About Whale of a Time

Whale of a Time is riding the wave of change, promoting successful stewardship of our planet to create a peaceful, morally just, humane and sustainable culture, while ensuring survival of all species and their natural habitats. Whale of a Time organises creative and fun, inspiring and empowering events on environmental issues to encourage active participation living a sustainable lifestyle inspired by a positive attitude. We engage young and old from all walks of life through the Whale of a Time Community, the Whale of a Time Festival and the Whale of a Time Workshop. Our work has been recognised by many national and community and environmental awards schemes.

Whale of a Time Tweats

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Interview with Shannon Biggs and Maude Barlow for The Rights of Nature

GRIT tv interview with Shannon Biggs and Maude Barlow, co-authors of the new book, The Rights of Nature: The Case for a Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth.

Friday, 16 December 2011

Whale Mail - Blessed Christmas & a Whale of a 2012!

Whale of a Time Workshop - November Review

The Whale of a Time Workshop was a huge success at WhaleFest in Brighton & Hove.

Special WhaleFest guests included Anne Meadows, Mayor of Brighton & Hove, Mark Brownlow, BBC Producer "Ocean Giants", David Rothenberg, Professor of Philosophy and Music at New Jersey Institute of Technology, author of "Thousand Mile Song".

Read Whale Mail - Blessed Christmas & a Whale of a 2012!

System Change - Shannon Biggs

Thursday, 15 December 2011

15th December: Silent Protest Held in Support of Communities of Limpopo

Yesterday in central London a silent protest took place outside the General Meeting of Shareholders of Australian mining company, Coal of Africa Ltd (CoAL). The protest was held in solidarity with the communities of the Limpopo Province, South Africa, who face untold ecological, social and economic damage to their ancestral homes should the mine go ahead.

The CoAL project which will affect this region is known as the Makhado Project. It is in addition to one other mine owned by the company in Limpopo Province, known as Vele, and a further two in the neighbouring Mpumalanga province. Yesterday’s meeting preceded CoAL’s Conditional Placing of Shares on the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange plc, which is set to take place today.

Liz Hosken, founding director of The Gaia Foundation took part in the protest: “We are here in support of the local communities and especially the Makadzhis- the guardians of the sacred sites and sacred lands of Venda in Limpopo Province. These are the spiritual leaders of the people whose responsibility it is to protect their ancestral homeland, which these coal-mining projects will destroy if they go ahead. The company haven’t even carried out proper studies, but the one thing that they have admitted is that the underground water will be finished within two years. So there isn’t even enough water for their own projects; let alone for life itself. If there is no water, there is no life. This is truly Ecocide.”

Earlier this week twelve civil society groups and community members from the Limpopo Province sent a letter to over fifty shareholders and potential investors of Coal of Africa (CoAL) demanding that they reconsider their plans to support the company - and specifically the Makhado Project.

The letter set out a number of grave concerns relating to CoAL’s handling of the Makhado project and their neighbouring Vele mine. These included a flawed public participation process; failure to provide adequate answers to questions raised by the community; no water licence; and an insufficient Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA), Environmental Impact Assessment and Environmental Management Plan.

The letter states: “We have a responsibility to our ancestors and to our children to stop the destruction of our ancestral lands. You would do the same if someone wanted to mine your home. Please think about that”.

Notes to Editors:

For further information please contact Rowan Phillimore at The Gaia Foundation on 0207 428 0054 or rowan@gaianet.org

or A.M. Mudau, Dzomo la Mupo, South Africa email: azwihangwisimosesm@yahoo.com or +27 79 412 2666

Watch a short film about yesterday’s protest and what the mine will mean to the communities of Limpopo here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ZG0Sc9NTRY&feature=youtu.be
Image: Silent protest outside CoAL’s General Meeting of Shareholders which took place in Central London yesterday (Wednesday 14th December). Copyright, The Gaia Foundation.

The letter which was sent to CoAL shareholders and investors earlier this week has been based on evidence and analysis drawn from a research report commissioned by an alliance of groups, to look into the impacts of coal mining. The report Mine Not – Waste Not: A preliminary critique of aspects of the CoAL Makhado Colliery Project EIA and EMP is available on the following websites: The Gaia Foundation http://www.gaiafoundation.org and London Mining Network www.londonminingnetwork.org.

