod of humpbacks heading straight for the Canadian coastline.

These bold and brave moves by the oceans great creatures is a last warning to take up action at the Earth Summit that will stop climate change and provide the world with clean, renewable energy. They seem to care more about the fate of the planet than our own governments. Support their heroic action and keep an eye out for beaching protests in your country.