Archive for the ‘News’ Category

‘The Cove’ – Saving the Dolphins

Tomorrow morning I am leading our staff devotions where I get to share something that means a lot to me. I had already prepared something before the weekend, but after watching a documentary last night I decided to base my devotion on that.

Here it is – – – –

My devotion is on something that will not make you happy. In actual fact you will probably leave here this morning furious, disappointed and so angry your blood will boil – this is a GOOD thing. This may be an uncomfortable devotion for you and very upsetting and you may not want to know cause it is too distressing, but I think everyone should know about it. We need to open our eyes to what is happening in our time – after all we are required, under God’s instruction, to be responsible.

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” Genesis 1:26

The word dominion means authorization, management, privilege, property, reign, rule, sovereignty, territory

In other words, we are responsible and held accountable by God in the way we rule over the fish of the sea, the birds of the heavens and the livestock and all things. Accountable to God.

I am not a greenie…I think, I am not a vegetarian and I don’t have a problem with those who are. God does allow us to benefit from the animals. Bible principles allow us to kill animals to provide food and clothing or to protect ourselves from harm. (Genesis 3:21; 9:3; Exodus 21:28) However, life is sacred to God. Our dominion over the animals must be exercised in a balanced way that shows respect for life. The Bible speaks negatively of a man named Nimrod, who apparently killed animals and perhaps humans for the sheer thrill of it.—Genesis 10 . Jesus spoke of God’s concern for animals in these words: “Five sparrows sell for two coins of small value, do they not? Yet not one of them goes forgotten before God.” (Luke 12:6) Obviously, God does not regard animals as just disposable items, to be thrown away at will.

When giving the Israelites laws, God taught them proper care of animals. He required them to return a stray animal to its owner and to help animals in distress. (Exodus 23:4, 5) Animals were to benefit from a Sabbath rest, just like humans. (Exodus 23:12) There were laws governing the proper treatment of farm animals. (Deuteronomy 22:10; 25:4) Obviously, animals were to be cared for and guarded, not exploited.
Proverbs 12:10 explicitly states God’s viewpoint: “The righteous one is caring for the soul of his domestic animal, but the mercies of the wicked ones are cruel.”

True, God’s original purpose was that man have “ dominion over the fish of the sea and the flying creatures of the heavens and every living creature that is moving upon the earth.” (Genesis 1:28) Cruelty to animals has no place in that purpose.

God created many intelligent and unique animals at the beginning of time, and one of those that have fascinated many are dolphins.  We have all heard the recounts of surfers being saved by dolphins during an impending shark attack.  There was one guy who said he was with a mate out surfing when his friends face went completely white. There was a Tiger shark targeting them as it came towards them – 2 metres off, a dolphin appeared and intersected the shark making the shark hit the side of the dolphin. The dolphin kept at it until the shark went away. There are so many accounts of these kinds of things happening in the surf.

People have said that when they have been sucked out in a rip, or in a boat wreck, dolphins have come to the rescue. There have also been many stories of dolphins healing many people who can’t walk and so on it goes.  Dolphins seem to understand….and trust humans.

Dolphins have super-sonic hearing which they use to communicate with one another. Their ears are 7 times more sensitive to sound than human ears. They are an extremely social animal that stick together at all times – a pod of dolphins. Using their sound, they know about our bones, organs or even if you are pregnant. They can actually see through us.  They are extremely sensitive to sound. It has been proven that dolphins can comprehend things and understand complex language patterns, which is incredible for any animal. They are classed as the most intelligent animal on the planet and they can live up to 50 years of age!

On Sunday night, Kirk and I watched a documentary called ‘The Cove’. Did anyone else watch it? It is about a team of people who undertook a secret mission to expose what is happening in Japan with dolphin slaughter.

the team.

This team are serious, with night vision goggles and video cameras hidden as fake rocks, and sound recording devices to go in the water to hear what the dolphins are saying. The team snuck into the cove at night in the pitch black and set up their gear ready to film the daily massacre of many, many wild dolphins. This mission was crucial in exposing the unknown killing of these animals.

Let me give you an overview of ‘The Cove’:

There is a little village in Japan called Taiji (map).  Just off the coast there is a passage that dolphins swim through 6 months of the year. The dolphins have been passing by Taiji for hundreds of years.

Starting from the 1st September (tomorrow), Japanese “fishermen” will get into boats and wait for the first lot of dolphins to pass through. 