Coal of Africa’s website states today that, ‘subject to obtaining shareholder approval to issue the Conditional Placing Shares, the Company will apply for admission of the Conditional Placing Shares to trading or quotation and listing of the Conditional Placing Shares on the AIM market of London Stock Exchange plc ("AIM") on 15 December 2011 and on the Main Board of JSE Limited ("JSE") on 20 December 2011. Accordingly, the anticipated settlement date for the Conditional Placing Shares on AIM is 15 December 2011’. www.coalofafrica.com

Monday, 12 December 2011

*Durban climate talks ending: Polluters won, people lost*

Durban ˆ 11 December 2011 - On the closing of the latest round of UN
climate talks in Durban Greenpeace today declared that it was clear that
our Governments this past two weeks listened to the carbon-intensive
polluting corporations instead of listening to the people who want an end
to our dependence on fossil fuels and real and immediate action on climate

„The grim news is that the blockers lead by the US have succeeded in
inserting a vital get-out clause that could easily prevent the next big
climate deal being legally binding. If that loophole is exploited it could
be a disaster. And the deal is due to be implemented 'from 2020' leaving
almost no room for increasing the depth of carbon cuts in this decade when
scientists say we need emissions to peak," said Kumi Naidoo, Greenpeace
International Executive Director.

„Right now the global climate regime amounts to nothing more than a
voluntary deal that‚s put off for a decade. This could take us over the two
degree threshold where we pass from danger to potential catastrophe.

"Our atmosphere has been loaded with a carbon debt and the bill, carrying a
Durban postmark, has been posted to the world‚s poorest countries. The
chance of averting catastrophic climate change is slipping through our
hands with every passing year that nations fail to agree on a rescue plan
for the planet."


Friday, 2 December 2011

Scientists ask public to help decode whale song

Severin Carrell, Scotland correspondent
guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 29 November 2011 16.56 GMT

Global 'crowdsourcing' experiment aims to discover new phrases, meanings and dialects among pilot and killer whales

Marine scientists have launched an appeal asking wildlife enthusiasts for help in decoding the secrets of whale song in a global "crowdsourcing" experiment.

Experts in the UK and north America are asking "citizen scientists" to study and sift through about 15,000 recordings of calls by pilot whales and killer whales around the planet, to see if new phrases, meanings and dialects can be uncovered.

The Whale Project, launched on Tuesday by Scientific American and the online citizen science organisation The Zooniverse, is similar to the first major attempt to use crowdsourcing by amateur astronomers to help discover new galaxies by studying images taken by the Hubble space telescope in July 2007.

Participants visiting whale.fm will be asked to study and then compare the sound wave patterns, or spectograms, of calls made by whales in different pods and families of whales around the world.

They will be asked to identify identical or very similar sound wave patterns, and will be able to play back each sound excerpt to help them match segments. Every sound recording is linked to a specific location in the sea, or geotagged, allowing scientists to precisely place clusters of calls in the areas where specific families of whale are known to inhabit.

Prof Ian Boyd, one of the project's collaborators from the University of St Andrews' sea mammal research unit, said scientists had discovered that people were often naturally much more able than computers to see similarities in complex spectograms.

"The first thing we want them to do is compare the images because what the human brain is very, very good at doing is comparing images, and is much better than a computer," Boyd said. "For someone like me who's tone deaf, who isn't very good at telling sounds apart, we're very, very good at making distinctions between small changes in shapes and objects."

He said pilot and killer whales had very complex calls or repertoires. Marine scientists now wanted to investigate the differences in each group's calls, like a dialect, and whether they could discover different kinds of messages from analysing these calls.

"If these animals have some form of linguistics or language tradition, we're wanting to try to find the words within that repertoire of sounds. We don't know what they mean but what we do find is they have different lexicons; different groups have different types of sound, and they probably inherit these sounds from their parents," he said.

"It's like a dialect. We want to be able to compare them; both these species have such complex sorts of sounds, and some of these sounds are repeated again, again and again. So they are not random."

Every matched group of sounds would be compared with the whales' location and activities that the whales were involved in. "We want to try and take that back to the context where they're produced, such as hunting or social situations."

Scientific American has previously run "citizen science" projects to track dragonfly swarms, the Gulf oil spill and a "great sunflower project", recording their observations of the natural world. Mariette DiChristina, the editor in chief, said: "One doesn't need a science degree to be a citizen scientist. All you need is a curiosity about the world around you and an interest in observing, measuring and reporting what you hear and see."

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Up in Smoke - Rainforest Awareness

True Stories More4 trailer - Up in Smoke from Adam Wakeling on Vimeo.

Tar Sands Action

I’m writing this from the lawn in front of the White House. In front of me there’s a sprawling rally underway, with speakers ranging from indigenous elders to the great Canadian writer Naomi Klein. In back of me, another 243 courageous people are being hauled away to jail -- it’s the last day of Phase 1 of the tar sands campaign, and 1,252 North Americans have been arrested, the biggest civil disobedience action this century on this continent.

