When it comes to changing human behavior, one thing is for sure: if a celebrity backs it, the chances of people actually listening and taking action are that much higher. Just think about how many more people know about the realities of the elephant poaching crisis and climate change thanks to Leonardo DiCaprio’s work. Ricky Gervais is often commended for his outspoken views on topics like dog meat, the fur industry, and cruel tourism practices. And now, despite all of the terrible things happening to marine animals, whale lovers have something to celebrate: James Bond himself recently called for an end to senseless whale hunting in an op-ed for TIME!
That’s right, Pierce Brosnan, who played James Bond from 1995 to 2002, and his wife Keely Brosnan are doing everything they can to spread awareness about the plight of whales and the degradation of ocean habitat. The couple is avidly promoting the idea that our careless actions simply must be stopped if we are going to continue existing with these amazing creatures and surviving ourselves.
First and foremost, Brosnan is using his status to share some critical statistics about the whale community to illustrate just how badly these animals need our help. If you know anything about whaling, you know that it’s a bloody and brutal business. As Brosnan relays, while there have been strides in the past towards saving whales, such as the moratorium on commercial whaling which went into effect 30 years ago, there is still a lot of work to be done. Despite strong opposition from millions of people around the world, Norway, Iceland, and Japan are still hunting whales at an alarming rate.
Just to give you an idea of how severe this problem is, let’s lay out some of the undeniable facts. Firstly, 16,000 whales have been murdered every year for the past 83 years for a whopping total of 1,339,232 whales. Since 1986, over 25,000 whales have been murdered legally by Japan for “scientific research” (despite the fact that no data is ever published by reputable science journals from this so-called research). International communities recently told the country to halt the barbaric practice after realizing their research claims were completely unfounded, but Japan literally defied international law by continuing to hunt whales. And this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to whale suffering since these awe-inspiring creatures are also dying off from marine debris, ship strikes, ocean acidification, climate change, and entanglement in fishing gear.
While the fact that we are severely damaging our oceans should be enough to spur change, we can’t have a discussion about the whaling problem without talking about the victims themselves. Whales are incredibly intelligent animals. They have a unique method of communication, they are very empathetic, and the part of their brain that is responsible for emotions and memory formation is actually more complex than humans! When you take into account these facts, the whaling industry appears even more horrific. These animals deserve so much more than what we are doing to them.
The Brosnans’ call to action comes at an important time. This year marks the 70th anniversary of the International Whaling Commission (IWC), and the 30th anniversary of the moratorium on commercial whaling. The IWC will be conducting their biennial meeting in Slovenia this week, an event that Brosnan says should be used not only to highlight the achievements of the past but some of the major problems facing whales today.
“We are all forces of nature — the catalysts and agents of change, the architects and engineers of a new tomorrow. We shape and create our reality every moment of every day, and like no species before we have the power to define our future,” shared Brosnan in an article for Time.
We completely agree! While most of us can’t attend the meeting, that doesn’t mean we can’t make changes in our own lives that will help whales in the long run. By lowering our fish consumption, choosing to only whale watch responsibly, and cutting plastic out of your life as much as possible, you are playing a vitally important part in making sure whales survive long enough for future generations to enjoy them as much as we have. To learn more about how you can help whales, click here.
Image source: Mark Von Holden/WireImage