The boats at Taiji, Japan.

The fishing boats have big steel rods off them that stick into the water, which they loudly bang using hammers.  The noise from this creates a frightening soundwall for the dolphins and they try to flee the area by swimming as fast they can into the cove, away from the boats, but into a trap.  Once the first hundred or so dolphins are in the cove they put up nets to trap them and then leave them there overnight. The next day, dolphin trainers from amusement parks, including Sea World in some countries and zoos come by and select which dolphins they would like to keep for themselves – the pretty ones usually.  The others are taken around the corner to a secluded and top-secret cove that is sheltered from public eye with barbwire and fences, where they drive steel rods into the dolphins bodies to kill them all.

The cove at Taiji, Japan after a day of killing dolphins.

It is not a quick killing, but a slashing. The water looks just like red paint…..it doesn’t even look watered down. They kill the entire lot, including the little babies.  In the documentary you can see the dolphins trying to jump out of the water onto the rocks while the others are being stabbed.  It is a mass of panic and you can see the fishermen laughing as the dolphins are bashing their tales and bodies against the boats trying to get away. The fishermen then scuba dive for the dolphins bodies and collect those that tried to escape.

Taiji, Japan

They hook the bodies up into the small boats and then sell the dolphin meat, usually labelled as whale meat. People do not realise what they are eating.  After this, they then get ready to do it all over again the next day.

dolphin meat

I am going to show you two videos. The first one was used to publicise what is happening in Taiji as hardly anyone knew until recently what was going on at the cove…even the townspeople. Of course, they have used celebrities to promote this one. There is one point in the footage where you see a baby dolphin that has been stabbed, fleeing around the hidden corner and out into the open, away from the massacre. Somehow it gets through the net and makes its way straight for a few people standing on the shore (the people on the shore can’t see what is happening to the other dolphins around the corner, but they do know as they are part of the team trying to save them. They are there scoping the place out and preparing to get  in to film it for the world to see. The people are surrounded by Japanese ‘buffers’ whose jobs are to move people away from the area and cause as much hassle as possible so they would leave). You can see this baby dolphin struggling to swim and then it lifts itself up struggling to get its last few breaths and then it just disappears never to resurface. This footage was taken from The Cove documentary.

The second video I am going to show you is all taken from the documentary. You can see for yourself what is happening. It is very, very, very difficult to watch, but I think it is important to stick it out and watch, and for us to feel the injustice and angry that God must also be feeling for his animals – the ones we humans are supposed to be accountable for. These documentaries are made so we can be informed of what is happening, and then do something about it. I for one do not want to be naive about the situation.

Video One

Video Two

So, after we have seen all that, what can we do?

If you can stomach it, I really recommend watching the whole documentary, The Cove.  It goes into all the logistics about the mercury poisoning, dolphins in captivity, the movie Flipper and more.  It is very insightful.

There is a website called Save Japan Dolphins where you can sign a petition or send a letter. It goes straight to President Obama, the Vice President and the Japanese Ambassador to the US.

You can also make a donation so this brave team of people can continue their work in getting dolphin killing banned, buy a T-Shirt to wear and heighten the knowledge of what is happening to the dolphins, buy other merchandise, and most importantly of all – PRAY. Pray that these fishermen will have their conscience take over and they will clearly see what they are doing. Pray that the people who are fighting very hard to have this banned will be successful. Pray that God will show you away to keep his command for us to be responsible for the animals He has given us.

Since the movie, the Solomon Islands have signed an agreement to stop killing dolphins which they have done traditionally in the past, and no dolphins were killed at all in the Solomon Islands last year. The Solomon Islands were after Japan for the amount of dolphins they killed each year.

Signing the agreement with the Solomon Islands.

People are not visiting Sea Worlds around the world and places that promote capture of dolphins. People are making sure the meat they eat is not hidden dolphin or whale meat.

 Here is a quote from the man who started the mission of the cove, Ric O’Barry – “Before The Cove came out, I was beating down the doors of media in Japan begging them to cover the story. After The Cove, they met me at the airport and followed us to almost every location. Our press conference was attended by over 100 media representatives, including every major broadcast outlet. We still have a lot of work to do, but the secret is now out!’

Getting the word out to the world.