But we’ve been just as cheered by the help that has poured in from around the world -- today, activists in front of the White House held a banner with a huge number on it: 618,428. That's how many people around the world signed on to the "Stop the Tar Sands" mega-petition to President Obama. – Bill McKibben, September 2011

The world together with the oil companies are so greedy for oil, that they will do anything to get it. Including deep sea drilling, where oil spills can pollute the oceans and endanger wildlife. As recently has happened in the Gulf of Mexico (BP) and the North Sea (Shell). Including extracting oil from the tar sands in Northern Alberta, Canada, which requires a huge input of energy and creates unmanageable levels of pollution. To link this huge new source of energy with the market, a pipeline has been proposed from Alberta to the Gulf of Mexico – the Keystone XL pipeline.

The exploitation of the tar sands demonstrates the lack of commitment by the Canadian and US governments to addressing climate change at the expense of restricting oil supplies and corporate profit. If you want to find out more about why this is an environmental disaster, read “Tar Sands: Dirty Oil and the Future of a Continent” by Andrew Nikiforuk. The action in front of the White House was organsied by 350.org: www.tarsandsaction.org and http://act.350.org/sign/tar-sands http://act.350.org/sign/tar-sands

Why 350? Scientists say that 350 parts per million CO2 in the atmosphere is the safe limit for humanity. 350.org was founded by author Bill McKibben, who wrote one of the first books on global warming for the general public.

In 2007, with a group of friends, Bill ran a campaign in 2007 called http://www.stepitup2007.org/ Step It Up which organized over 2,000 rallies at iconic places in all 50 Sates of the USA. These included such creative actions as skiers descending a melting glacier to divers hosting an underwater action. The call to action was to cut CO2 emissions by 80% by 2050. http://stepitup2007.org

On 10/10/10 they hosted a Global Work Party, with over 7000 climate solutions projects in communities around the world. On 24th September 2011, they organised Moving Planet as an international day of action: www.moving-planet.org

350.org is coordinated by an international team of organizers, including author Bill McKibben and young climate leaders from around the world. www.350.org

Lets Do it - Let’s clean up the world!

It all started in Estonia…

Right now there are 100 million tons of illegal garbage lying around the world. And every day, we add more. It’s time to wake up and turn things around.
That’s the reason for World Cleanup 2012.

Since the Cleanup movement strted in Estonia, 2 million people in 16 different countries have participated in cleanup actions.

From 24th March 2012 until 25th September 2012, a series of cleanups will sweep the globe, touching all continents and bringing together millions of people who will be cleaning up their towns and cities.

Right at this moment we are seeking you! We are inviting people, organizations and movements in different countries to be part of this wonderful initiative. All you have to do is to make a decision to engage your community for one day in 2012.

Check the countries section to see if someone has already started a Cleanup initiative in your country. If not, then be the one who gets things going. The website has advice on how to start a cleanup. Each cleanup and each person cleaning will make our planet cleaner.

Join the World Cleanup initiative and organize a cleanup day in your home country in 2012: www.letsdoitworld.org

Report garbage in your own town on the World Cleanup map: www.letsdoitworld.org/wastemap

With each garbage spot on the mapped, with each park, street, city and country that is cleaned, a message will be sent: the cleanliness, health and wellbeing of ourselves, of our countries and of this planet is in our own hands. Let’s do it!


“Once upon a time people did grievous harm to the environment without fully understanding the consequences of their actions. That defence is no longer available, and that sure knowledge we now have entails equally sure moral obligations. In this context, the idea of establishing the crime of ‘Ecocide’ is both timely and compelling.” Jonathon Porritt, former Chair Sustainable Development Commission

Polly Higgins, a UK barrister, has proposed that Ecocide, the environmental equivalent of genocide, becomes the 5th International Crime Against Peace alongside Genocide, Crimes Against Humanity, Crimes of Aggression and War Crimes. Under the proposed new law, Heads of States and Directors of Corporations will be required to take individual and personal responsibility for their actions.

On September 30th 2011, London’s Supreme Court became the venue for a Mock Ecocide Trial. Real-life barristers led the prosecution and defence on behalf of a fictional Mr X, CEO of a major corporation. Before the case was heard, legal argument was put as to whether Ecocide and the Earth Right to Life should be applied to the charges against Mr X, who was played by an actor. He had been charged with a number of ecocides: Deforestation of the Amazon; Arctic drilling; Shale gas extraction in Nigeria; A
major oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico;
Bauxite mining of the Niyamgiri mountain; Tar sands extraction in Canada; Deep sea mining of the Central and Eastern Manus Basin.

The trial was organised by Simon Hamilton and Fiona Hayes of the Hamilton Group: www.thehamiltongroup.org.uk