February 8, 2014 Scottish Mom Protects Whales, Challenges Japan’s Olympic Bid
Shortly after writing The War Against Dolphins this February, I was introduced to Shona Lewendon of Glasgow, Scotland, mother of three children and protector of dolphins. In January 2013, just after Tokyo was shortlisted along with Madrid and Istanbul for the 2020 Olympics, Lewendon started an online petition, which was a smashing instant success.
When Lewendon heard the announcement on January 7, 2013 she went online discovering within the Olympic Charter that host nations are required to exhibit concern for the environment. She then scrutinized the Japanese Olympic Committee’s website including an entire section on the environment and their own environmental policies.
After reviewing the Japanese material she told me “it was very clear that 1) a nation that hunts in an internationally recognized whale sanctuary; 2) brutally hunts small whales and dolphins, wiping out entire generations at a time; and 3) in doing so, damaging fragile ecosystems, the environment and wildlife–is not compliant with the Olympics’ environmental policies.”
Further Lewendon revealed: “I never intended to create The Olympic dolphins campaign, it just happened. I have never done anything like this before, and would have never imagined that I could. Nervously, I wrote my petition on Causes.com, hoping to get 1,000 signatures. Within five days it had amassed 10,000 signatures. At one stage, someone, somewhere in the world signed it every four seconds! As the petition grew I quickly realized that thousands of people agreed with me.”
Lewendon inspired cities around the globe including Los Angeles to protest outside the nearest Japanese Embassy on February 22, 2013. The Olympic Dolphin’s Facebook page and website helped organize events. She proudly informed me “we ended up with 41 events in 21 countries. And we did it all over again on June 29, 2013 just before the next stage of the selection process, over 50 events all over the world. It still amazes me how my little idea has grown into a global campaign.”
I asked her what is the most important message you want to get out there?
She replied “First and foremost that we are not advocating racism or a boycott of Japan. We are merely asking the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to do their job correctly and follow their own environmental mandate. At present with Japan on trial in the International Court of Justice at The Hague over their ‘research’ whaling in the internationally recognized whale sanctuary, the growing out-cry of their global condemned dolphin hunts for mercury laden meat and supplying the captive dolphin shows, while simultaneously presenting their Tokyo 2020 bid, claiming to be compliant with the Olympic strict rules and regulations in place for potential hosts; we feel that these hunts are a direct violation of the Olympics own rules, and is certainly not compliant with the Olympic Spirit. If Japan wishes to be the world stage for the international community’s finest athletes, surely they must also acknowledge and address the global condemnation of their continued unsustainable, cruel hunts. The IOC can not ignore this any longer, they do have the ability to stop it.”
Thank you Shona Lewendon for your global campaign to end ‘The War Against Nature’ and small-toothed whales! I’ve signed the petition and strongly encourage you to support it, too.
Earth Dr Reese Halter is an award-winning broadcaster and distinguished conservation biologist. His latest book with Chris Maser is Life, The Wonder of it All
Text © by Dr Reese Halter 2014. All rights reserved.