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Not So Simple Living With No Television

I have always craved a sense of the simple life. I love all the old movies and photographs of families taking their time at dinner to laugh and talk, be out in the garden and enjoy the fresh air, go for long leisurely walks with no time limit of trying to squeeze in some exercise cause ‘I have to’, even as far as moving out to the sticks and being self-sufficient while living like a hermit (working on this one 🙂 ).

I'll take it!!

When we built our home, we decided not to get a TV antenna straight away.  Not for any deep reason, just because we had other things to spend the $300 on.  After a few weeks we began to enjoy our TVless home. We read books, went for nightly walks together, had long baths, did paintings, went to bed when we were actually tired (gasp!). It was perfect and just how I wanted my life to be. Simple and uncluttered and unrushed.

This was us without TV - minus the children, sewing puff, tie, pearl necklace...well, only the board game really.

The only problem was we had absolutely no idea what was happening in the world around us. I remember one night sitting in our Home Group and someone began praying for the new President Obama…..wait! What?  When did this happen?? We knew about the election and who was in it, but had no idea a president had already been chosen two days beforehand. Oops!  I ended up saying to mum, “if Australia ever gets invaded, please ring me.  We will probably have no clue and be sitting outside having a lovely cuppa and in the meantime the world is ending.”

In our own little world

To help with the lack of current-event information in our lives, we got the newspaper delivered.  The newspaper thing was a bit of a success at first and then a bit of a fail as I would try to get up early to flip through the pages to get to the good stuff I was after. I am not an early, early morning person so this almost-habit didn’t last very long.  Soon we had a pile up of newspapers and it got too overwhelming. I felt defeated cause there was no way I could catch up on all the news.

I turned to the internet, but spend ages finding the most important news and I felt that this was going against the reason for not having a TV in the first place.

The radio was heavenly and I would love to bake and cook while listening to the radio….problem is back then I didn’t bake or cook, so I just lied to you, sorry. If I did bake or cook, it was in very brief spurts! The terrible wife award is sitting on my unused stove.  So the radio became a bit of a pain as I would find myself sitting at the bench (near my award) listening to bits of news, music, ads and crazy talkback. I guess I did learn some weird stuff.  I would then try to remember to switch the radio on to catch the news….and then forget and then……hmmm, maybe I was just trying too hard to be simple and it was causing more unsimpleness.

We crumbled and got a TV antenna put in after 2 years without having one, but decided we really enjoyed our new lifestyle without it being on in the house so we got Tivo.  Tivo records everything you are interested in and all you have to do is set up a Season Pass where Tivo will record all the shows in the series you like. We just pop the TV on to watch the SBS World News when we are home and I am cooking 🙂 (Yes, I have improved my culinary skills thanks to my Tilly….more on her later).

So the lesson I have learnt from all this? TV, for me, is a time waster and brainspace absorber unless I use it properly.  I just have to control myself (when Desperates, Packed, Revolution, Moderns, etc are all showing in the same season it is HARD! Yikes!). We watch Tivo when we need a brain break, I listen to the radio in spurts, I love being on the internet cause I…love it and that is enough of a reason for me.

I also need to know what is happening in the world so I can discuss these things with my students….unless I just teach them how to bake.

And finally to leave you with something to think about…..

…and no, watching TV is not a job……or is it……

June Lunar Eclipse

16th June 2011 - Photo by hubby

The bonus of having a husband who is photography-mad is that when there is a lunar eclipse which requires you to get out of bed at 3:30am to go and take pics of, you can stay in bed to snooze and enjoy the photos when your husband returns at 6am.

This morning there was a stunning lunar eclipse display in the heavens (well, from what I could see from the photos 🙂 ). This eclipse was visible over Europe and South America after sunset, over Africa and most of Asia, and Australia before sunrise. It was the longest lunar eclipse in a decade and lasted over 2 hours.

According to Wikipedia, a lunar eclipse occurs when the moon passes behind the earth so that the earth blocks the sun’s rays from striking the moon. This can occur only when the Sun, Earth, and Moon are aligned exactly, or very closely so, with the Earth in the middle. Hence, a lunar eclipse can only occur the night of a full moon.

Here are hubby’s photos from this morning:

16th June 2011 - Photo by hubby

16th June 2011 - Photo by hubby

16th June 2011 - Photo by hubby

16th June 2011 - Photo by hubby

16th June 2011 - Photo by hubby

16th June 2011 - Photo by hubby

Did anyone else get up to see it?

The dancing bug…big time

I just wanted to share this because I found it fascinating.  I was checking on my twitter account and noticed a tweet by OMGFacts who I follow.  This is it what it read: “During 1518, in Strasbourg, about 400 people danced so hard that they died from it.”

Hang on…what?  Feeling intrigued and thinking this surely did not happen, I turned to trusty old Google.  Reading a few different articles on the dancing epidemic I came to the conclusion that this was indeed a true story!

Here are the details squashed up into a summary by me:

Back in July 1518 in Strasbourg France a woman ran out into the main street and started to dance (that rhymes).  After a month of non-stop dancing, she had 400 people joining her in the massive dance off.  The authorities had no idea what to make of it and thought that the best way to make it stop would be to get them to dance it all out so they built a stage, hired musicians, set aside halls and let them groove it out.  Strangely the dancers seemed to not be enjoying their dancing and pleaded for help so they could stop. As the dancing continued, people began dying from heart attacks and exhaustion. The authorities ended up taking the ones left dancing to a shrine to get healing.

The Dance Plague in Strasbourg, France

(Is that a naked person in that drawing?)

The reason for this craziness is unknown, although some think it was a cult or they ate something that affected the chemical balance in their bodies. Another more likely reason was that the era this occurred in saw society as being poor, starving and desperate. Something clicked over in their brain and they kind of went mad.  Mass hysteria caused by physiological distress. Yikes.

Anyone have anything to add?

Ant Phobia & Coloured Bottoms

I have to be really careful not to vomit while typing this post.

Ants.

Absolutely makes my skin crawl just looking at that picture.  When I finally see past the fact that these are tiny, crawly, scattery, creepy ants I actually think this is pretty cool!  These ant bottoms change colour depending on the colour of the food they are eating – their bottoms and see-through!

My fear of ants? This movie ruined ants for me: The Naked Jungle.  It is about a mass of ants that sweeps through Africa eating everything in their path…including people!  Poor people falling over as they try to flee, only to disappear under a moving black mass of demon ants.

Dude, that gun is going to do nothing!

Eek!

Fictional movie aside, this is something that really truly does happen (but not the eating humans part).  It is called Marabunta or Army Ant where a large mass of ants forage their way through the land eating insects and small animals. Some species hunt in trees where they eat birds and their eggs. The ant raid can form a path 20 metres wide!  They don’t build a permanent nest, but keep moving and eating, moving and eating.

Okay, freaking myself out.

Prime Minister of Israel: speech to congress!

God tells us to ‘pray for the peace of Jerusalem: may those who love you be secure.’ (Psalm 122:6). No hidden messages there – it is what it is.  You need to know what is going on so you know what to be praying for. When you read the Bible, you can see throughout the whole book that Israel is the place to watch – the Holy Land.

This is the video footage of Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to the congress on May 24th 2011.  It is VERY good and VERY important to watch. Everyone really needs to be up to date on what is going on in the Middle East as it does and will affect all of us.

Planking is the new black.

Not into planking? How about teapotting?

The latest craze in weird stuff is something called ‘planking‘. It involves looking like a stiff plank in various places. It all started with two groups who claim to have invented the prank – either in Somerset in 2000 as the “lying down game” or eight years later in South Australia as planking. Both groups have rival Facebook sites boasting more than 100,000 fans. Planking has grown in popularity, particularly in Australia where there has been huge media coverage. An Australian rugby league player David “Wolfman” Williams celebrates scoring by planking, while one of the nation’s leading chatshow hosts Kerri-Anne Kennerley opened a show last week by planking on the TV sofa.  Now it has taken off like a crazy person.

Here is a picture of my brother planking:

Great technique - pointed toes and all.

PIanking is harmless and for a bit of a laugh, but of course some people take things too far and then everyone seems to react by seeing it as a dangerous thing to do and it should be ‘banned’.  Some kids got suspended from school for 2 days for planking in the school yard (the news didn’t say whether they did it dangerously or not). Yes, planking IS dangerous if you are drunk at 4:30am and decide to plank on a 7 storey high balcony rail. The ‘sport/hobby/relaxing position’ had its first death ever in Brisbane, Australia. Acton Beale was a 20 year old who decided to do some dangerous planking.  He lost his balance as he was drunk and fell to his death.

Acton Beale and where he fell to his death.

Such a devastating loss, and hopefully this doesn’t stop the joy for people who like to have a bit of fun planking in more sensible ways…

What do you think – to ban or not to ban?